Duke University Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Michelle

My classmates are/were brilliant, hard-working, inspiring, and eager to learn.

Elexa

My classmates are driven, passionate, and creative.

Michael

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Jennifer

My classmates from Duke became some of my best life-long friends.

Ahmed

My classmates are highly motivated, highly capable individuals who tend to be quite goal-oriented while also looking out for the best interests of others.

Luis

They are amazing

Alex

The students here are diverse, diverse in race/ethnicity, culture, socio-economic status, work ethic, personality, religion, drinking behaviors, sexuality and overall background. Some people who attend Duke are natural born geniuses who do not need to study for an exam more than the night before and still receive an A, while others are hard workers whose phenomenal grades depend on how many nights they put into studying. You'll meet people who blow your mind when you come here, but you won't know the extent of what they accomplished until you've known them for over a year. Most people here are modest when it comes to what they have done, but you also will meet people who honestly just bother you. You will not get along with everyone you meet at Duke, but you'll find your friends faster than you think.

Charlie

Duke boasts one of the most diverse student bodies among all colleges in the US. All the social minorities: African-American and Latino students, LGBT students, the socio-economically disadvantaged (such as myself) are all very well represented on campus. The LGBT centre on campus is particularly active with a lot of events. And their T-shirt -- “Love = Love” -- can be very easily spotted. The two most popular ways students dress themselves would be: the preppy type with shirts, khakis, and boat shoes and the Californian type with T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, due to the fact that they are the two best represented groups on campus. However, there are many more than two dressing styles that students exhibit here as the campus is really diverse. One of the stereotypes associated with Duke would be racial segregation. And from my experiences so far, this is simply not true. I personally have friends that are off Caucasian, Asian, Indian and African descents and this is definitely the norm here. There may be some extent of segregation within the international students from Asia but even then they have a fair amount of interactions with the rest of the campus. As to be expected from any elite private school, the upper-middle class and above is the most prevalent financial background here. A survey conducted this year shows that one third of the student population came from families that earn $300000 or more per year. With that said, the socio-economically disadvantaged are still very well represented here with Duke’s generous financial aid program. And as a member of the said group myself, I do not feel separated from the more well-off students at all. Politics-wise, the students here are very active, which is expected at a school where political science and public policy are two of the most popular majors. A perfect example would be the (very) recent passing of the Amendment One, which banned same-sex marriages in the state of North Carolina. The student groups at Duke very actively campaigned against the amendment and encouraged all the students to vote. Even though the Amendment One was eventually passed with 60% of the votes in favor of it, the Durham county was won by the opposers, which perfectly demonstrates both Duke students’ openness of mind and political awareness/activeness.

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yes

Lillie

Duke is an incredibly diverse campus. There are people from all socioeconomic statuses, races, countries, states, etc. Duke was recently named a top LGBTQ-friendly campus. Duke really has a culture of inclusion. There are retreats that Duke puts on (notably Common Ground, put on by the Center for Multicultural Affairs) that promote inclusion and diversity. I have many friends of different races, genders, sexualities, and socioeconomic statuses. Most students are not politically active, but the culture leans to the left. There are certain "scenes" at Duke (particularly the Greek scene) that are somewhat exclusive, with the IFC and Panhellenic sororities and fraternities attracting mostly higher SES white students, NPHC attracting almost exclusively black students, and IGC attracting other ethnicities. However, if students make an effort to maintain diversity in their friend group, it is easy.

Cassidy

Duke has a reputation as a liberal campus. This is in large due to the faculty's political leanings rather than the students'. While most students can discuss current issues on politics and political groups exist on campus, I would not characterize the student body as a politically active group. For the most part students approach differences in gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation thoughtfully. There is a healthy LGBT community on campus. Students come from all over the world and are encouraged to celebrate their cultures. However, Duke is not perfect. Ethnic and sexual diversity are most actively promoted on campus. Socioeconomic and religious diversity are not nearly as prevalent in student groups and conversations. As a woman, I have experienced an interesting combination of misogyny and feminism on campus. Greek life often brings out the worst part of students' understanding of gender roles on campus, whereas the feminism encouraged in the women's studies department struggles to reconcile idealism with social reality. There is a misconception that women at Duke exhibit flawless perfection socially, academically and physically. While this is an issue for women on campus, it applies to the men, as well. As notorious high achievers, Duke students feel pressure to seek perfection in all aspects of their lives. There is always something they can improve, some aspect of their life where they find themselves subpar. While there are groups on campus that help raise awareness of our universal fallibility, Duke students tend to hold themselves to Hollywood glamor standards.

