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Thomas Broderick

Duke ACT Scores

So you want to be a future Blue Devil? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article I’ll be explaining the ACT scores earned by students accepted to Duke, and how you can improve your odds overall.

Just started considering Duke University as your home for the next four years? Well, Duke is located in Durham, North Carolina. Its history going back to 1838, Duke currently offers fifty majors and fifty-two minors to its undergraduate class. And what a class it is! For the Class of 2019, only 11.4% of applicants were accepted.


What’s the ACT Competition?

  • For Duke’s Arts and Sciences program, the middle 50% of ACT scores for accepted students was 31-34.
  • For Duke’s Engineering program, the middle 50% of ACT scores for accepted students was 33-35.

That’s not to say that students with lower ACT scores aren’t accepted. Duke, like other selective schools, considers the ‘whole student’ in its admissions process. Even so, a high ACT score is something you can’t afford to lack if Duke is your first choice.


Upping Your ACT Game

If your composite score rests somewhere below a 31, make that (and not perfection) your goal. Focus on the two tests in the ACT where you made your lowest scores. Doing this, rather than trying to improve on all four tests, will be a better use of your study time.

If you’ve taken the ACT for the final time, and your score still isn’t what you’d like it to be, it’s time to focus other areas that would make you attractive to Duke’s admissions counselors.


Shining in Other Areas

No one’s perfect, and as we can infer from Duke’s admissions statistics, even perfect students don’t always get into Duke. Let’s make the best of an imperfect situation, shall we?

You may not be able to go back in time and change your grades from freshman year, but there are two things you do have control over: letters of recommendation and admissions essays. For the former, pick a teacher that knows you well and write them a note explaining why you think you’d be great at Duke. Buttering him/her up with compliments doesn’t hurt, either. Also, don’t forget a stamped envelopes if your teacher wants to send their letter the old fashioned way. Trust me, you don’t want to make Mrs. Jones shell out 49 cents for postage.

As for admissions essays, this is your only real chance to introduce yourself, so use it wisely. Have a friend/parent/teacher/anyone who’s better at writing than you give it a once over before you send it in. It’s that important.


Final Thoughts

Whether or not your ACT score reaches perfection, a well manicured application package can still result in getting a ‘fat envelope’ from Duke University. Good luck, and start learning about why North Carolina’s barbecue is superior to all others.


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About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

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