Durham, NC
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1054 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 College Sophomore

Academics: Public Policy – The work load is intense. You may have been top of your class in college, but you won't be here. Do not come to this college just because your family wants you to go to a top ten school. You will end up really unhappy.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: Gothic Wonderland and Blue Devil Pride – Our Gothic Wonderland (gorgeous, green West Campus) combined with borderline fanatical school spirit and Duke pride does make for quite a special experience. Though I'm don't know how it is for pre-meds or engineers, I've found that Duke is not a cutthroat place at all academically - students generally are very cooperative and supportive of one another.

3 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Not Many Relationships – The dominant style for guys on campus is pretty fratty - think lots of lax pinnies, and often corresponding attitudes to go with them. Both guys and girls here generally fall into 2 categories - ones who care about their appearance and put effort into looking perfect, or nerdy ones who wouldn't know good clothes if they hit them in the face or are too busy studying to care about their looks.
Dating isn't really a thing at Duke; hooking up (especially while drunk) is the norm. This is especially true in the Greek scene, from what I'm told by Greeks.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Cool Things Going on, but You Have to Look Hard – Sadly, not very many Duke students spend time exploring the weird and wonderful things that are going on in Bull City. However, it can seem boring unless you know where to look (the Independent and Carpe Durham are good starting places to find cool events). However, it can be difficult to get around without a car.
As a Durham native myself, it's always funny to hear other undergrads talking about how dangerous/ghetto/scary Durham is - don't let its reputation among Duke students scare you away from exploring the city!

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Nightlife: Frat Sections and Shooters – Nightlife at Duke is for everyone. If you aren't at a section party on a friday night, or at Shooters saturday night you're really missing out. Also, if you're not in a white sorority or frat, you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to mingle with a lot of different people.

4 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Three Campuses: One University. Duke is divided into three campuses. You live on East Campus in with a community of freshman. You have your own library, cafeteria, gym and more. It's a great place to begin your college experience. West Campus is primarily for sophomores but there are juniors and seniors who do live on the campus. It's great living on West Campus because everything is accessible: classes, food options, library. Then there's Central Campus, which is the worst. Central is comprised of one, two and four person apartments. It's isolated from the rest of campus, the buses are always late and the apartment facilities are subpar.

5 College Junior

Academics: English Major – Being an English Major at Duke University has to be one of the greatest experiences during my Duke Career. The faculty are reknowned, very approachable and available. The course material we cover allows for critical thinking, engagement with the material and awesome class discussions. I never intended to be an English major, but the department's classes were always the most interesting and fulfilling courses. Without a doubt, I love being an English major.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Transportation: Duke students undoubtedly boost the surrounding economy of Durham, North Carolina. However, many students do not have cars at Duke, so better transportation needs to be provided for students enjoy all that Durham has to offer.

4 College Junior

Academics: Work Hard, Play Hard – Many students come to Duke University with basketball in mind, but they realize they have to balance their priorities if they want to stay enrolled. The unofficial motto at Duke is "work hard, play hard." Students are extremely devoted to their studies during the week, but know how to unwind after a particularly grueling exam. This rare balance makes Duke a unique and enjoyable university to attend.

2 College Junior

Parking: Freshman year is the best as far as parking goes. However on main campus, parking is horrible. The parking lot for majority of students is a good walk away from main classes.

3 College Junior

Drug Safety: Drug Life – I have heard little if anything about drugs at Duke. On a rare occasion I'll hear talk of people smoking weed. However, drinking is big on campus, especially near the end of the week when students are preparing to party. I don't think there's any peer pressure with any type of drugs. I feel like the majority of students at Duke respect each other's choices, whether that choice is to drink and smoke or not to do those things.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: Biology Major – It's very difficult being a biology major at Duke. Because many students who choose this major are pre- med with the intention of going to medical school, many of the courses are run accordingly. I feel that they try to weed out students who may think they want to go into the medical field, but are not equipped to deal with the necessary future schooling. I think that those of us who are biology majors but do not intend to go into the medical field are put into classes that are unnecessarily difficult.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Althouth you're required to live on campus for 3 yrs there's plenty of off campus apartments that are close by

4 College Junior

Academics: Very Dedicated – Duke is very dedicated to helping you get the most out of a college educations and the resources available to students are amazing! The biology program is definitely one of the best that I've seen and the professors that you work with truly love what they're doing

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Off campus dining is fairly convenient as there are many restaurants or fast food locations with 2 miles of the campus. Prices range from very cheap to moderately expensive but the type of food is appropriate for its given price.

