Duke University Top Questions

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Alex

The best way to describe the outside and inside opinion of Duke is to compare it to the New York Yankees in the sense that if you're not a Duke fan, student, alum or staff then you absolutely hate everything Duke. You think that they have too much money, you hate on their teams and you just hate on Duke. But, if you go to Duke you love it. The school spirit and the academics, the social scene and the people. Everything on that campus makes Duke what it is today. Having said that, it is not a perfect campus by any means. Greek life (we also have selective living groups, which can be included in this category) is a bigger part of campus life than some people want to believe. The thing about Duke is you need to join some organization when you get here. You cannot just sit by and watch your college life pass you by without joining some type of organization. It could be a sorority/fraternity, a selective living group, Duke Student Government, Duke University Union, a club sport, or an academic group, but everyone in some way or another is part of an organization. Additionally, the students and the administration have some issues. There are some administrators on this campus who truly believe in the power of the student body and are trying to help them in their academic and social endeavors. However, there are powerful administrators who do not listen to the student body. These people tend to worry more about issues concerning Duke's appearance to the outside world rather than the issues facing Duke students on Duke's own campus. Duke students have had their fair share of issues over the past couple of years. The most recent is the change in the House Model - no one understands how the house system will be altered or how it will work, but we will see soon enough come August. We've had Tailgate issues, gender issues, and Greek issues to name a few. What is most interesting about these issues, though, is that most of the response stemmed from how the administration responded to the issue and how they handled the student body. Duke students do not believe they should be treated like children. They value their opinion and truly believe they can bring change to the campus, community, country and world. So, when they are not consulted on issues that will directly affect the campus culture or student life at Duke they become resistant and oppositional. Most of the controversy at Duke lies in this fact: if the administration consulted the students more when making campus culture changes and truly valued and used parts of the student's opinions and ideas then there would be less push-back. Despite these complaints or controversies, people who go to Duke love their experience at Duke because Duke is not just a university, it is a feeling. People who go to Duke are proud to say they go there.

David

Great school overall, although it takes getting used to. Beautiful campus, encapsuled community, and good opportunities for outside engagements if you so desire them. Can be superficial at times, but that exists at most private colleges. Overall, 8/10, but you will definitely have a memorable experience there.

Matthew

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love Duke. Truly. But that's just me. Generally, I’d say that you get out what you put in at a school like Duke. Four years ago, I stepped onto campus as a college freshman eager to try my hand at everything. Coming all the way from a tiny town in Arkansas, I wanted to meet as many people as I could. I wanted to sign up for student groups, play intramural sports, take all the best classes, audition for shows, and more. Now, as my undergraduate life draws to a close, I can honestly say that I succeeded. There are so many opportunities for valuable experiences here that I was overwhelmed at first. Throughout the years, I was able to narrow my interests and prioritize my time. I was never disappointed. I am an English major, and I just completed my thesis in creative writing (you can write anything you want!). I’m an education minor and have volunteered at local elementary schools in Durham every semester. As a musical theater actor, I’ve done 4 shows in the last year. I started the Duke Baking Club. In March, I won the Intramural Basketball Rec League championship in Cameron Indoor Stadium. And all that is in addition to keeping up with my favorite Xbox games. The only limit to what you can do at Duke is your own imagination. My point in saying all this is to say that you, the student, make up what a college “is”. Classes are important, of course, but they only fill up 8-12 hours of the week (not counting homework). And, at Duke, you don’t have to worry about quality in that area. Duke professors are some of the best at what they do. What you do for the rest of the week , though, is up to you and your fellow students. Duke has pride and tradition. Duke has diversity. Duke is really, and without wanting to sound clichéd, what YOU make it.

Matthew

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love Duke. Truly. But that's just me. Generally, I’d say that you get out what you put in at here. Four years ago, I stepped onto campus as a college freshman eager to try my hand at everything. Coming all the way from a tiny town in Arkansas, I wanted to meet as many people as I could. I wanted to sign up for student groups, play intramural sports, take all the best classes, audition for shows, and more. Now, as my undergraduate life draws to a close, I can honestly say that I succeeded. There are so many opportunities for valuable experiences here that I was overwhelmed at first. Throughout the years, I was able to narrow my interests and prioritize my time. I was never disappointed. I am an English major, and I just completed my thesis in creative writing (you can write anything you want!). I’m an education minor and have volunteered at local elementary schools in Durham every semester. As a musical theater actor, I’ve done 4 shows in the last year. I started the Duke Baking Club. In March, I won the Intramural Basketball Rec League championship in Cameron Indoor Stadium. And all that is in addition to keeping up with my favorite Xbox games. The only limit to what you can do at Duke is your own imagination. My point in saying all this is to say that you, the student, make up what a college “is”. Classes are important, of course, but they only fill up 8-12 hours of the week (not counting homework). And, at Duke, you don’t have to worry about quality in that area. Duke professors are some of the best at what they do. What you do for the rest of the week , though, is up to you and your fellow students. Duke has pride and tradition. Duke has diversity. Duke is really, and without wanting to sound clichéd, what YOU make it.

