Duke University Top Questions

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Michael

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Alex

Most people believe that the campus is full of rich, white, and pretentious students. While yes the campus sends many of its students to top consulting firms and into Investment banking careers, the students are not oblivious or uncaring to the world around them. Not everyone on campus is white or rich; in fact, a significant population of the campus receives financial aid (many are in work-study programs). While there is a portion of the population who will fall into this stereotype, it is not generalizable by any means. Whatever you are looking for, you can find at Duke.

David

1. Work hard, play hard. 2. Highly ambitious and competitive. 3. Trends towards prestigious, high-paying jobs. 4. Most come from well-to-do backgrounds. 5. Tends to be fairly shallow, unless you find the right circles. Most of the stereotypes above are fairly accurate.

Charlie

Rich, preppy, fun-loving smart kids from either the New England or the South. The stereotype is true for a pretty significant part of the student body.

Matthew

Charlie

Rich, preppy, fun-loving smart kids from either the New England or the South. The stereotype is true for a pretty significant part of the student body.

Charlie

Rich, preppy, fun-loving smart kids from either the New England or the South. The stereotype is true for a pretty significant part of the student body.

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Luke

Due to occasional spikes in conveniently awful press, Duke kids sometimes get a bad rap in the media for being rich, white, cliquey party animals. There was a Rolling Stone article several years ago, GQ rated us one of America's "Douchiest" schools, and of course, the lacrosse scandal still sticks out in the average American's mind when they hear "Duke." Think polos, topsiders, and Brooks Brothers club shorts. What you should also know is that these aggressive, negative stereotypes are incredibly overblown. Is there a significant Greek presence at Duke? Sure. Some students choose to take fraternity and sorority life very seriously. Rest assured, though, that even those within the Greek system are very often actively involved in many other social and extracurricular spheres and avoid closing themselves off from the rest of campus. As an extroverted independent, I have never once felt socially alienated. I party with frat guys. I hangout with my teams from various extracurriculars. I chill with my basketball/workout friends. At Duke, our students are such amazing, well-rounded, talented individuals that the concept of over-the-top social segregation is becoming less and less of an issue. Duke might have been closer to some of our stereotypes years ago, but know that when you step onto campus now, you will be surrounded by thousands of amazing, dynamic people who don't fit into neat little cliche boxes. You can make friends with anyone and everyone. Duke is also far more ethnically and financially diverse than people give it credit for. The admissions committee does a good job of making sure they've built a class full of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and the financial aid system is one of the best in the world, thanks to our generous endowment. Big need-based grants are far more common than our privileged stereotype might suggest.

Lillie

For some reason I've never really understood, Duke students are stereotyped to be toolish jerks. According to this stereotype, they are rich, Northeastern kids who party all the time and have little regard for the people around them. Growing up a UNC fan in North Carolina, I am well aware of this sentiment. However, for the most part, it is utterly false. Although there are toolish jerks at Duke (just as there are at any school), Duke is an incredibly diverse campus with people from all walks of life. Not everyone is rich and there is not stigma against those who don't have as much money as others - in fact, it's almost impossible to tell who has money and who doesn't. However, there is one notable area in which Duke students do conform to their stereotype; within some (but not all) fraternities in the Greek scene, men tend to homogenize into one kind of person - and that person is often a tool. Yet this is only a portion of the Greek scene, and a vast minority of the Duke student body. As a whole, I'd say the correct stereotype about Duke is students who are passionate. Students get whole-heartedly involved in all aspects of their school, from social to academic to athletic to extracurricular. They are passionate about their studies, their fellow students, and their school.

Raanah

The most common stereotype of the students at Duke University comes from the media coverage of on campus “scandals.” Duke University has a consistent place in the media due to its excellent athletic and research programs. The successes of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, led by the infamous Coach K, are highlighted constantly thus keeping the university in the public eye. However this attention also facilitates a greater exposure of on campus issues and discussions. When incidents such as the Karen Owens PowerPoint or the fraternity party emails occur, the media immediately launches this image of the Duke University student as an elitist sexist frat “bro”. I also refer to this as the media’s Tucker Max syndrome: every Duke male is made synonymous with Tucker Max and his appalling antics, and every female one of his victims. However, this stereotype of Duke is a gross over exaggeration. Yes, this campus, like most other campuses around the United States, has its fair share of controversial incidents. And yes, there are certain people who do think and behave like the media portrays. This is to be expected with the large diversity of students that attend Duke University. But what the media doesn’t confess is that the main reason they know about our campus issues is because Duke University’s OWN students are the ones who bring them to public attention. The student body is smart and active and recognizes when these singular behaviors and actions reflect larger social issues. They call for on campus discussions with students, faculty, and administrators in order to bring to light the underlying reasons behind these incidents. So I would say that the stereotype is extremely false. Duke students demonstrate time and time again their appreciation for genuine discussion, activism, understanding, and progress.

