Applications Spike

Despite, or perhaps because of, tough economic times, Duke has received another record-breaking number of applications for admission to the Class of 2013. In a 17 percent increase from last year's numbers, the 23,750 applications mark the largest jump in school history.

Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, attributes the increase to a number of possible factors, including enhancements to financial-aid programs and initiatives that emphasize civic engagement, principally DukeEngage. Launched in 2007, the program provides funding for Duke undergraduates to pursue an intensive service and learning experience anywhere in the world.

"DukeEngage has really captured people's imagination," Guttentag says, noting that a significant number of this year's applicants mentioned it as one of the things that attracted them to Duke. "Every time I visited a school this fall and talked about DukeEngage, students knew what I was talking about. In an incredibly short period of time, it has become a defining and distinguishing aspect of the university."

Significant increases were seen in applications from the West Coast, including California, Washington, and Oregon. The number of applications from students in Illinois, New York, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio also increased markedly, as did the number of applications from overseas.

Duke is one of a limited number of schools with a "need-blind" admissions policy—all qualified U.S. applicants are accepted regardless of their ability to pay. The university guarantees it will meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.

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