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Raanah

I genuinely love Duke and truly believe that I wouldn’t be this happy at any other university. The best part of being at this university is being surrounded by students who possess such an amazing balance in their lives. The students achieve unbelievable successes in their academic endeavors and produce outstanding work, yet they maintain a healthy and active social life. Everyone I know is deeply involved with something other than just academics, whether it is sports, dancing, cultural clubs, or social activism. But the students are only able to fully explore all their interests because Duke provides so much for them. The countless opportunities and doors this university opens for its students still astounds me on a daily basis. Programs such as DukeEngage offers students with the chance to go abroad basically anywhere in the world for an entire summer—without financial and safety constraints—and participate in another culture through community service. It is also unusual that a university of this academic standing also has a long and excellent history of athletics and arts. Most students spend a lot of time on campus which is great because you truly get a feel for the Duke community. However, it is easy to get stuck in the “Duke bubble” and not venture out into the surrounding communities and cities nearby. This tendency to stay on campus with fellow Duke students is one of the more commonly heard critiques of Duke. But nevertheless, this environment produces a deep feeling of Duke pride and loyalty. My favorite and happiest memory will always be from my freshman year after the Duke men’s basketball team won the national championships. The entirety of the Duke community came together on the main quad in a sea of Duke blue to celebrate this great victory together.

Lillie

Duke is an amazing school. I chose Duke because it is the perfect balance of "work" and "play." The classes are challenging, engaging, and rewarding. There are so many opportunities for research, civic engagement (what other college offers an 100% free summer abroad to their students?), extracurricular activities, and more. Amazing speakers and events come to the school every year, affording the students opportunities to listen to and witness truly life-changing things. Additionally, the campus is incredibly accomodating. The Women's Center, the LGBT Center, BSA, ASA, Mi Gente... the list goes on. All are welcome and included at Duke. Duke students are super involved in EVERYTHING and student life is amazing. Yet the students don't take life too seriously - a problem I encountered in some of my college visits. They know how to kick back and have fun. Whether it be the midnight Disney sing-a-longs, the hilariously trashy Western night club that is Shooters II, or the AMAZING basketball games, Duke students understand that college is not just an academic experience, but one where you grow culturally and socially. And, a little-known fact, it is one of the only top-10 schools that offers merit scholarships. I am able to go to Duke through the Benjamin N. Duke Scholars program, a full-cost scholarship that covers everything except books. Duke is an absolutely amazing institution that is constantly working to improve itself, and the students absolutely love it.

Abigail

Its hard to choose the best thing about your university. There are so many parts of the school that contribute to your experience, so picking just one seems unfair and incongruous. So I'll try and choose something that transcends a "thing", something that I personifies the University: so, my favorite part about Duke is it's energy. The energy of the students, of the campus, of Durham (the town around Duke), of our athletic teams, and of community service. You step on campus, and the energy and enthuaism are palpable. There is never a dull moment at Duke. With 7,000 students, you walk around every day seeing people you know and yet, you can still meet a new person every day until you graduate. While the current administration is not popular, it has sparked an unprecedented level of student involvement, protest, and engagement with the workings of the school. Again, energy. Student complaints and disatisfaction are not left in the colums of the student newspaper, they are discussed, debated, brought to the administration, reworked, reinterpreted, and ultimately resolved. So while there are things I would change at Duke, I need not worry, because its probably already happening.

Cassidy

As a senior, I only now realize how many opportunities I have let pass me by while at Duke. If I could change one thing about my undergraduate career, it would be to go to more free performances, lectures and events held on campus. Yes, Duke basketball is a key part of student life, and yes I have spent the greater part of my Spring semester in a tent for the Duke-UNC game, but Duke offers so many different enriching experiences outside of Cameron stadium. There is live jazz on Wednesday nights and you can usually get a $5 student ticket to a Duke Performance on Fridays and Saturdays. Duke is not a typical college town school. It creates its own community separate from and yet still part of Durham. At times this can give you a skewed sense of reality, making those few instances where you step off campus feel like you are stepping into a different country. However, Duke's isolation allows it to create its own metropolitan culture of learning and achievement. In their first two years, students might interact minimally with the greater Durham community since there is little need for them to leave campus. However, Durham offers its own art and food scene that is beginning to gain greater recognition on campus. As a senior living off campus, I find a new and fascinating Durham hangout almost on a weekly basis. I am constantly pleasantly surprised by what the community has to offer those who are willing to look for it.

