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Filling out the supplemental applications for several universities can be daunting. Our team of former admissions officers from highly selective colleges and universities (including Duke) are here to help! Please find below our advice and tips on how to answer Duke University’s 2021 supplemental essay questions.

Required question:

Please share with us why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular about Duke’s academic or other offerings that attracts you? (200 word limit)

This is the classic “Why Duke?” question. In responding to this essay, it’s important to tie your personal goals and hopes for college together with how Duke can help you fulfill those desires. Being specific is important here – is it the campus location, the economics department, the cooking club? Let the admissions officers know why you are applying to Duke.

(Optional) Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to or your family or cultural background-we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 word limit) Duke University Nondiscrimination Statement

Even though this prompt is optional, we strongly recommend that you take the time to answer it. This will add another layer of demonstrated interest to your application. As the prompt states, Duke is trying to uncover the person behind the application. It’s important for students to feel like they’ve shared their true identity and personality in full with the admissions staff – who you are, what you value and what has shaped you as a person. What will you bring to campus that no one else will?

(Optional) Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about your identity, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt you feel is appropriate. (250 word limit)

Duke is a diverse institution and welcomes the LGBTQ+ community. Applicants should consider answering this question if their gender identity or sexual orientation has shaped their experiences and perspective. If you decide to answer the Duke optional essay with information about your gender identity or sexual orientation, then there is no need to complete this essay. If, however, you answer the Duke optional essay with other information about you – for example, your community, family or culture – then this essay will allow you to provide Duke with even more info about your background. Consider each essay an opportunity to share something about yourself with the admissions office!

About the author
Stephen Friedfeld

Stephen is the co-founder and COO of AcceptU. He received a BA from Cornell University, an MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and a Ph.D. from Rice University. Prior to founding AcceptU, Stephen was an Assistant Dean of admissions at Cornell for four years and an Associate Dean of graduate admissions at Princeton University for six years. Stephen is an IECA Associate Member.

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