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.