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I love my university! My favorite thing about Duke is the students. You have to opportunity to interact with people from not only across the nation but from around the world as well. Everyone has had unique experiences, and I've yet to meet a "boring" person at Duke. It's fun (and educational!) to learn about the different cultures and experiences of your peers. I have a hard time saying what I don't like about Duke, but if I had to pick something I would say the cost. Financial aid at Duke is really good, but it's still painful when every tuition bill comes in. With that being said, an education at Duke is definitely worth the cost. The size of Duke is perfect. You see new faces all the time, but you still run into familiar ones across campus. Just on a normal day out, I pass a lot of my friends or people I know from classes, but I also feel like there are enough people that I can continue to make new friends all the time. I definitely prefer the size of Duke over something larger. Most of my friends from high school ended up going to our in-state public university which as about 50k students. That is too big for me, and I'm happy with my choice to come to Duke. I always get a positive reaction when I tell people I go to Duke. People know it's a good school, and they are generally very impressed. Usually I feel like I have to downplay it because I don't want to feel like I am bragging about where I go to school. When I'm back home and people ask me where I go to school, I'll say, "I go to school out of state." Then if they ask specifically which school, I'll say, "I go to Duke. It's in North Carolina." On campus, I typically spend most of my time in CIEMAS, one of the main engineering buildings. It's one of the newer buildings on campus, and it's my favorite place to study, especially late at night. Everyone finds their own study place, and for most people that's the library. There are many other good places to study on campus at literally every hour of every day of the week, with CIEMAS being one of those. The location of Duke is great too. We're in Durham, which is the fifth most populous city in North Carolina. There's definitely a lot of nearby shopping, so it's nice to not have to travel too far from campus to get what you need. At the same time, when you're on campus, you don't feel like you are in the middle of a large city. Duke has it's own isolated feel--in a good way. Overall, I think the school administration does a good job. I think in this regard, the "no news is good news," idea is pretty accurate. I don't feel very involved with their decisions, but I've never had any issues with anything, which indicates that they're doing a good job. Of course, we had the scandal with the lacrosse players in 2006, which we still receive some heat for today. A lot of people don't realize that the men accused were actually innocent, so as a student of Duke, I get frustrated when people slander us for something that didn't actually happen. Many people are unhappy with the way the administration handled the case, but it's hard for any university to look good during a scandal, so this does not lessen my opinion of the administration or the university as a whole. We Duke students have a lot of pride, and we're not going to let one scandal ruin that. If you want to feel just how strong that pride is, go to a Duke basketball game! The passion that Duke students have is invigorating. I love it. You'll see students wearing their Duke gear across campus too. We all love it here, and we're proud to be Blue Devils! It's rare to hear a student say something bad about Duke. The only complaints you ever hear are about having too much work to do or not getting enough sleep, but those complaints are typical of any college student at any university. My best experience with Duke so far is actually one that did not occur on campus. That's what's great about Duke--the opportunities provided for students that happen off campus. I went to El Salvador last summer for eight weeks with a group of 9 other Duke engineering students, and we built two pedestrian footbridges in rural farm areas that experience severe flooding. There are opportunities like this everywhere on campus. Anyone can get involved!

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I love my university! My favorite thing about Duke is the students. You have to opportunity to interact with people from not only across the nation but from around the world as well. Everyone has had unique experiences, and I've yet to meet a "boring" person at Duke. It's fun (and educational!) to learn about the different cultures and experiences of your peers. I have a hard time saying what I don't like about Duke, but if I had to pick something I would say the cost. Financial aid at Duke is really good, but it's still painful when every tuition bill comes in. With that being said, an education at Duke is definitely worth the cost. The size of Duke is perfect. You see new faces all the time, but you still run into familiar ones across campus. Just on a normal day out, I pass a lot of my friends or people I know from classes, but I also feel like there are enough people that I can continue to make new friends all the time. I definitely prefer the size of Duke over something larger. Most of my friends from high school ended up going to our in-state public university which as about 50k students. That is too big for me, and I'm happy with my choice to come to Duke. I always get a positive reaction when I tell people I go to Duke. People know it's a good school, and they are generally very impressed. Usually I feel like I have to downplay it because I don't want to feel like I am bragging about where I go to school. When I'm back home and people ask me where I go to school, I'll say, "I go to school out of state." Then if they ask specifically which school, I'll say, "I go to Duke. It's in North Carolina." On campus, I typically spend most of my time in CIEMAS, one of the main engineering buildings. It's one of the newer buildings on campus, and it's my favorite place to study, especially late at night. Everyone finds their own study place, and for most people that's the library. There are many other good places to study on campus at literally every hour of every day of the week, with CIEMAS being one of those. The location of Duke is great too. We're in Durham, which is the fifth most populous city in North Carolina. There's definitely a lot of nearby shopping, so it's nice to not have to travel too far from campus to get what you need. At the same time, when you're on campus, you don't feel like you are in the middle of a large city. Duke has it's own isolated feel--in a good way. Overall, I think the school administration does a good job. I think in this regard, the "no news is good news," idea is pretty accurate. I don't feel very involved with their decisions, but I've never had any issues with anything, which indicates that they're doing a good job. Of course, we had the scandal with the lacrosse players in 2006, which we still receive some heat for today. A lot of people don't realize that the men accused were actually innocent, so as a student of Duke, I get frustrated when people slander us for something that didn't actually happen. Many people are unhappy with the way the administration handled the case, but it's hard for any university to look good during a scandal, so this does not lessen my opinion of the administration or the university as a whole. We Duke students have a lot of pride, and we're not going to let one scandal ruin that. If you want to feel just how strong that pride is, go to a Duke basketball game! The passion that Duke students have is invigorating. I love it. You'll see students wearing their Duke gear across campus too. We all love it here, and we're proud to be Blue Devils! It's rare to hear a student say something bad about Duke. The only complaints you ever hear are about having too much work to do or not getting enough sleep, but those complaints are typical of any college student at any university. My best experience with Duke so far is actually one that did not occur on campus. That's what's great about Duke--the opportunities provided for students that happen off campus. I went to El Salvador last summer for eight weeks with a group of 9 other Duke engineering students, and we built two pedestrian footbridges in rural farm areas that experience severe flooding. There are opportunities like this everywhere on campus. Anyone can get involved!

