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Duke admits record-low 4.3% of regular decision applicants

Duke admitted 2,014 high school seniors Regular Decision to the Class of 2025 after receiving a record number of applications and hitting a record-low acceptance rate.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag wrote in an email to The Chronicle that the University admitted 4.3% of regular decision applicants to the Class of 2025, which is lower than the Class of 2024’s 6% and the Class of 2023’s 5.7%.

Duke considered a total of 44,481 regular decision applications this year—a 25.4% increase compared to last year’s 35,478, Guttentag wrote. Of that number, 1,907 regular decision applicants and 107 Early Decision defers were admitted to the Class of 2025.

Guttentag wrote that there are two primary reasons for this year’s “record increase” in regular decision applications: Duke’s test-optional policy for the 2020-21 admissions cycle and lower acceptance rates in early decision and early action applications at peer schools.

“44 percent of our applicants didn’t submit SAT or ACT scores. I think a significant number of those students felt that their SAT or ACT scores might not have been the strongest part of their application, so they felt as if they could be stronger candidates without them. I also think that students who were never able to take the SAT or ACT were relieved that they weren’t required this year,” he wrote.

Guttentag added that the increase in early applications at other schools and the resulting decrease in early acceptance rates “meant that some students and families were even more anxious about the chances of regular decision admission.” He wrote that this may have led to students applying to more colleges than they normally would.

He noted that while there was a significant increase in applications “across the board,” there was an exceptionally large increase of 43% among international student applications.

“I think international students are hopeful that the difficulties they had last year in receiving visas to study in the US will be significantly diminished this spring and summer,” Guttentag wrote. 

According to Guttentag, Duke's target class size remains 1,720. He anticipates that fewer students will take a gap year this year compared to the Class of 2024 last year—"probably closer to 50 instead of 174," he wrote.

This pattern of more applications and a lower acceptance rate is consistent with the University’s early decision round. Duke received a record-high of 5,036 Early Decision applicants to the Class of 2025 and admitted 840 for a record-low 16.7% acceptance rate.

Regular decisions will be released tonight at 7 p.m. EDT.

Check back for updates to this developing story. 


Mona Tong

Mona Tong is a Trinity senior and director of diversity, equity and inclusion analytics for The Chronicle's 117th volume. She was previously news editor for Volume 116.

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