4 College Junior

Campus Dining: The freshmen dining plan is subpar but is part of the first-year life on campus. They have their own campus as well as their own dining hall. Upper classmen have a much better dining plan and are designated food points as food dollars. These food points can be utilized anywhere on campus at a variety of different venues. It's sometimes hard to manage these points as they can be spent quickly, however its overall a successful and enjoyable program.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Academics: The Economics department at Duke is an extremely rigorous curriculum. There are multiple mathematics and statistics courses required in order to complete the major itself. A lot of the lower level courses are made as "weed-out" classes and give extremely difficult exams to dilute the amount of students in the major. Very tough to obtain A's in classes unless you put in tons of hours per week.

4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Not Strict – The only recent crackdown has been on tailgate. Sometimes RAs on East Campus are strict about it being a dry campus. Other than that, Duke is not very strict with visitors, drinking, parties, etc.

4 College Freshman

Computers: Eprint Is the Best – Duke offers plently of computers, scanners, and printers. There are easy to access and don't cost extra. The only thing that costs extra is color printing and copying, which can be frustrating at times. A laptop is almost a necessity, especially for engineers. Some students have their own printers, but this is not necessary at all.

3 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Durham Is Not Safe – Duke is safe and I have never felt unsafe while at Duke, however, Durham is a city with a lot of crime and incidents have occured frequently near campus. Incidents include muggings, shootings, and burglaries.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: Not Enough Aid – Duke does not offer any merit scholarships. They give limited financial aid and almost every student is given work-study as a part of their package, which can be very ahrd to manage with the academic demands of Duke.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: Basketball...Enough Said – Sports are a huge part of Duke. Students wait for days in tents to get basketball tickets. Tailgate before football games was a huge social aspect. Lacrosse is another huge favorite, both for boys and girls teams.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Wilson Gym on West Campus has tons of equipment and space. The libraries on West are spacious, comfortable, and great for studying and writing papers. Brodie Gym on East Campus is a bit small, but otherwise very user-friendly. Lilly Library on East Campus is a bit dreary and hard to work in. Both campuses have great buildings, layouts, and are gorgeous.

3 College Freshman

Weather: There are four seasons. It is cold in the winter but then gets nice in the spring. Monsoon season is pretty annoying because you can get caught in a shower at any time in the spring, but the rain usually goes away pretty quickly.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: The Bryan Center is the student center; it houses a cafe, several restaurants, the lobby shop where you can purchase food/other items without having to go to a grocery store, the university textbook store, the on-campus bookstore, the computer store, a movie theater, an auditorium, and other rooms where organizations can meet such as Greek life. Cameron stadium is the basketball court, which is near Wilson Gym, a gym that offers everything a student needs to stay fit and healthy. Perkins Library is where most students spend their evenings and offers four floors of areas to study. It is also connected to Bostock Library, another popular place to study.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Duke students are generally very happy with their experience, but it’s not impossible to find students who imagine they’d be happier somewhere else. Great academics, a vibrant social life, and the beauty of campus make this school an easy choice for many. However, a lot of students are peeved by the top-down social programming they see coming from Duke’s administration to counter the fraternity- and sorority-dominated student programming. Students and the administration are still trying to find the right balance of power and a unified direction, but the friendships students have forged with peers and professors easily make up for whatever shortcomings they might perceive.

Duke is one of the top academic schools in the country, but that’s not its only hook. You’ll never see Harvard’s basketball team in the Final Four, or Yale students camping out for weeks to get sports tickets. Obviously, basketball shouldn’t be your major concern in choosing a college, but it is often used as an example because it typifies the difference between Duke and so many other top universities. There’s an emphasis on friends and fun here, and it’s important to consider these aspects as well as academics when you’re choosing a school. Remember, you’re choosing the place you’ll spend the next four years of your life, not just the name that shows up on your degree at the end.

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