Raanah

The most common stereotype of the students at Duke University comes from the media coverage of on campus “scandals.” Duke University has a consistent place in the media due to its excellent athletic and research programs. The successes of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, led by the infamous Coach K, are highlighted constantly thus keeping the university in the public eye. However this attention also facilitates a greater exposure of on campus issues and discussions. When incidents such as the Karen Owens PowerPoint or the fraternity party emails occur, the media immediately launches this image of the Duke University student as an elitist sexist frat “bro”. I also refer to this as the media’s Tucker Max syndrome: every Duke male is made synonymous with Tucker Max and his appalling antics, and every female one of his victims. However, this stereotype of Duke is a gross over exaggeration. Yes, this campus, like most other campuses around the United States, has its fair share of controversial incidents. And yes, there are certain people who do think and behave like the media portrays. This is to be expected with the large diversity of students that attend Duke University. But what the media doesn’t confess is that the main reason they know about our campus issues is because Duke University’s OWN students are the ones who bring them to public attention. The student body is smart and active and recognizes when these singular behaviors and actions reflect larger social issues. They call for on campus discussions with students, faculty, and administrators in order to bring to light the underlying reasons behind these incidents. So I would say that the stereotype is extremely false. Duke students demonstrate time and time again their appreciation for genuine discussion, activism, understanding, and progress.

Raanah

The most common stereotype of the students at Duke University comes from the media coverage of on campus “scandals.” Duke University has a consistent place in the media due to its excellent athletic and research programs. The successes of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, led by the infamous Coach K, are highlighted constantly thus keeping the university in the public eye. However this attention also facilitates a greater exposure of on campus issues and discussions. When incidents such as the Karen Owens PowerPoint or the fraternity party emails occur, the media immediately launches this image of the Duke University student as an elitist sexist frat “bro”. I also refer to this as the media’s Tucker Max syndrome: every Duke male is made synonymous with Tucker Max and his appalling antics, and every female one of his victims. However, this stereotype of Duke is a gross over exaggeration. Yes, this campus, like most other campuses around the United States, has its fair share of controversial incidents. And yes, there are certain people who do think and behave like the media portrays. This is to be expected with the large diversity of students that attend Duke University. But what the media doesn’t confess is that the main reason they know about our campus issues is because Duke University’s OWN students are the ones who bring them to public attention. The student body is smart and active and recognizes when these singular behaviors and actions reflect larger social issues. They call for on campus discussions with students, faculty, and administrators in order to bring to light the underlying reasons behind these incidents. So I would say that the stereotype is extremely false. Duke students demonstrate time and time again their appreciation for genuine discussion, activism, understanding, and progress.

Lillie

For some reason I've never really understood, Duke students are stereotyped to be toolish jerks. According to this stereotype, they are rich, Northeastern kids who party all the time and have little regard for the people around them. Growing up a UNC fan in North Carolina, I am well aware of this sentiment. However, for the most part, it is utterly false. Although there are toolish jerks at Duke (just as there are at any school), Duke is an incredibly diverse campus with people from all walks of life. Not everyone is rich and there is not stigma against those who don't have as much money as others - in fact, it's almost impossible to tell who has money and who doesn't. However, there is one notable area in which Duke students do conform to their stereotype; within some (but not all) fraternities in the Greek scene, men tend to homogenize into one kind of person - and that person is often a tool. Yet this is only a portion of the Greek scene, and a vast minority of the Duke student body. As a whole, I'd say the correct stereotype about Duke is students who are passionate. Students get whole-heartedly involved in all aspects of their school, from social to academic to athletic to extracurricular. They are passionate about their studies, their fellow students, and their school.