Dominique

I am obsessed with Duke University. I knew this is the school I wanted to spend my four undergraduate years at the moment I stepped on campus. I think it is the perfect size - it's big enough not to feel like you're still in high school, but small enough that you can see the same person on campus twice (by accident!). There is great pride associated with going to Duke; it is not only one of the best academic institutions in the world, it also happens to be a vibrant, spirited, social, service-oriented, and fun place to call your second home. I love the fact that Duke is very campus-oriented. It not only gives you a sense of ownership over your school, but it unites everyone; you can talk to other students about the same experiences and they know exactly what you are talking about. While Durham is still developing and not the BEST college town to be in, it still has its charm and perks. The foodie scene is one of the best in the country. There is no limit on the amazing brunch places to explore on a hungover Sunday morning. When I look back on my college years, I will definitely remember the amazing and dynamic people I met while at Duke. They are not only beyond intelligent, they are passionate students who care about the world around them. Duke students want to use their skills and resources for something that goes beyond their scope, so meeting peers at school is an invaluable experience in itself. Beyond that, I've had amazing opportunities; perhaps, the most important was my experience through Duke Engage, through which I was able to travel to Kolkata, India for two months for the purpose of working in a boarding school for street children, fully funded by Duke. I'm sure you can see that I could talk about this place forever. It is my second home and will always be near and dear to my heart.

Luke

One thing you'll likely notice from your conversations with current Duke students and alumni (no matter how old) is that we really, really, really love our school. A lot. There's a reason the Duke alumni network is among the strongest, most financially supportive, and most professionally helpful in the country. We know what a great place it is, and we like to take care of our own. There are so many factors that lead to this kind of nigh-obsessive Duke love, and those factors are often different for different people. For me: - It's the perfect size. ~ 6,500 undergrads is big enough so you don't feel stifled, but small enough to provide tons of seminar-scale class sizes and lots of friendly familiarity with lots of people. Starting right off in Orientation Week, you feel like you could get to know anyone if you tried. Even the physical campus itself reflects this happy medium, feeling homey but grandiose. - It's the perfect blend of work and fun. Obviously, Duke is a top 10 academic institution. School, grades, internships, etc. will/should be a significant part of your Duke journey for sure. You'll see plenty of people camping out late (REALLY late) in Perkins library, even early in the semester. But if you got into Duke, you're the type who thrives on that kind of pressure and academic challenge, and the environment is so warm and cooperative that you won't feel like a gunner trying to destroy his peers. Group study sessions, even if none of you are studying for the same class, are frequent and show that we're all in this together. At the same time, 4 years at Duke is an incredible amount of fun. Again, this could mean different things for different people. If you want to drink and socialize via the traditional partying, there's plenty of that. If you want to live in a tent for a month or more to score sweet seats at basketball games, there are hundreds of others who are thinking the exact same thing. If you just want to unwind and watch a movie in the common room, I guarantee someone else will be too tired to go out, too. - The people. I've said it already so I'll try not to sound like a broken record too much. You will not find a better, more comprehensive blend of smart, talented, fun, vibrant students anywhere. Period. - It opens doors. Coming to Duke, I was very ambitious, but also very naive. I wanted a lot of things in a potential career: responsibility, intellectual challenge, and a livable salary. I did not, however, have any kind of clear idea of what direction I should take. Luckily, you'll soon find that Duke does a stellar job of opening your eyes to new and different opportunities. Through the Career Center, associations of majors (e.g. the English Majors Union), various clubs and organizations, relationships with professors, and simple word-of-mouth, you will be exposed to so many internship possibilities and career paths. If you want to go the more traditional route of law, med, or grad school, you're definitely not alone. A huge percentage of Blue Devils choose those options every year, and the support system in place for guiding you through those application processes is great. That word "option" is the real key, though. All of these things and more are options, and by coming to Duke, you effectively open the door to all of them. You could go with the flow and pursue investment banking, consulting, tech at Facebook/Google/Twitter, government work, etc. or you could enter our Start-Up competition and get funding for an entrepreneurial shot at the next big thing. You could go to a top law school or you could do Teach For America. If you make the most of your Duke experience and really give 100%, you can choose any of these things that feels right to you, and that's a beautiful thing.