Cassidy

Duke has a reputation as a liberal campus. This is in large due to the faculty's political leanings rather than the students'. While most students can discuss current issues on politics and political groups exist on campus, I would not characterize the student body as a politically active group. For the most part students approach differences in gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation thoughtfully. There is a healthy LGBT community on campus. Students come from all over the world and are encouraged to celebrate their cultures. However, Duke is not perfect. Ethnic and sexual diversity are most actively promoted on campus. Socioeconomic and religious diversity are not nearly as prevalent in student groups and conversations. As a woman, I have experienced an interesting combination of misogyny and feminism on campus. Greek life often brings out the worst part of students' understanding of gender roles on campus, whereas the feminism encouraged in the women's studies department struggles to reconcile idealism with social reality. There is a misconception that women at Duke exhibit flawless perfection socially, academically and physically. While this is an issue for women on campus, it applies to the men, as well. As notorious high achievers, Duke students feel pressure to seek perfection in all aspects of their lives. There is always something they can improve, some aspect of their life where they find themselves subpar. While there are groups on campus that help raise awareness of our universal fallibility, Duke students tend to hold themselves to Hollywood glamor standards.

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Duke is a fairly liberal campus socially. Groups like ASA (Asian Student Association) and Mi Gente (Hispanic) are very popular and students get very involved. There are also a variety of religious groups like Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) or and services on campus that are popular on campus. Duke is a very gay-friendly campus. Many students have the gay pride flags hanging out of their dorm windows. None of this is overwhelming though. It's easy to get involved, but I never feel pressured or annoyed by any of the groups that I'm not involved in. Economically, Duke is surprisingly well-rounded. Because of the great financial aid, students of all socio-economic status can attend school here. Even though there are very wealthy and very poor students here, it's not blatant who belongs to each group. It's not really an issue discussed among students, which I like. People feel equal here. As long as students are willing to socialize and be open to meeting new people, I think everyone can find his or her niche at Duke. A huge partier and a nerd can get along just fine in the classroom setting too. Duke never has that exclusive, clique-y feel that often exists in high school. We have a lot of students from North Carolina, New York, California, and Texas, but that's probably to be expected. There are students from every state at Duke and from 85 countries. The student body is diverse, which I find to be a very beneficial component to the overall experience at Duke. As for politics at Duke, I hesitate to use the word "apathetic," but students aren't the most involved in politics. It's mostly because students are too busy to keep up with every current event. I think students care, and they do get involved some, but politics aren't huge on campus. There are groups for those who want to get involved though. We have some students participating in an "Occupy Duke," sleeping out in tents on campus, so there are some people who are passionate. I would say Duke is more left-wing, but there are plenty of conservatives students too. Students here are focused on their classes and having fun. Most students don't seem to be too preoccupied with worries about getting a job after graduation and how much money they make. If you graduate with a degree from Duke, you don't have to worry as much about getting a job as someone from an average university. Companies, grad schools, law schools, and medical schools know that Duke is a good school. Plus Duke has an impressive alumni network, which always helps.

Allison

Extremely intelligent, driven and focused and they have the ability to study and perform well in class as well as support a thriving social life. It is not too ridiculously competitive and most people are very nice and honest.

William Alex

My classmates are an internationally diverse body of uniquely talented, focused, driven, hardworking, intelligent and competitive achievers who were admitted to Duke after lifelong preparation in academics, athletics or the arts, ethics, and earnest, dedicated, community service.

Juanita

My classmates are very intelligent and bring to the classroom alot of diversity from around the world.

Amanda

Motivated, knowledgeable, intelligent and sharp, but also fun-loving.

Camille

Vibrant, intelligent, hardworking, fun, involved

Cherry

Duke students are extremely smart and motivated, but at the same time, very humble and willing to help each other all while keeping academics and social life balanced as Duke tends to have a very unique lifestyle and nightlife.

Brittany

they were all extremely focused and driven

Jasmine

My classmates are very driven and competitve.

Margaret

My classmates are extremely smart, focused (both academically and on their careers), responsible, fun, and diverse.

Jennifer

My classmantes are a group of people who are diverse in thought, religion, race, sexual orientation, and personality types and are all on different tracks in life but are still trying to make the best of their Duke experience.

Caitlin

well-rounded interesting bright and motivated

diana

rich

Henry

A diverse group of students hailing from all corners of the world with every background imaginable.

Tim

I would describe my classmates as highly motivated.

Madeline

Duke students care about their academics but know how to socialize and have fun.

Josh

Varied backgrounds, international, academically-inclined, goal-oriented.

Petra

My classmates are motivated, smart, and unique.

Jeremy

Very bright and career oriented

Claire

They are intensely in the school of "work hard, party hard."

