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Record 29K apply to join Class of 2015

Duke has seen a record number of applicants for the fourth year in a row. The 29, 526 high school students vying for a spot in the Class of 2015 are a 10.5 percent increase over last year’s applicant number.
Duke has seen a record number of applicants for the fourth year in a row. The 29, 526 high school students vying for a spot in the Class of 2015 are a 10.5 percent increase over last year’s applicant number.

For the fourth year in a row, a record number of prospective Blue Devils worldwide submitted applications to Duke.

Duke received a total of 29,526 applications from high school students this year, 2,806 more than last year—about a 10.5 percent increase, according to statistics released by Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag.

The number of applications rose in both the early and regular decision application pools. In November, Duke received 2,287 early decision applications,­ a 14 percent increase from last year, according to a Duke news release.

“[The record is] a strong affirmation of attractiveness and appeal of Duke’s institutions,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

In an e-mail, Guttentag attributed the increase in applications to a variety of factors, including greater efforts from the Office of Financial Aid and a growing number of international applicants. He also cited Duke Athletics and DukeEngage as having bolstered Duke’s popularity and visibility worldwide.

Of the applicants, 24,307 applied to Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and 5,219 applied to the Pratt School of Engineering, representing 10.8 and 7.7 percent increases, respectively.

Duke’s applicant pool is split roughly evenly between males and females. Among non-white students, Latino and Asian high school students represent the greatest increase in applicants. The greatest number of applicants are from California, followed closely by New York and North Carolina. Guttentag said the growing number of applicants from California has also helped to bolster University recognition.

“As we have attracted more students from the West Coast and from overseas, that alone tends to generate greater visibility and further interest in those parts of the world,” Guttentag wrote.

Paula Friedman, Trinity ’83, interviews prospective Dukies in the Los Angeles area. She attributes the rise in California applicants to state budget cuts in the public university system that have made it difficult for some students to pursue their studies and graduate on time.

“[Public university students] have more impacted majors—[there are] more underclassmen not being able to register for the classes they need for their major, [so it is] taking more than four years for a number of students to graduate,” Friedman wrote in an e-mail.

In December, Duke admitted a record 645 early decision applicants—43 more students than last year—leaving just 1,060 slots for regular decision applicants to the Class of 2015, Guttentag said.

Other universities have also seen sharp increases in the number of applications they received. The University of Pennsylvania received approximately 30,800 applications, a 14 percent increase from last year, according to a university press release. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also set a new record for the school, with 17,800 applicants, marking a seven percent increase.

Zainar Noor Ahmed, a high school senior from San Francisco, Calif., was drawn to Duke not only because of its classics and Middle Eastern studies programs, but also by DukeEngage and the Global Health Institute. She called Duke’s approach to education “really refreshing.”

“Duke is interested... in recruiting students who have made mistakes but from those mistakes, understand that you can become better and stronger,” she said. “[This] suggests, at least to me, that Duke is focusing on long-term educational value.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the majority of regular decision applicants were from California. More students applied from California than any other state, but the applicants did not represent a majority.

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