If you happen to read our blog quite a bit, you probably know we love to data mine. So let’s discuss how you think the current scandal at Pennsylvania State University will impact the university. Do you think fewer students will apply in the wake of the scandal and Joe Paterno’s exit? Do you think alumni will not donate as much? Do you think football ticket sales are going to decline? What kind of a lasting impact do you think this scandal will have on Penn State? A good way to figure out some answers is to examine other case studies. And which university comes to mind as a perfect case study? You guessed it. Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
First off, we should probably set the stage for what scandal we’re referring to at Duke as there have been a couple. We’re not referring to the scandal in which a female senior wrote a comprehensive thesis on her extracurricular exploits with male students (catch our drift?). Instead, we’ll focus on the infamous Duke lacrosse case in which three Duke students who were members of the lacrosse team were wrongly charged by a rogue and highly unethical District Attorney with raping a young woman. The scandal claimed national headlines and incited racial tension in already racially charged Durham, North Carolina (town gown relations at Duke aren’t exactly anything to write home about).
So how were the admissions numbers at Duke impacted by the lacrosse scandal? While the scandal certainly had an impact on public perception of Duke, admission to Duke University only got tougher based on the stats. And the senior thesis scandal? Same deal. According to Duke University, “Out of a record 29,689 applications this year — an 11 percent increase over last year and a 46 percent increase over just three years ago — 3,094 students will receive a notice of acceptance today inviting them to become members of the Class of 2015. These students have until May 1 to make their final decision. Duke’s admission rate for Regular Decision applicants was 10.8 percent.”
Interestingly, it’s much more difficult to get admitted to Duke the year after a great NCAA Tournament run! Check out this post on March Madness and College Admissions.