Abigail

Duke. The word alone immediatly conjours all sorts of stereotypes; elitist is one, conceited is another. Because Duke is home to top level acedemics and top level sports, it falls under constant national scrutiny. Any news at duke is big news: national championships, scientific discoveries, international honors, but also lacrosse scandals, inappropiate emails, and power-point presentations. The world cares about what is going on at Duke, and therefore Duke has, unfortunately, become the poster child for university scandal. This is misleading, innacurate, and quite humorous to those of us who know the real Duke. I would say the typical Duke student is passionate, incredibly driven, spirited, well-rounded, and healthily competitive. Duke students are the personification of the work hard-play hard ethos. While there are still elitist and conceited individuals who fit the Duke University "stereotype", they are by no means the majority. I also feel that Duke is an incredibly diverse place; people from all over the country and the world attend Duke, all with different opinions, values, upbringings, and cultures. Duke is a place where you can find your own voice while still hearing a multitude of others.

Cassidy

As an elite, private institution, Duke University is often considered the Ivy of the South. With that reputation comes the stigma of inheritance: inherited trust funds, inherited acceptances, inherited social status. It implies a relatively homogeneous student population of yuppy rich white kids who come from a position of privilege into a fast-track to taking over Daddy's position as CEO of a Fortune 500. While there are Duke students who are from a long tradition of wealthy Duke Alumni, characterizing the entire student body in such a manner is a sin against the diversity of the student population. I, along with the majority of my classmates, am a recipient of financial aid. While 47% of the student body is white, this is considerably lower than the 74% of students at UNC Chapel Hill who identify as white. You are just as likely to pass a first generation college student in the quad as you are to pass the son or daughter of an alumnus. Duke, in my experience, is less of a boy's club and more a stocked pantry before Thanksgiving. It gives students the resources to make the experience as diverse as they want to make it.

Brea

I think Duke is stereotyped for students who are really intense about either their academics or are only into going out and barely trying. I think some people think that Duke is filled with nothing but a bunch of snotty and rich white kids. Also another stereotype is that greek life dominates the scene completely and if you're not in a sorority or frat you have no social life. Duke students are very passionate about their academics and also about going out. A motto I hear all the time here is "work hard, play hard" - people are pretty well balanced. Greek presence is pretty big here, but you don't have to be a part of a sorority or fraternity to have a social life. You can be an independent and still have a fun social life. There are quite a bunch of people that come from well to do families, but that doesn't mean that they're snotty or white. People come from all over. Duke is diverse as a campus and people from different races and cultures interact, but there are a few people that don't branch out - but I haven't met too many people like that.

Brea

I think Duke is stereotyped for students who are really intense about either their academics or are only into going out and barely trying. I think some people think that Duke is filled with nothing but a bunch of snotty and rich white kids. Also another stereotype is that greek life dominates the scene completely and if you're not in a sorority or frat you have no social life.

.

My favorite thing about Duke is that there isn't just one stereotype associated with the student body. We truly do have a variety of students. If I had to assign a stereotype to the Duke student body, I would say we're a combination of jocks, frat kids, and geeks. Athletics are pretty big on campus, and you can always tell who the athletes are (they all have matching Nike backpacks). This definitely contributes to the jock atmosphere. Greek life is big, but not overwhelming, on campus. There are a lot of typical frat guys though. Then, there are the "geeks" who you can find in the library every night of the week. I'd say we're a pretty well-rounded campus.

.

My favorite thing about Duke is that there isn't just one stereotype associated with the student body. We truly do have a variety of students. If I had to assign a stereotype to the Duke student body, I would say we're a combination of jocks, frat kids, and geeks. Athletics are pretty big on campus, and you can always tell who the athletes are (they all have matching Nike backpacks). This definitely contributes to the jock atmosphere. Greek life is big, but not overwhelming, on campus. There are a lot of typical frat guys though. Then, there are the "geeks" who you can find in the library every night of the week. I'd say we're a pretty well-rounded campus.

