Academics.... ranked 8 in the country
The best thing at Duke is its caliber of students and faculty, and the reputation it enjoys around the world.
I love the faculty! Duke's faculty is unrivaled by any other. Most professors have either taught or learned at universities such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, etc. The research on campus is easy to get involved with, and all the faculty are willing to help you with whatever project if you just ask.
One of the rarer features of Duke's campus (though I don't know if it's "unique") is its amazing free shuttle system. Duke is split into three campuses, East, West and Central, and travel between the three is often necessary for classes and events. To make the lives of its students incredibly easier, Duke provides free shuttle buses between all of the campuses regularly during the day and late evening. Buses come every 3 to 10 minutes so you'll never be late to class.
One of my favorite things about Duke was the architecture and the gardens. It sounds silly, but I felt like I was living in a castle on West campus. The Chapel was absolutely breathtaking. The gardens were tranquil and lovely, and I spent most of my time there in the spring months. Being in such a beautiful place definitely helped me keep a hold on my sense of peace and sanity.
Duke is unique in SO many ways. Not only is it unique in its BEAUTIFUL architecture, it also has east campus - a campus where only freshman live. This is so great, because it fosters incredible community freshman year. The new housing model is going to change things so that sophomores and juniors will live interspersed between west and central, but this model is still in development so it's hard to say what's going to happen with Duke housing. Still, living on campus is an amazing experience. The campus is teeming with life. Duke is a big fan of the "work hard, play hard" mentality, and the students are often out and about on the campus doing fun things. This is especially prevalent on east, where the quads become an amazing place to socialize.
The best thing about my school is the boys and the academic advising. The girls are far too superficial and fake. The boys are motivated and fun.
There is a cohesive here. Some call it school spirit. I'm not sure what it is. There is certainly a pride in Duke University that you feel both on campus and abroad.
Amount of opportunities provided for career exploration duing and after school.
The balance between academic excellence and social enjoyment. You are able to be committed to your schoolwork and still maintain a social life without feeling like you are the only one doing work and not going out. There is also a devotion to athletics which you do not get from many other schools of the same academic caliber.
That most people are dynamic, thinking/thoughtful, and have ideas and aspirations and are eager in some area of their life to grow and succeed.
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