Duke Acceptance Rate | Scores, Stats & Requirements

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Although Duke is not a member of the Ivy League, it is a highly prestigious school with a low acceptance rate, making it one of the most competitive schools in the nation. 

According to Duke University’s independent news organization The Chronicle, the acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was only 6.2%.

While Duke is highly selective, if you have been dreaming of being a Blue Devil, you don’t have to fret.

Here are a few tips that will help improve your chances of admission to Duke University:

Apply early

Duke University accepted 4% more students with Early Decision for the class of 2026 than they did for the class of 2025.

Here are the statistics for Regular Decision and Early Decision for the class of 2026:

Class of 2026 Applications Received Applicants Accepted Acceptance Rate
Early Decision 4,015 855 21.2%
Regular Decision 45,941 2,120 4.6%

If you want to increase your chances of getting into Duke, apply early. You will have a far higher chance of getting accepted if you apply by November 1. Plus, if you apply early and are deferred, you still have a chance of being accepted during the Regular Decision acceptance period.

Here are the required materials you will need to complete your application:

  • High school transcript
  • Standardized test scores (optional, but Duke will consider these scores if submitted)
  • Three letters of recommendation (one from your school counselor and two from teachers who have taught you in major academic courses, preferably within the last two years of secondary school)
  • One personal recommendation letter (optional)
  • Application with up to 10 extracurricular activities listed
  • A one-page personal essay as well as short essay questions specific to Duke
  • An $85 application fee (nonrefundable) or a fee waiver
  • Alumni interview (optional)
  • Arts supplements (optional)

To fulfill these requirements, you should:

  • Meet with teachers and your guidance counselor to prepare your transcripts and gather your recommendation letters at the beginning of your senior year of high school.
  • Speak with your parents about the application fee and determine whether or not you will need to apply for a fee waiver.
  • Prepare a list of extracurricular activities to put on your application
  • Take an SAT or ACT prep course so that you do well on your last attempt on these standardized tests
  • Hire a private tutor or ask a teacher to look over your essay responses.
  • Review the essay questions from previous years. The 2021-22 required short-answer prompt was
    • 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)

Take rigorous classes

During your high school career, it is important that you are taking rigorous courses that will prepare you for the level of work expected at Duke and increase your chances of admission.

The average GPA for accepted students at Duke University is 4.13 weighted or 3.94 unweighted.

This means that you need to take challenging courses that will allow you to have a weighted GPA, and you need to be earning ‘A’s” in these classes.

While earning stellar grades in challenging courses is easier said than done, you can help improve the likelihood of earning ‘A’s’ in even the most difficult courses by working with a private tutor.

Schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor as soon as possible so you can map out the classes you need to take, and make sure to meet with your teachers and tutor so that you can earn the best grades possible in each of your classes.

Score in the top percentile on the SAT or ACT

While Duke is test optional, they will still consider your highest SAT or ACT scores if you choose to submit them.

I highly recommend submitting your scores because it will make your application look more impressive and provide one more data point for college admissions officers to consider when reviewing your application.

However, if your SAT or ACT score is low, this will do more harm than good.

For Duke University, 72% of accepted applicants who submitted scores had an ACT score of 34 or above or an SAT score of 1570 or above.

Impress your application reviewers by earning a score that is above average for typical incoming freshmen classes, and you will significantly improve your chances of getting into Duke.

See how you can reach the top percentile of SAT or ACT test takers for your class when you take a prep course or work with a private tutor through Prep Expert.

Although Duke is not a member of the Ivy League, it is a highly prestigious school with a low acceptance rate, making it one of the most competitive schools in the nation. 

According to Duke University’s independent news organization The Chronicle, the acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was only 6.2%.

While Duke is highly selective, if you have been dreaming of being a Blue Devil, you don’t have to fret.

Here are a few tips that will help improve your chances of admission to Duke University:

Apply early

Duke University accepted 4% more students with Early Decision for the class of 2026 than they did for the class of 2025.

Here are the statistics for Regular Decision and Early Decision for the class of 2026:

Class of 2026

Applications Received

Applicants Accepted

Acceptance Rate

Early Decision

4,015

855

21.2%

Regular Decision

45,941

2,120

4.6%

If you want to increase your chances of getting into Duke, apply early. You will have a far higher chance of getting accepted if you apply by November 1. Plus, if you apply early and are deferred, you still have a chance of being accepted during the Regular Decision acceptance period.

Here are the required materials you will need to complete your application:

  • High school transcript
  • Standardized test scores (optional, but Duke will consider these scores if submitted)
  • Three letters of recommendation (one from your school counselor and two from teachers who have taught you in major academic courses, preferably within the last two years of secondary school)
  • One personal recommendation letter (optional)
  • Application with up to 10 extracurricular activities listed
  • A one-page personal essay as well as short essay questions specific to Duke
  • An $85 application fee (nonrefundable) or a fee waiver
  • Alumni interview (optional)
  • Arts supplements (optional)

To fulfill these requirements, you should:

  • Meet with teachers and your guidance counselor to prepare your transcripts and gather your recommendation letters at the beginning of your senior year of high school.
  • Speak with your parents about the application fee and determine whether or not you will need to apply for a fee waiver.
  • Prepare a list of extracurricular activities to put on your application
  • Take an SAT or ACT prep course so that you do well on your last attempt on these standardized tests
  • Hire a private tutor or ask a teacher to look over your essay responses.
  • Review the essay questions from previous years. The 2021-22 required short-answer prompt was
    • 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)

Take rigorous classes

During your high school career, it is important that you are taking rigorous courses that will prepare you for the level of work expected at Duke and increase your chances of admission.

The average GPA for accepted students at Duke University is 4.13 weighted or 3.94 unweighted.

This means that you need to take challenging courses that will allow you to have a weighted GPA, and you need to be earning ‘A’s” in these classes.

While earning stellar grades in challenging courses is easier said than done, you can help improve the likelihood of earning ‘A’s’ in even the most difficult courses by working with a private tutor.

Schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor as soon as possible so you can map out the classes you need to take, and make sure to meet with your teachers and tutor so that you can earn the best grades possible in each of your classes.

Score in the top percentile on the SAT or ACT

While Duke is test optional, they will still consider your highest SAT or ACT scores if you choose to submit them.

I highly recommend submitting your scores because it will make your application look more impressive and provide one more data point for college admissions officers to consider when reviewing your application.

However, if your SAT or ACT score is low, this will do more harm than good.


For Duke University, 72% of accepted applicants who submitted scores had an ACT score of 34 or above or an SAT score of 1570 or above.

Impress your application reviewers by earning a score that is above average for typical incoming freshmen classes, and you will significantly improve your chances of getting into Duke.

See how you can reach the top percentile of SAT or ACT test takers for your class when you take a prep course or work with a private tutor through Prep Expert.






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