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How to write the 2021-2022 Duke supplemental essays

by Story2 Staff, on Jul 24, 2021 12:54:29 PM

Hoping to become a Blue Devil next year? With its 6% acceptance rate, Duke University is among the most selective in the country. Your supplemental essays are your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show admissions readers who you are and why you’re a great fit for Duke! 

Duke requires one supplemental essay of 200 words or less, and two optional essays of 250 words or less. As always, we recommend that you stick close to the upper limit, in order to give yourself plenty of room to tell your story.

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Read on for our take on answering the supplemental prompts for the Duke 2021-2022 application! If you are looking for more help, you can create a free Story2 account and write your essay with our interactive self-paced supplements course!

Duke Question #1

Required: 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)

Admissions readers want to admit students who are a good fit, but they also want to admit students who will actually end up attending their school. This is your chance to show that you’ve done your research on Duke’s offerings and are truly committed to spending the next four years there! Another way to think about this prompt is: Why Duke? You only have 200 words, so you don’t need to list everything you know about the school in order to prove that you’re familiar with its offerings. Is there a particular academic focus that you can’t wait to explore at Duke? Are there certain classes you hope to take? If you haven’t yet settled on a particular major, that’s okay — but make sure you do offer some real examples of things that make Duke a good match for you. Remember: the strongest “why this college?” essays are personal, unique, and specific! 

Duke Question #2

Optional: 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)

Although this prompt is optional, it gives you another opportunity to tell your story to college admissions officers. What more do you have to share about your community, background, or some other aspect of your identity? Tell your story with a moment that shows the unique perspectives you will bring to Duke. Remember: many other students might have a background similar to yours, with the same set of experiences. However, the moments that make up those experiences are always unique to you! 

Duke Question #3

Optional: 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 words)

This prompt is truly optional! Answer it only if you do have something to share about your sexual orientation or gender identity and expression that has not been addressed elsewhere in your application. If you’re unsure, or are uncomfortable revealing these aspects of your identity, there is no need to respond. If there is something you are open to sharing, tell your story with a real moment from your life that embodies your experience with this identity! 

Next Steps

As a next step, access our on-demand course on writing supplemental essays by signing up for a free Story2 account!

Go back to main Supplemental Essays post.

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Topics:college admissions