Duke University Visit Report by Amwidkle

Visit to Duke University in March 2007 by Amwidkle
(Student, HS Class of 2008)
(Member since October 30 2020 with ? posts)

Visit Activities:

Admissions Interview: No - No interviews are conducted on campus.

Information Session: Yes - Extremely informative - see Visit Description for details.

Campus Tour: Yes - Lively, social student guide - said "Hi" to at least 3 students throughout the tour. Answered truthfully and knowledgeably any questions that came up. Hit most of the campus without being to

Classroom Visit: Yes - Visited an Intro to Econ class in a lecture hall - prof was boring (was a review for midterms) and the ~150 students were busy talking to each other. Intro to Astronomy was ~35 students and engaging.


Friendliness/Courtesy of Students:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
A student behind me in the Astronomy class asked if I was a visitor. He recommended Duke but had reservations about recommending the class! The students all seemed happy with whatever they were doing.

Friendliness/Courtesy of Staff:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
While walking behind the science buildings, a teacher asked if we were finding our way okay. He might have been more concerned about us poking our noses where we shouldn't have been, though!

Appearance of Campus:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
A true "Gothic wonderland" - everything was Gothic (even the parking garages!) on the main part of West campus, except of course the students themselves! Campus was modeled after Princeton.

Building/Facilities Maintenance/Cleanliness:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Remarkably well-maintained, except for some roads around campus (which isn't really Duke's fault). I didn't see any litter lying around, and we stomped all over.

4 - Very Good
4 - Very Good
Tour guide showed us her room - it was on the small side, but her first pick (dorms are assigned via a lottery system, and she got 17th draw). However, only 3/~17 freshman dorms are air-conditioned!

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Felt extremely safe - most of the Duke campus is separated from Durham (which seemed pretty benign) and surrounded by forest. Safety poles arround campus allowed for quick response just in case.

Overall Campus Impression:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
By far the most beautiful campus I've visited. The chapel is visible anywhere on campus, and is even more magnificent on the inside than the outside (which is more than one can say for the dorms!


Area Immediately Around Campus:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Durham is close enough to provide stuff to do without smothering the campus like some other cities do to their colleges.

4 - Very Good
4 - Very Good
Can't say too well because we didn't really visit Durham proper. It is a mid-sized city that might have some rough parts, but they weren't anywhere near campus.

Campus Visit Notes for Duke University

Visit Description:

Admissions officer was very knowledgeable, covering the new B&MG Foundation-sponsored ENGAGE scholars program (whereby Duke students are granted scholarships for any kind of service project anywhere in the world).

Notable statistics (i.e. the ones I remember as I type this):
Mid-50% range of ACT scores: 30-34
Average number of AP's from admitted students: roughly 6
Percentage of students that study abroad: 40%
Percentage of undergraduates from NC: 15%

The University Inn looked like a dive on the outside, but on the inside the rooms were quite spacious. However, this was more of a hotel that served the massive hospital complex. I recommend trying to find lodging on the south side of West Campus, which is closer to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens are gorgeous! We visited around sunset and saw many runners, locals, and even a meditator taking advantage of the beautiful day. I'm only surprised we didn't see more people there!

But I couldn't find the famous Lemur Center.

Hotel/Lodging Recommendations or Comments:

We stayed at The University Inn, which is just off-campus. However, we had to navigate through the hospital district to reach the info session on the other side of campus on time!

Dining/Restaurant Recommendations or Comments:

Numerous cafes and coffee shops are dotted throughout campus - any of them would be just fine for a snack. Many eateries are off-campus just like at any other college town.

Other Comments (Transportation, local attractions, parking, etc.):

Buses run regularly from the center of West Campus (where most buildings are) to East Campus (where all freshmen live). The tour guide said that bicycles aren't necessary and cars are just a hass