The Ivy Coach Daily

August 5, 2021

Duke University 2021-2022 Essay Prompts

Duke asks applicants to answer three essay prompts this year.

Duke University has released its essay prompts for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. If you’re wondering if the prompts are similar to last year’s, the answer is a resounding yes. Just like last year, Duke asks applicants to answer three essays. Two of these essays are marked as optional. But regular readers of our college admissions blog know all too well that essays that are marked optional in college admissions should never be considered optional. If Duke asks three essays — with two being optional — applicants should write three essays and they should write to the maximum word count in each of those three essays. So what questions did Duke’s admissions office pose to applicants to the Class of 2026?

The first question reads, “Please share with us why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular about Duke’s academic or other offerings that attracts you?” Applicants are asked to answer in 200 words. This, of course, is Why Duke? An applicant’s answer should be filled with specific after specific about Duke and how they hope to contribute to their campus. And, no, the essay should not be about the men’s basketball team or Coach K’s looming retirement.

The second question reads, “Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.” Applicants are asked to respond in 250 words. In the vernacular of college admissions, it’s a community essay. The University of Michigan also asks a community essay.

The third prompt reads, “Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about your identity in these areas, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt you feel is appropriate.” Applicants are asked to respond in 250 words. And, no, an applicant does not need to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community to respond to this essay prompt.

Have a question about the Duke essays for applicants to the Class of 2026? Let us know your question by posting it below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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