Duke’s Early Decision acceptance rate falls to lowest in history after spike in applications

Mona Tong

December 18, 2020

Duke accepted the lowest percentage of Early Decision applicants in its history to the Class of 2025.

There were 5,036 Early Decision applicants this year, according to a Friday news release. Of that number, Duke admitted 840 high school seniors for a 16.7% acceptance rate.

The number of applicants this year was the highest in history, and the number of students accepted was lower than usual for recent years.

For the Class of 2024, 21% of Early Decision applicants, or 887 students, were admitted. For the Class of 2023, 18%, or 882 students, were admitted.

In a letter to colleagues reported this month by Ivy Coach, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag wrote that Duke expected to admit fewer students than normal because of the number of students taking gap years this year.

Guttentag told The Chronicle this month that this surge in the number of Early Decision applications has been “unprecedented and certainly unexpected.” He wrote that conventional wisdom held that more students would wait until Regular Decision because of the challenges they faced this year, “with fewer feeling like they were in a position to make the Early Decision commitment.”

“It turns out we were wrong,” he wrote. “I haven’t spoken with counselors since our application deadline, but I expect that there is a cohort of students and families who have been thinking about college admissions for a while, and they felt as if they had enough information—and perhaps were concerned about how students taking gap year might affect admit rates—that they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to apply Early Decision.”

According to the Friday release, 80% of Early Decision admitted students—676 students—plan to enroll in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, while the remaining 20%—164 students—plan to enroll in the Pratt School of Engineering. The states with the most admitted students were North Carolina, New York, California and Florida.

Individual Early Decision applicants will be able to see their decisions starting at 7 p.m. Friday, according to the release. 
 
 

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