Ashley

When I tell people I go to Duke, they normally react with a bit of surprise and a "you must be smart." When they go one to ask me if I like Duke, I am honest with them: my freshman year, I didn't like the university. Even now, I have mixed feelings. I believe that my experience has been made better by joining a Selective Living Group (SLG), which is similar to a fraternity or sorority: you "rush" and then live with a group of students with similar interests (in this case, our similar interest is art). Inevitably, this group has been one of the best things about Duke, and I consider them to be the "coolest" students. Of course, there are other positives about Duke. The student body is small (about 6000 undergraduates), but for me, that size is just right. Classes are normally small seminars with 10 to 15 students, which creates a great environment for academic discussion. There are also an abundance of study spaces, and I spend a great deal of my time in the library. In the basement of Perkins, our main library, is an area called The Link, in which I love to study (mainly because it's more casual than the rest of the library). It goes without saying that there is a ton of school pride, mainly perpetuated by the Duke Men's Basketball team. The Cameron Crazies (named after Cameron Indoor Stadium) are some of the most spirited fans in the nation. The one experience I will always remember is when our team won the National Championship in 2010. Everyone ran our of the dorms and to the main quad, where we burned our benches in celebration. Even for someone like me, who had trouble identifying with Duke, I was overwhelmed by the school pride and the intensity of the moment. There are many things I would change about the university, but the major change would be the administration. Our administration has a notorious record of not listening to student input, whether it be the cancelation of our football tailgate (after a 14-year-old was found passed out drunk) or the new house model. The house model has been the most recent controversy on campus, with the majority of students vehemently opposed. The biggest problem with the model is that next year, everyone's living situation will change, and the new arrangements will stay in place for an undetermined period of time. One of the biggest downsides to Duke is the city in which it's located: Durham, NC. Durham has always had a reputation of being a poor city riddled with crime, some of which spills over into Duke (students are robbed on a monthly basis). This is probably one of the unusual things about Duke: that such a rich university is nestled in such a disadvantaged city. Fortunately, the university is trying to ease this gap by setting up service projects in Durham. I am involved in one called America Reads and Counts, in which I tutor at a local elementary school. While this experience has definitely helped me develop a better opinion of the city, it hasn't done much to quell my fears of walking alone at night.

Matt

The best thing about Duke is its diversity. While this line seems quite cliche, I am very glad that I go to a school where my world view is constantly being challenged by people with different backgrounds and opinions. But Duke's diversity also refers to the endless possibilities of campus involvement. At Duke, anything is possible. You can pursue acting, dance, music of all sorts, art, athletics, political involvement, religion, spirituality, and, of course, cutting-edge research and investigation. Duke is situated in Durham, NC. The town-gown relations catch a lot of slack from the public mouth, but it really isn't bad at all. Durham owes a lot of its economic stability to the influx of Duke dollars, and that seems to be understood. There are a lot of cool places to hang out around town, with more coming- you just have to learn how to make the best of them!

Blake

Duke is sick. You just have to know the right people. Join a decent fraternity or sorority and you're golden. Don't get caught doing anything, the admin and police here are unhelpful and often downright ridiculous in how far they'll push things.

Brett

I would say the best thing about Duke is the "work hard play hard" culture on campus. Its a balance unparalled by any of school of our caliber. Often times I am amazed by how much fun I have a this tough and academically challenging school. Our culture completely belies the thought that if one goes to an Ivy Leage status school, he or she will have minimal fun when compared to other schools. One thing I would change about my school is the ever present, whether underlying or not, racial divides between the students that lead to self segreation drawn on racial lines. With that being said, it is important to note that the racial divides present on campus are a part and due to more influential factors that lie outside of our campus walls. Furthermore, I realize, as an African-American student, the great lengths we have come in regards to race in the country and race on campus. Nonetheless, of all things that could be changed, I would change the racial relations on campus. I come from a very small school---62 graduating students--- so I thought come to Duke would warrant a lot of adjusting to. However, to my suprise, I felt right at home. The size of Duke is by all means just right. Its not so big that one would feel "lost in the sauce," and its not too small that one would feel "stuck in a jar." When I tell people I go to Duke people are usually impressed. On the other hand, some are shocked by it, which is indicative of the stereotype against African-American inner-city students. In regards to my time spent on campus, I would have to say that it is a tie between "K-Ville" and my dorm common room. As most of you may know, for Duke students to get into the Duke vs. UNC game inside Cameron, we have to tent for either 1 or 2 months depending the season. So, during the basketball season most of my time is spent in line for games. When im not in line, I am in my dorm common room playing, joking, and doing homework with all of my friends. The common room is definitely one of the best places to get to know the people in your dorm on a personal level. "What college town?!" I come from a city that is right across from Philadelphia, where I spend a lot of time when I am home. Because I am used to the big city feel, Durham, to me, is nothing to write home about. The best college related aspect of Durham I would say is 9th st., where many students go to party and eat. In concerns with campus drama and controversy, one would be remissed by not mentioning JuicyCampus.com. This site has come by storm onto our campus and remains as the primary regulator of drama and all that is controversy. Anything that is crazy or mildly dramatic will be on juicycampus. Some feel its a bad thing and others feel its entertaing. I believe it depends on the type of person you are. When on campus you can choose whether or not to indulge in the campus drama or not. School pride??!!! Of course there is school pride! I find beyond that fact that our school has a legacy of successful sport programs to be proud of, we are a group of students who have tons of pride just because we love Duke!

