Minority Applictions at Record High


Applications for admission from African-American, Asian, and Latino high school seniors set a record this year, says Christoph Guttentag, director of undergraduate admissions. Duke experienced an 11 percent increase in the number of Latino applicants (from 703 last year to 781 this year), and 4 percent increases in the number of African-American (1,190 last year, 1,240 this year) and Asian applicants (2,446 last year, 2,553 this year).
Overall, Duke experienced a slight increase in the total number of applications—more than 14,500, compared to 14,468 last year
—which represents the second-highest total of applications, says Guttentag. He attributes the increase partly to the university’s recruitment efforts. “We have tried to focus on areas of importance, and having an appropriate representation of students of color is clearly one of those areas,” he says.
Guttentag notes there also is increasing interest in Duke among more exceptional students. “I think Duke is continuing to change its position in the marketplace. In the last several years, while the size of our applicant pool has remained relatively stable, we’ve seen an increase in applications from academically stronger students and a decrease in the number of weaker students. The early indications are this will happen again this year.”
This record number of minority applicants, he says, is partly due to the fact that Duke already enrolls a significant number of minority students. “In the last few years, at least 10 percent of our freshman class has been African American, and that has a cumulative effect. The success that we’ve had bringing in African-American and Latino students to Duke makes us an even more appealing place for prospective African-American and Latino students.”
He also notes that Duke has added extra programs during recruitment weekends and has sent out special mailings to students emphasizing that Duke, with its policies of need-blind admission and of meeting full need, is affordable. When deciding whom to admit, Duke does not consider the financial status of an applicant’s family. The university then provides 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need.
“It’s really a matter of encouraging people who can’t afford to attend Duke without help to realize that Duke will help them,” Guttentag says. “The barrier to overcome is not in the financial-aid package; it’s in convincing students and their parents that Duke is a school they should be thinking about.”
Duke also saw a slight increase in the number of applications from North Carolina students, from 1,053 to 1,069. The largest jumps
—about 8 percent—occurred in the number of applicants from California and Texas. Overall, the number of applicants to the Pratt School of Engineering increased 7 percent (from 2,145 last year to 2,298 this year), while the number of applicants to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences was down less than 1 percent (12,322 last year, 12,236 this year.)
Admission decisions were mailed out in April. Duke accepted about 500 high school seniors who applied for early admission. The freshman class that enters next August will have about 1,600 students.

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