How to Write the Duke Supplemental Essays

Duke has one required supplement and two optional supplements. Here’s a guide to answering all three!

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? (200 word limit)

This question is essentially a version of the “Why This College?” question. You should focus on talking about a specific, class, lab, resource, or program that is of particular interest to you at Duke. What about Duke makes it the best fit for you and offers you the chance to do something that you could not do at any other university? Don’t talk about the academics as a whole, instead dive deeper and do your homework about what you plan to take advantage of once on campus. Lastly, don’t forget to make this entry fun to read. No matter what you are saying, there is always an engaging way to say it! 

The following two prompts are optional, but if you have a response to the first one, we would highly recommend that you share it!

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. (250 word limit)

This is all about community. What communities do you come from? What impact has it had on your views, beliefs, and experiences? Who and what has shaped you? This is a time to be transparent and honest—paint your readers an authentic, self-aware picture of yourself. None of us are fully responsible for the things that happen in our lives, so write about how some of the other key players that have had an impact on your life. Remember, trying to impress admission officers will likely come off boastful, and groups like National Honors Society typically  do not have a strong community associated with them. Be honest, humble and tell readers something that they may not know about you form the rest of your application.

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, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt you feel is appropriate. (250 word limit)

Duke is very proud of its inclusive culture and they want students of all orientations to know they have a place on campus. This is truly an optional supplement, (not optionally but secretly strongly recommended) but if you feel as though there is a part of your story that you haven’t shared and would like to, here is your chance.