Cassidy

My classmates are friendly, smart, competitive and want to succeed in life, yet want to have a good time doing it.

Brent

Very motivated and driven individuals who are good students but can relax and be goofy and have fun.

Akara

My classmates are intelligent, diverse, and eager to do well.

Aaron

Overly earnest, self conscious and unable to think critically.

Trevor

My classmates are for the most part individuals who are striving for academic excellence and want to succeed at the highest levels in their schooling and careers.

Maurice

My classmates are goal-driven, passionate creatures who are very difficult to compete with if one comes to college unsure of his or her prospective career paths. Many of the people at my college have chosen their respective career paths for themselves; they usually have not chosen them based on the joy they bring but because they offer immediate financial stability to them and their families. I know several people entering "corporate law" after Duke simply because it "pays the bills". The same things can be said of many pre-medical, economics, and pre-law students here at Duke University.

Idan

They are diverse, academically ambitions yet relaxed and satisfied with their lives.

Andrew

Very focused people that always seem to get a lot done.

Blake

Good crowd. Generally not a lot of attractive girls, but they do exist. Shedloads of cash, but Durham's cheap (you get what you pay for) so everyone goes to the same places. I don't think i know anybody who's poor, but different social circles have different people.

Brett

As a gay African-American from one of the poorest cities in the nation, I have a unique perception of the varies groups on campus. In regards to race, unfortunately you dont see as much interracial "hanging out" as I would like. The religious groups definitely have a stronger voice on campus than I imagined; however, it could be a lot stronger. The LGBT life on campus is "slim to none." It is unfortunate, but very true. There is a LGBT center and group which numbers of people are a part of; however, the acceptance and stength of voice on campus could be better. In concerns with the socio-economic groups on campus, I would say that it is not as bad as outsiders might assume. Do not be fooled however, because one can always find a BMW, Lexus, and a Benz in the parking lots of the freshmen campus. Truth is in certain circumstances or situations in college life, socio-economic differences will rear their ugly faces. What matters is how a student accepts and embraces the differences he or she may have with someone else. Different types of students interact all the time. I have a very diverse group of friends, which is because I came to Duke with diversity and growing as a person in mind. Some students will come and choose to get to know only people who are like them, or represent what they are used to. So again it depends on what kind of person you are. But in general I feel that the amount of different types of people interacting with each other is ok but could be better.

steffi

the student body is diverse, but segregated. very high school like for the most part. People self select and there is very little infrastructure the forces or encourages integration.

Luke

Duke is probably one of the most racially diverse communities in the US but from the inside they might never notice. You can be friends with whoever you want to be without ever having to worry at all about their religious or ethnic background. Most students are politically aware and like most colleges, hang to the left.

Kelly

Coming from an extremely liberal background, I've noticed that there is definitely a religious and conservative presence at Duke, but I would say that the political scene is balanced between conservatives and liberals. I don't think Duke is as white and rich as most people think it is, but I think you will find these people at any of the top colleges.

Devin

Of the 8 or so Duke students whose houses I visited, every one was filthy rich (I'm like upper middle class I guess). If you don't like basketball its not that big a deal but basketball is definitely huge here, the world kind of stops for games usually. I am transferring to Columbia because Duke (and the surrounding area) is not where the arts are at. I can't speak for the other arts, but if you want to be a serious musician like I do, you probably should not go to Duke.

David

Duke is large enough to have a niche for anyone. However, you do find that the amount of kids who 'go out' on weekends (and weekdays) tend to be the same, especially around October, once the work starts to pile and some kids get stressed. The average student, I found, was a diligent worker. Which of course, when it comes to school work is a valuable asset, but when it comes to wanting to blow off steam they are someone lacking. I would say that many of the kids I met were angular. Meaning that they excel at one thing and they are top class at it, but in many other areas are lacking. There is a tremendous Asian population as well, which everyone becomes aware of in due time.

Carson

The people are wonderful. I found so many different types of people that I'm friends with and I love the wide variety at Duke. I grew up in a primarily white community and I love the diversity throughout campus! I find that I am even the minority sometimes- which is a cool experience for me! You can find the students wearing anything from sweatpants to a sun dress on campus. There are a range of political views too, but I found more democrats, but that may also be because I am a liberal myself.

Bria

I would say Duke students are from all over the country. I have a lot of friends from California and New York, which is probably where I feel most people are from except North Carolina. Lots of Long Islanders!! I also have a lot of friends from Texas and Chicago and others from Florida, Vegas, and the midwest. Not very many people from colorado, but enough. Students aren't really that politically active, except for a select few which aren't very noticable. An exception to this was the Obama campaign, which was very active in trying to get students to vote. I would say the student body is pretty split between conservative and liberal.

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