The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke admits 3,105 to the Class of 2016

A new crop of students is poised to become Blue Devils as part of the Class of 2016.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepted 3,105 applicants, bringing the regular decision acceptance rate to 11 percent, the University announced Thursday. The students were selected from a pool of 28,909 regular decision applicants. Duke saw a total of 31,600 applicants across the early and regular decision cycles—6 percent more than last year. Admissions selected these students from a record number of applicants, using a tweaked admissions procedure designed to speed up the review process in response to the growing applicant pool.

To date, 3,753 students have received acceptance letters for the Class of 2016. Duke accepted 648 out of 2,641 applicants from the binding early decision program in December, marking a record low early admission rate. The large applicant pool this year brings together a well-rounded class, said Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education.

“Because we have such a large number of fabulous applications, we can build a class of not just people with good academic scores but also with unique backgrounds and interests,” he said. “It’s about creating a diverse student body.”

The target class size for the incoming freshman class is 1,705 students, with a projected yield rate of approximately 45 percent, Nowicki noted. Official statistics have not been released yet, but the University expects to see growth in the number of applicants from the West Coast, particularly California.

“One visible trend we noticed is that there is a greater emphasis on community service and civic engagement among our applicants,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. “It will be interesting to see how service projects will develop once these students arrive on campus.”

For the Class of 2016, Guttentag said he expects the international student representation to be similar to last year—approximately 11 percent international students—and students of color will represent roughly 40 to 45 percent of the class. He noted that although students’ abilities and demographics resemble those of previous years, students are becoming more interested in the balanced student life that Duke offers.

“When applicants write about why they are interested in coming to Duke, many students mention the vibrant community and academic environment here,” Guttentag said. “They see a liveliness and energy that is unique to this campus.”

The admissions office has revised its process for admittance, allowing officers to focus more on certain applications. During this year’s early and regular admissions cycles, regional admissions officers could recommend that an applicant be rejected without further review, Guttentag said. In the past, every application had to be read by two readers and reviewed by either a senior officer or an admissions committee.

“This new change streamlined our review process at the front end,” Guttentag said. “This way, we can review applications that need more time to fully understand, without feeling pressured to make a decision.”

New admit Kimberly Lu said receiving her acceptance letter is still hard to believe.

“I had my acceptance letter open for the past three hours because I’m afraid the moment I exit the page, it’ll disappear,” said Lu, a senior at Nutley High School in New Jersey. “It’s been my dream to go to Duke for so long.”

Mariesha McAdoo of Orange High School in Hillsborough, N.C., said she was thrilled when she found out she was accepted. She attended the Black Student Alliance Invitational—the admission weekend for prospective black students—last week.

“I was actually in the car with my mom when I checked the acceptance letter on my phone,” McAdoo said. “I am so excited to attend Duke because it is such a beautiful campus, and there are so many opportunities available.”