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How to Write the Duke University Supplemental Essays

The following question is required for all 2021-22 applicants to Duke University:

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 attract you? (200 words maximum)

This is a rather straightforward “Why Duke?” question, so don’t over complicate your answer. However, don’t mistake simple for vague—your answer should include details from your research about a specific program, lab, resource, or opportunity that you are especially interested in exploring while at Duke. Always keep in mind that you should elaborate on opportunities that are unique to Duke and aren’t offered at other universities. Instead of talking about the academics or environment as a whole, 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 questions are optional for all 2021-22 applicants to Duke University:

**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 words maximum)

Despite being optional, most applications would be incomplete without answering this question. Consider the communities you come from and the impact they have had on your views, beliefs, and experiences. You are encouraged to be transparent and honest, but this essay should not repeat the information you include in your Personal Statement. Use this as a chance to enhance your application and paint an authentic, self-aware picture of yourself. None of us are fully responsible for the things that happen in our lives, but we are responsible for how we respond to challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Remember that trying to impress admission officers is a quick way to sour their thoughts about your application, so avoid writing about groups like National Honor Society which typically do not have a strong community associated with them.

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. (250 words maximum)

Duke is working hard to create an inclusive culture on its campus and they are offering students of all orientations an opportunity to discuss an important aspect of their identity. This is truly an optional supplement so do not feel inclined to respond if you feel this prompt doesn’t apply to you. However, if there is an important part of who you are that you have yet to discuss on your application, here is your chance to do so.