Duke invites 3,372 to join Class of 2014

The Class of 2014 has already made its mark at Duke—for being the most selective class in the University’s history.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepted 3,372 high school seniors Monday evening, bringing the total acceptance rate to roughly 14.8 percent. Those admitted were selected from a pool of about 26,770 applicants—11 percent more than last year.

“The admissions rate and the selectivity rate is going to keep declining,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. “The class of candidates for entry into Duke was once again, by many objective standards, the most accomplished to date.”

The total number of accepted students is 3,974, taking into account both early decision and regular decision pools—3,059 in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and 913 in the Pratt School of Engineering, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. Approximately 150 fewer regular decision applicants were admitted this year compared to last year, due largely in part to the high number of students accepted early decision, which totaled 602, he added.

This year’s acceptance rate marks a decrease in the proportion of those admitted—down from last year’s record-breaking 17 percent.

Guttentag said the University is also aiming for a smaller class—roughly 1,705 students—to provide more adequate housing on campus next year.

“The class last year had 1,720 students and was of a size that was stretching the ability to house everyone as comfortably as we’d like,” Guttentag said.

In light of the economic downturn, the University has received significantly more applications for financial aid, Alison Rabil, assistant vice provost and director of Financial Aid, wrote in an e-mail.

“More families are qualifying for need-based aid and those qualifying are averaging higher grants than before,” Rabil said.

She added that Duke is still committed to meeting 100 percent of the demonstrated need for all families.

Guttentag said that despite the recession, he expects this year’s enrollment numbers to be similar to those of previous years.

“Based on our experience in the last couple of years, I expect that given the commitment of the Financial Aid Office, the ultimate effect of the recession will be fairly minimal,” Guttentag said. “I think that people will become more confident about the economic situation in the next several years.”

New admit Marcayla Hester, a native of Athens, Ga., is a finalist for the Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship—which provides full tuition, room and board to first-year students of African heritage who demonstrate outstanding academics, leadership and service. Citing economic reasons, Hester said whether she is selected for the scholarship will largely determine her admissions decision.

Admitted students must make their decisions by mid-May. Until then, prospective freshmen are invited to attend Blue Devil Days, which provides students with the opportunity to attend classes, live in dorm rooms and meet upperclassmen. Guttentag said the University is expecting a high turnout for the upcoming event, which takes place five times throughout April.

“It’s interesting, because one of the things I get to do as we are making the last several hundred decisions, is to get a sense of the class,” Guttentag said. “My guess is that when all is said and done, and when the class arrives in August, people are going to think they are an interesting group of students, that their talents are broadly spread.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the name of the scholarship for which Marcayla Hester is a finalist. Hester is a finalist for the Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship. The Chronicle regrets the error.


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