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Molly Kiefer

Duke Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores, and GPA You Need to Get In

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Want to be a Blue Devil? Well you’ve come to the right place!

In this post, we’ll take a look at Duke admissions, the Duke Freshman Profile (including Duke SAT and ACT scores), and more!

Then once we get through the facts and figures, we can focus on how to get into Duke, and what your best path to admission will look like.

Applying to Duke?

Thinking about making Duke University your home for the next four years?

duke admissions -magoosh

Makes sense…Duke is a great school!

Here are some of the basics: Duke is located in Durham, North Carolina. Its history goes back to 1838. Today, Duke currently offers fifty majors and fifty-two minors to its undergraduate class, which is divided between the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and the Pratt School of Engineering. And what a class it is! For the Class of 2021, only 10.5% of applicants were accepted.

How to Get Into Duke

Duke is an extremely selective school–this year Duke received 37,302 applications (for the incoming Class of 2022), which is an 8% increase in applications comparable to that of it’s ivy league peers like Harvard and Yale.

Admission into Duke isn’t for your average student. The Duke admissions committee carefully sifts through thousands of undergrad applications each year, so you’re going to be competing with the cream of the crop. Most students who get into Duke will check off most of these bullet points:

  • You’re at or near the top of your high school class.
  • You have extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership skills and social-mindedness.
  • You have a unique background or point of view.
  • You’re SAT/ACT scores are exceptional.
  • You have a very high GPA.

Obviously not all of these factors are under your control…

duke admissions -magoosh

…but several of them can be! Starting with your test scores.

Duke SAT Scores

Every year, Duke releases demographic information and interesting facts about its incoming freshman class. While the Duke admissions details of the Class of 2022 have not yet been made publicly available, the 2021 freshman profile still has a lot of relevant information about who’s currently attending Duke and where they have been scoring.

Here are the Duke SAT scores of the Class of 2021:
 

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (25 percentile)Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (75 percentile)Pratt School of Engineering (25 percentile)Pratt School of Engineering (75 percentile)
1440157014901570

As you can see, there isn’t one super-special, specific Duke SAT score that the Duke admissions committee is looking for. But, you can also see that the 75th percentile of incoming freshman scored 1570 or the new SAT.

It’s generally a good idea to aim for the 75th percentile of whatever school you’re applying to–so in this case you’d want to set your goal score around 780 for each section. That’s pretty high! So you better get studying!

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Duke ACT Scores

Maybe you’ve taken our SAT or ACT quiz, and you think the ACT might be a better fit for you. Don’t worry, we’ve got those statistics too!
 

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (25 percentile)Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (75 percentile)Pratt School of Engineering (25 percentile)Pratt School of Engineering (75 percentile)
31353335

For students who submitted ACT scores and were admitted to Duke in 2017, the 75th percentile of the incoming freshman class scored a 35 on the ACT. Again, that’s for both the Engineering School and the College of Arts & Sciences. So no matter which school you’re applying to, try to aim for a 35, and definitely make sure not to go below a 31.

Liam got a 35 on the act. Get a higher act score.

Duke GPA Average

Duke actually doesn’t officially report the GPAs of its admitted students–but based on data from more than 1,000 schools, the average GPA of a freshman at Duke is 4.17.

As you may already know, lots of high schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0. So to be averaging a 4.17 you’d have to be taking plenty of AP or IB classes (and racking up those A’s across the board)!

Duke doesn’t set a minimum GPA, nor do they re-weight GPA’s to any standard other than what a school provides. Every school and every grading system is different, but don’t worry too much about that. The Duke admissions committee will do their best to evaluate your scores fairly, no matter where you went to high school!

Duke Acceptance Rate

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Duke admissions rate for the Class of 2021 was 10.5%. But there’s obviously more too it than that…out of 37,302 applicants, 3,287 were admitted–who are these people?!

Well…this is probably a good time for the Freshman Profile!

Duke Freshmen Profile (2017-2018)

You want to know who’s getting into Duke. Luckily, Duke keeps track of that sort of thing.

Let’s take a look:

Duke 2021 Freshman Profile

Total Applicants 34,488
Total Accepted3,287
Total Enrolled1,751
Admissions Rate10.5%
Early Decision Admissions Rate25%
Regular Decision Admissions Rate8%
Asian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander25%
Black/African American13%
Hispanic/Latino14%
Native American, American Indian,
Native Alaskan, or Native Hawaiian
1%
Male49%
Female51%
Went to Public High School66%
Went to Private High School31%
Went to Religious High School / Military High School / Homeschooled / Other3%
First-Generation College Student 12%
International Students14%

Shining in Other Areas

We’ve looked at test scores, GPA, and the demographics of Duke’s current freshman class–so you have some idea of how you stack up.

You may not be able to go back in time and change your grades from freshman year, but there are also other things you have a bit more 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. Also, don’t forget a stamped envelopes if your teacher wants to send their letter the old-fashioned way (though fewer and fewer schools accept actual letters these days!). 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. Definitely have a friend/parent/teacher give it a once over before you send it in!

But let’s not forget–you can improve your test scores! Just choose the test that’s right for you, and find a study schedule that fits your lifestyle–consider checking out the Free 1-Week SAT Trial or the Free 1-Week ACT Trial from Magoosh)

And if you don’t reach your goal score, think about retaking the exam, or switching tests!

Final Thoughts

Whether or not you achieve that perfect test score, a well-manicured application package can still result in a ‘fat envelope’ from Duke University.

Good luck…hopefully soon you’ll have access to all the North Carolina barbecue your heart desires.

Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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About Molly Kiefer

Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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