steffi

Duke is a very interesting place. The resources are unparalled. There are few, if any, univeristies in the country that can comptete with the resources available at duke. Anything you want to do, you can do, and there are dozens of people and departments set up to help you do them. However, it is not that easy. You need to be a very strong person to survive at Duke. It is not a place for timid, underachievers. when you tell someone you go to duke, the immediate response is "you must love it." and it is very hard to tell someone whether it be a friend from home, or a family member, that you dont. Duke is not for everyone. And popular to contrary belief everyone does not love it. Often it seems like everyone is happy and loves that academics, loves the social scenes, loves everything about it, that is simply not the case. tons and tons of people are unhappy at Duke, and the biggest problem i find, that there is no room or time for unhappiness and little ability to change that.

Luke

If you tell someone you go to Duke, you're still going to put up with the comments like, "don't join the lacrosse team." I don't let that get to me though, because what I realized is that if that's the only thing all of those people can see about Duke, then they're really short sighted.

Kelly

Duke is an amazing place that manages to offer both top academics and incredible school spirit. One thing I've notice about Duke in comparison to other schools is the amount of pride we take in our school. People often reference the "Duke Bubble." Students don't really leave campus unless there going to UNC to hang out on Franklin Street, which creates the Duke Bubble within Durham. Sometime I wish Duke had a college town, but I sort of like the isolation. I think i brings students closer and its actually really relaxing coming back to Duke from the city.

David

Duke is a very prestigious academic setting and everyone involved in the school knows that and lets you know that. It can feel snooty at times. The average student, I think, doesn't know how to relax very well other than get stupid drunk. The town of Durham could not be further from a college town. First and foremost, Durhamites dislike the Duke students, as do the Durham Police, which sometimes makes for unpleasant encounters. The administration, for good or for bad, seems to be trying to dispel the 'upper class white kid' stereotype, and as a result is somewhat colder to those students, on average, than the other 'multicultural' ones. In general, however, it is hard to clump anyone associated with the school in the same group, as it is a diverse, and fairly large school.

Carson

I love how at Duke you can get a combination of an amazing acedemic reputation and awesome sports teams to watch. The classes are extremely challenging and you might potentially never have any free time, but we students always find a way to have a good social life along with lots of work! I love the school spirit around all the different sports games and the basketball season had to have been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Everyone at Duke loves it so much and it makes me so proud to be there. As for the whole lacrosse scandal just forget about it, it is not as big of a deal at all and unfortunately it was just blown out of proportion. Durham is not a very good college town but there is enough at Duke to keep you happy.

Bria

When people hear that I go to Duke, they tell me not to go to any lacrosse parties. I did go, and it wasn't that fun, so I realized that there was a lot of BS regarding the lacrosse scandal. Basically I love Duke and everything about it. The academics are difficult but pretty interesting, the social life is adequate for someone like me who wants to study until Thursday afternoon and then go out and have fun all weekend, and the people are very great. Honestly, I didn't really have a bad experience at Duke this year, except maybe at Student Health cause it is not very adequate for student's needs.

KJ

Duke has strong academics accompanied by one of the best athletics programs in the country. Duke's achieving students and monumental research has made it one of the top universities in the world. The students here are all extremely talented. They can study and do well in school while still finding time for extracurriculars and fun activities on the weekends. The school is relatively small with less than 7,000 students, but it's a good size for me. The campus is split up into three main campuses, and it's somewhat inconvenient to navigate because you have to take a bus between campuses. But the campus itself is extremely beautiful. Students at Duke love it. Every student is proud to be a Blue Devil. We have a strong athletic program that allows us to proudly hold our heads up high as the "Cameron Crazies." We love the campus, the people, and the school.

Christine

Duke is really a 24/7 lifestyle. Almost everyone I know goes all out, all the time, whether it be in academics, extracurriculars, socially... The library is busy til 2 a.m. the first half of the semester, 4 a.m. the second half of the semester, and 6 a.m. finals week. But the large quad parties are also rediculously filled, and I'm sure rival parties anywhere else. People don't just raise money for charities abroad- they go all the way and go to to Africa for a summer, or south America for a semester. The sky really does seem to be the limit here. It is a really exhausting lifestyle, but has such potential for fullfilment.

