With decisions in, Duke was more selective than some in Ivy League

Photo by the News & ObserverMarch 31 was D-Day, or decision day, for high school seniors. Colleges have finally released their decisions, and students know whether they have been accepted, denied or if they have been given an opportunity to stay on a college’s wait-list.

This was definitely another tough year, with record numbers of applications all across the country.

More than 2,300 high school seniors from across the country and around the world recently learned they have been accepted to Duke University in North Carolina.

According to Duke’s statistics, more than 34,400 students applied for admission this year – the highest number ever received. Almost 31,000 applied under Duke’s Regular Decision program, which had a deadline of Jan. 1.

This year, 2,255 students – or 7.3 percent – received a notice of acceptance inviting them to become members of the Class of 2021, while an additional 58 students, who had applied Early Decision and whose decisions were deferred to March, also learned they have been admitted. All students who were just accepted have until May 1 to make their final decisions.

Duke’s Early Decision program, which is binding, had a Nov. 1 deadline. Of the 3,400 Early Decision applicants, 861 students, or just more than 25 percent, received their good news in December. The students who applied Early Decision will comprise 50 percent of the incoming class.

The down-and-dirty truth for Duke admissions this year was that: half the enrolled spaces were allocated to 13 percent of the applicants (the Early Decision applicants), while 87 percent of applicants battled for the other half (Regular Decision applicants.)

“The Regular Decision applicants were so impressive, not just in their academic accomplishments but even more in their engagement in learning and in contributing to their communities,” said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. “Being able to admit only about 7 percent of them made the selection process particularly challenging for us. It was difficult to choose among the many exceptional young women and men who included Duke on their college lists.”

Duke supports a few major initiatives to reach underserved populations. The QuestBridge Scholars program, geared specifically toward low-income and first-generation students, saw 36 spots go to admitted Early Decision students.

Duke also offered the Washington Duke Scholars program for the second year. That program identifies exceptionally talented students from around the country who are the first in their families to attend college and who have demonstrated financial need.

“The Washington Duke Scholars program was so successful in its inaugural year that we plan to double the number of participants in the Class of 2021,” Guttentag said. “These students bring so much to the Duke community; more importantly, they have experience in taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. That makes them a terrific match with Duke and all that it offers its undergraduates.”

According to Business Insider, here are this year’s stats for the Ivy League:

Brown University accepted 2,722 from 32,724 applicants, according to a school representative. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 8.3 percent. Las year, Brown accepted 2,919 of 32,390 applications, a 9 percent acceptance rate.

Columbia University accepted 2,185 from 37,389 applicants, according to a representative. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 5.8 percent. Last year, Columbia accepted 2,193 from 36,292 applications, a 6.04 percent acceptance rate.

Cornell University accepted 5,889 from 47,038 applicants, according to its website. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 12.5 percent. Last year, Cornell accepted 6,277 students from 44,966 applications, a 13.96 percent acceptance rate.

Dartmouth College accepted 2,092 students from 20,034 applicants, according to its website. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 10.4 percent. Last year, Dartmouth accepted 2,176 students from 20,675 applications, a 10.52 percent acceptance rate.

Harvard University accepted 2,056 students from 39,506 applicants, according to a representative. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 is 5.2 percent. Last year, Harvard accepted 2,037 students from 39,041 applications, a 5.2 percent acceptance rate.

The University of Pennsylvania accepted 3,699 from 40,413 applicants, according to a university press release. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 9.2 percent. Last year, University of Pennsylvania accepted 3,661 from 38,918 applicants, a 9.4 percent acceptance rate.

Princeton University accepted 1,890 from 31,056 applicants, according to a representative. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 6.1 percent. Last year, Princeton accepted 1,894 students from 29,303 applications, a 6.46 percent acceptance rate.

Yale University accepted 2,272 from 32,900 applicants, according to its website. The admissions rate for the class of 2021 was 6.9 percent. Last year, Yale admitted 1,972 of 31,455 applicants, a 6.27 percent acceptance rate.


Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com