Dominique

Probably the most common stereotype of Duke students is that we allPerhaps, the most prevalent stereotype associated with Duke is that we are, by majority, a school made up of white, "douchey", rich Southern kids. Associated with this stereotype comes the notion that we party really hard, that the Greek system dominates our entire social scene, and that we're obsessed with lacrosse (and "lax bros"). I, for the most part, would say this is not true. While the Greek scene is big and popular, it by no means defines social dynamics at my university. There are many students who decide not to be a part of it and are equally as happy as those who find themselves happy in fraternities and sororities. Furthermore, Duke, is in fact, very diverse. On campus, you come across people from all walks of life and the world, which makes our campus very interesting and dynamic. Besides the fact that we are diverse, students who are not "white" are very proud of representing their respective heritages on our campus, through extremely active student groups and organizations. Sports, including but not limited to lacrosse, are a huge deal. We are proud of our academic programs and support them, as a whole, through victories and losses. I guess I would say that yes, you can and do find the stereotypical white, "douchey", smart, rich kids on campus, but they in no means define our campus' society!

Luke

You should know that Duke kids occasionally get a bad rap in the media for being rich, white, cliquey party animals. There was a Rolling Stone article several years ago about our apparently super-Greek campus culture, GQ rated us one of America's "Douchiest" schools, and of course, the lacrosse scandal still sticks out in the average American's mind when they hear "Duke." Think polos, topsiders, and Brooks Brothers club shorts. What you should also know is that these aggressive, negative stereotypes are incredibly overblown. Is there a significant Greek presence at Duke? Sure. Some students choose to take fraternity and sorority life very seriously. Rest assured, though, that even those within the Greek system are very often actively involved in many other social and extracurricular spheres and avoid closing themselves off from the rest of campus. As an extroverted independent, I have never once felt socially alienated. I party with frat guys. I hangout with my teams from various extracurriculars. I chill with my basketball/workout friends. At Duke, our students are such amazing, well-rounded, talented individuals that the concept of over-the-top social segregation is becoming less and less of an issue. Duke might have been closer to some of our stereotypes years ago, but know that when you step onto campus now, you will be surrounded by thousands of amazing, dynamic people who don't fit into neat little cliche boxes. You can make friends with anyone and everyone. Duke is also far more ethnically and financially diverse than people give it credit for. The admissions committee does a good job of making sure they've built a class full of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and the financial aid system is one of the best in the world, thanks to our generous endowment. Big need-based grants are far more common than our privileged stereotype might suggest.

Luke

You should know that Duke kids occasionally get a bad rap in the media for being cliquey party animals. There was a Rolling Stone article several years ago about our apparently super-Greek campus culture, GQ rated us one of America's "Douchiest" schools, and of course, the lacrosse scandal still sticks out in the average American's mind when they hear "Duke." Think polos, topsiders, and Brooks Brothers club shorts. What you should also know is that these aggressive, negative stereotypes are incredibly overblown. Is there a significant Greek presence at Duke? Sure. Some students choose to take fraternity and sorority life very seriously. Rest assured, though, that even those within the Greek system are very often actively involved in many other social and extracurricular spheres and avoid closing themselves off from the rest of campus. As an extroverted independent, I have never once felt socially alienated. I party with frat guys. I hangout with my teams from various extracurriculars. I chill with my basketball/workout friends. At Duke, our students are such amazing, well-rounded, talented individuals that the concept of over-the-top social segregation is becoming less and less of an issue. Duke might have been closer to some of our stereotypes years ago, but know that when you step onto campus now, you will be surrounded by thousands of amazing, dynamic people who don't fit into neat little cliche boxes. You can make friends with anyone and everyone.

Ashley

The stereotype of students at Duke is that they are all rich and white. While many of the students are from the upper class, this is certainly not the whole story. My family is considered middle-class, with my father barely making more that Duke's yearly tuition! What people don't realize is that a significant portion of Duke undergraduates are on financial aid, without which they would not be able to attend. In terms of the racial breakdown, I would also not say that Duke is comprised solely of white students. Actually, there is a running "joke" that Asian students are slowly taking over the campus, as perpetuated by Duke's academic nature. With that being said, Duke has a reputation for housing "geeks," as the admissions process is one of the most competitive in the country. You won't be accepted into Duke without some measure of your academic excellence (be it GPA, SAT, ACT, etc.) Not surprisingly, most students at Duke are extremely competitive, and the pressure to do well can certainly be overwhelming at times. There is a term at Duke called "effortless perfection," in which students are expected to excel at all their endeavors but act like they put forth a minimal effort; many students abide by this standard and will work incredibly hard to make the grade.

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