Early applicant numbers dip slightly

Although some of Duke's peer institutions reported significant changes in the numbers of early applicants this year, the University came out on par with its average from recent years.


The University received 1,386 applications for early admissions--1,191 to Trinity and 195 to the Pratt School of Engineering. This is slightly lower than last year's total of 1,425, but not enough of a decrease to suggest a reevaluation of the University's early admissions system, said Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag.


"We've never suggested to applicants that early decision dramatically improves their chances of being admitted," Guttentag said. "If we were to approach how we talk about early decision differently, we might have more applicants. But I think the way we do it is appropriate."

He noted that some schools select up to 50 percent of their student bodies from the early applicant pools--a trend to which Duke has not subscribed.


"We've tried to present early decision in the way it was originally intended, which was for students to have a clear and long-standing first choice, and not for it to be an admissions strategy," he said.


Over the last few years, the University has received about 1,400 early applications on average, reaching as low as 1,300 and as high as 1,600 some years. Guttentag said the largest early applicant pool came after Sept. 11, 2001, when the University saw a dramatic increase in the number of applications from the South.


This year, the University received 195 early applications to Pratt, up from 188 last year. Guttentag said the negligible increase is not worrisome, despite the upcoming expansion of Pratt's incoming class by 50 students.


"We weren't expecting a dramatic increase in applications to Pratt," Guttentag said. "We have seen a gradual increase in the size and quality of the Pratt applicant pool over the last three or four years, and I expect that it will continue. We're very confident that we can fill the additional 50 places in the entering class without any noticeable decrease in the quality of students."


Admissions officers have just begun the process of evaluating the early applications. Guttentag said it is too early to say how strong this year's early applicant pool is academically, but that there is no reason to think it will be dramatically different from pools in years past.


The University will send out responses to early applicants between Dec. 10 and Dec. 15.


Regular applications are due postmarked Jan. 2 and will be answered in early April.


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