Jeff

Small private feel... good for knowing people, bad for branching out socially. The freshman campus (East Campus) is boring and everything goes on on West Campus. Academics are pretty tough -which is good because you're paying out your ass to be there. I guess you're paying to have the Duke degree. Off campus is scary. Durham seems very sketchy and a Duke grad student was shot and killed in his apartment by a local with no connection to the victim. Stay on campus or leave only with friends. Students get robbed a lot. No one seems to care -it's all very hush hush.

Matt

Duke athletics in many ways make Duke the amazing school that it is. The classes are demanding, the students driven, and the campus beautiful, but none of it would be quite as amazing without Duke sports. If you fancy yourself a sports fan, you will never experience anything quite like a Duke-UNC basketball game- it's an experience you just can't afford to miss.

Charli

Duke has a good mix of academics and other. There are plenty of clubs to join, intramural sports to partake in, team sports to cheer for, parties to go to, fraternities and sororities to join, and just plain old groups of friends to hang out with. A lot of times people look at it as just an academic school, but the students that go there are in no way different from average teenagers and young adults. While they get their studying done (most of the time), they also like to have FUN.

Drew

I love Duke. The school size is a great median, between the large school with the giant parties and huge classes and the tiny liberal arts college where you know everyone. I still meet new people everywhere I go, yet can always run into my friends at parties. The social scene is solid, but is still recovering from the lacrosse incident. It still beats the social scene at other top colleges I was accepted into though. People are generally impressed with the fact I go to Duke, although snooty Ivy league kids still look down on me, although MANY kids at Duke turned down the very schools they are at. Chapel Hill is very close if you are looking for a college town, just a 20 minute bus ride away. In general, people love Duke. We still tent for basketball games and are probably the craziest fans in the country. I will always remember the Duke UNC games. Win or lose, the rivalry is so amazing to follow. Complaints of the social scene are probably most common, as the lacrosse incident definitely did give a shock to the administration and caused them to change policy towards off-campus parties. The administration is generally progressive, but it seems as though they do not care much about the students individually.

Matt

I also love that all freshman live together on East Campus. It's just really calming and a great way to meet people. Plus housing in general is really good. My room is 14 by 16 and it's a single!!!! Oh and did I mention that this place is GORRRRRGEOUS? Seriously, Duke Chapel is like, the best thing EVERRR! ahaha! Oh and I LOOOOVE the weather! There was one day all year when the high was below 40, and fewer than 10 when the high was below 50. It's sunny almost all the time. It just really makes it easier to be happy. Things I don't like so much: Durham isn't very nice. Chapel Hill is, but it's a 20-30 minute bus ride away. While you can stay on campus and be perfectly happy, and while many freshmen have cars (which makes it easier to get to), it is still a little upsetting that Durham isn't New York City (but it's better than Hannover, NH! Lol) The Frats. I can definitely avoid them, but, as a Christian, it just really makes me sad because so many guys just...lose themselves in the frats. They're not obnoxious, I don't think. They're very inclusive (all parties are open to everyone, for example, which isn't the case at all colleges,) but it's just...a lot of drinking. Sororities are actually pretty cool because they don't live together, and they don't really drink together. It basically just becomes about friendship and having semi-formal parties! But the frats... I wish we had residential colleges. While I bonded very well with my frosh dorm, as an upperclassmen, it's harder to make friends in your dorm. I don't know if Dartmouth/Georgetown have residential colleges, but Duke doesn't. It would be sweet to be with the same people all 4 years. Hmm...I've tried to be as open and honest as possible. I hope I've been helpful. I really really LOVE this place and love what God has been able to do to me here. I had a pretty hard time at Milton, especially being a Christian. Coming to Duke was just such a relief. It has felt so much more open, fair, welcoming and real to me. It has truly been a breath of fresh air, and I hope you get to experience it as I have, but I know that God will do great things with you no matter where you go. :-)

Brad

I like the fact that my school is big because you can sort of be unnoticed if you want to. As a black student I feel more invisible here at Duke. However, as a Black student, the school doesn't seem that big because most of the Black population tries to get to know each other. I had no expectations about Duke before I came here. I chose to come to Duke because it was far away from my overprotective parents. Students and "Durhamites" do not interact at all. There is such a communication barrier between the locals and the students. However, at my work study I work with a lot of housekeepers who are from the area and so I get to know and interact with them. There is a lot of school spirit when it comes to the men's basketball season, especially when we play UNC. School spirit is lacking for all other sports, especially women's basketball. Students are affected a lot by Duke's prestige. I know that the guys that I talk to at other schools think that all Duke girls are "stuck-up and rich". The most difficult thing about being a first-yr student is trying to fit in, and if you are a student from a big city it is hard to get used to the slow, depressing nightlife here.

