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How do Early and Regular Decision students differ at Duke? First-year survey offers insights

Editor's note: This is part of a series about the Class of 2023 based on a survey conducted by The Chronicle. You can learn more about the methodology and limitations of the survey here. Read all of our survey coverage here.

Of the thousands of high school seniors that apply each year to Duke, almost half of those admitted chose to submit an early decision application. This year, of the 195 participants that completed The Chronicle’s Class of 2023 survey, 80 (41%) applied ED, while 113 (59%) applied regular decision (RD). Here are some notable differences between those who were ready to commit early and those who weren’t:

ED applicants prefer Greek life to SLGs, while RD applicants prefer SLGs to Greek life

Despite both ED and RD applicants mostly expressing moderate interest for both SLGs and Greek life, the distinctions between the two groups become more apparent on the extremes. Only 3% of RD participants said they were extremely interested in Greek life, while over four times that amount of ED applicants said they were. 

This was similarly reflected on the negative end, with 40% of RD applicants saying they had no interest at all in Greek life, and only 24% of ED applicants expressing the same sentiment. 

This was flipped for SLGs, which only garnered extreme interest from 4% of ED applicants compared to 7% of RD applicants. Additionally, 13% of ED applicants reported no interest in SLGs, while only 5% of RD applicants were similarly disinterested. 

Michael Model


Michael Model

Demographic differences between our survey participants that applied ED and RD

White students made up the majority of surveyed ED applicants at 46%, with Asian students following at 29%. These numbers flipped among RD students, with 50% Asian and 27% white. 

There was a slight increase in the percentage of Hispanic students among ED applicants, with 14% compared to 10% RD. Additionally, 4% of ED students surveyed were black, whereas 8% of RD students were. 


Michael Model


Michael Model

Legacy students surveyed tended to apply ED 

There was a clear difference in the number of legacy students between the two application types. While only 7% of RD students surveyed were legacies, 27% of ED students were. 

One-quarter of RD students said Duke was their first choice

While ED students already knew Duke was their first choice when they submitted an application, RD students were less sure. Of those surveyed, 24% of RD students said Duke was their first choice.

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