KJ

Duke is a confusing place partially because of its size. With an undergrad population of about 6,000, there are enough people with which to constantly be making new friends, but there are few enough people for rumors to be spread and communities to be formed. You make Duke what you want it to be. I hang out with the backpacking Project Wild crew, and the crazy improvisors of Duke University Improv (DUI). However, you could also choose to be a part of the sorority scene, the constant frat party scene, the Engineering dork scene... of course, I am making vast generalizations here, but the basic idea is true. Duke also forms a great community in the winter and spring during tenting session for Duke basketball. Who wouldn't bond with fellow tenters, while spooning in sleeping bags for three months, waiting for the lone goal of cheering on our men's basketball team?

Will

No one really LOVES Duke. They might say so in a crowd of Dukies, but in private conversation, I doubt many will say they absolutely love their school. Most students realize how limiting the social scene is, but instead of trying to reformulate it, they intoxicate themselves just enough to make it bearable, capable of pretending that it's awesome. Dukies have an inferiority complex. It's a great school academically, but it's not an Ivy League. There's also a weird dynamic intellectually, in that for some students Duke is a "reach school." For others, it's practically a "safety school." Duke's admit rate is pretty high given its academic standing in the rankings, which I think is problematic and leads to a huge disparity of intellectual ability and interest.

Nate

The best thing about Duke is that its big enough for everyone to find their niche. It's still a really really competitive, top-tier school, but for the most part, I feel that everyone can be happy here. It was also a nice surprise to learn that there is a decent social life/atmosphere here; that was unexpected and not typical in most top-10 schools.

Travis

A fun school to go to where people work hard and play hard, good sports environment as well

Jake

The best thing about Duke is the people. I have met some of the greatest people I have ever met and suspect I ever will meet. I came here for academics, the beautiful campus and weather, the size, and the basketball. There isn't one thing I would change about those things (except maybe a national championship). I think people love the school, and this is not a forced love but a genuine pride in wearing duke blue. I wish there was more of a college town available on some days so that i didn't always feel like i was going to the same places. However, over my 4 years we are slowly getting one. I do believe that something like a chapel hill might alter the overall character of the school, which i dont want.

jordan

having a small school is great because you more frequently encounter your friends

Alex

Duke is an interesting experience. Its not really the real world. It is an environment of excess. Binge drinking, binge studying, binge everything. I really need to take a semester away from Duke. I love it, but I need to get away.

danny

Everyone is too motivated and doesn't know how to chill. I never knew it was so important to save the world by age 22.

Kelly

Need to unite duke.

Bud

Durham is not a college town. I wish there were more efforts by the city and the school to integrate the community with Duke.

Parker

school is too small, need about 10,000 undergrads. The frat scene makes the social scene a lot smaller, everyone knows everyone else. not at all a college town, and chapel hill is close but not many people actually go. there are only a few bars and clubs that people go to all the time. the administration doenst have the students as first priority, this is the problem with a research university. the student government also doesnt do anything. "tenting" for basketball games is one of the dumbest things at the school...some tent for the experience, not love of the game. parking blows. apart from that great school.

Eric

Duke is an amazing place, because the school provides you with everything you need, and anything you might possibly want. The opportunities to get involved in whatever you are interested in, in the way you want to be involved, be it student government, independent research with a professor, or special engineering competitions, you can do it at Duke.

Parker

Duke is a sweet place, I would change the drinking age because it lends to hypocritical policies.

Gene

People care about asking about the big picture.

Harper

It's pretty good overall. Durham is really disappointing and the administration is terrible at making students' lives better, but the people are fun and that is enough to balance out almost all of the other issues with Duke.

John

The biggest recent controversy? That's pretty easy. LAX scandal two years ago. Not only were the players completely railroaded by Nifong, but they were tried and convicted in the court of public opinion long before any facts came to light. The case was so explosive because it raised all the issues no one wants to talk about here: sexual assault, athletes getting preferential treatment, race relations, Duke-Durham inequalities. I think it was wrong for the team to be assumed guilty simply because it fit an explosive narrative that pisses people off and attracts the media. I will say though, the coach and team can learn an important lesson from it - no one would have reacted the same way if it were the football or basketball team because they don't have reputations of being assholes. While everything that happened to the LAX team was wrong all social groups and sports teams should learn from this to not put yourself in such a position and not put yourself in a social position where people might even consider you would do such a thing. Mike Nifong should be beaten.

Chris

The best part of Duke is the people. I've met so many great guys and girls that I know I'll stay friends with for a long time. I also see them everywhere I go because the school is smaller. Every bus ride or party I go to I have someone to talk to and hang out with. I have friends at state universities that never know anyone in class or on the bus. The second thing is Duke basketball which is a ridiculous experience you can't get anywhere but Duke.

Tate

good size, campus is great as underclassmen, lots of athletic events, shows, talks, concerts to go to

Nick

lots of school spirit, good sports, lots of rich kids, social life gets monotonous after a while

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