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How to Write the Duke Supplemental Essays: Tips and Examples

How to Write the Duke Supplemental Essays Tips and Examples

Duke University is a highly selective institution that requires applicants to submit supplemental essays in addition to the Common Application essay. These essays provide an opportunity for applicants to showcase their personality, interests, and fit with Duke’s community. In this article, we will provide tips and examples to help you write strong Duke supplemental essays.

Understanding Duke’s Supplemental Essay Prompts

Duke requires applicants to submit one required essay and one optional essay. The required essay prompt is as follows:

“What is your sense of Duke’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community and why do you consider Duke a good match for you?”

The optional essay prompt allows applicants to choose one of the following prompts:

Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to or your family or cultural background-we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. 

Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes gender identity and sexual orientation. If you would like to share with us more about your identity, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt instead. 

Tips for Writing Duke’s Supplemental Essays

Research Duke’s values and mission statement: Before writing your essays, take the time to research Duke’s values and mission statement. This will help you understand what Duke is looking for in its applicants and how you can demonstrate your fit with the university.

Be specific and personal: Duke is looking for applicants who can demonstrate their fit with the university through specific and personal examples. Use anecdotes and examples that tie directly to what you know and value about the Duke campus community.

Show your passion: Duke is looking for applicants who are passionate about their interests and can demonstrate their commitment to their chosen field of study. Use your essays to showcase your passion and how it aligns with Duke’s academic programs.

Be authentic: Duke is looking for applicants who are authentic and genuine. Use your essays to showcase your personality and unique perspective.

Edit and proofread: Before submitting your essays, make sure to edit and proofread them carefully. Ask a friend or family member to review your essays for grammar and spelling errors.

READ ALSO: Cracking the Supplementary Essays for Princeton University

Examples of Strong Duke Supplemental Essays

To help you get started, here are some examples of strong Duke supplemental essays:

Example 1: Required Essay

“My sense of Duke’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community is grounded in the university’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a student who has always been passionate about social justice and equity, I am drawn to Duke’s commitment to creating a community that is welcoming and inclusive for all students.

One aspect of Duke’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community that particularly resonates with me is the university’s focus on creating opportunities for underrepresented students. As a first-generation college student, I understand the challenges that students from underrepresented backgrounds face when navigating the college application process. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of a community that values diversity and is committed to creating opportunities for all students to succeed.”

Example 2: Optional Essay 1

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have experienced firsthand the importance of diversity and inclusion in creating a welcoming and supportive community. I am excited about the opportunity to bring my unique perspective to Duke’s campus and contribute to the university’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community.

One experience that has shaped my perspective on diversity and inclusion was my involvement in a local LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Through this group, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals who were passionate about creating change in their community. This experience taught me the importance of listening to diverse perspectives and working collaboratively to create change.

I am excited about the opportunity to bring this perspective to Duke’s campus and contribute to the university’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive community.”

Example 3: Optional Essay 2

“As a student who is passionate about environmental sustainability, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to Duke’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. One experience that has shaped my perspective on environmental sustainability was my involvement in a local environmental advocacy group.

Through this group, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, including a community garden and a recycling program. This experience taught me the importance of taking action to create change and the power of collective action.

I am excited about the opportunity to bring this perspective to Duke’s campus and contribute to the university’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

Understanding Duke’s Admissions Process

Duke University is a highly selective institution that receives thousands of applications each year. The admissions process is holistic, meaning that Duke considers applicants within the context of their particular circumstances and the applicant pool as a whole. Academic qualifications are just one part of the admissions process, and Duke also considers factors such as extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and personal qualities.

After submitting their application, some students may be invited to participate in an alumni interview. While not required for admission, interviews provide an opportunity for the applicant to learn about Duke, and for a representative of the university to learn about the applicant’s strengths. Duke has alumni volunteers conducting interviews in forty-two countries worldwide.

Tips for Writing Duke’s Required Essay

The required essay prompt for Duke asks applicants to describe their sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why they consider it a good match for them. Here are some tips for writing a strong response to this prompt:

Research Duke’s values and mission statement: Before writing your essay, take the time to research Duke’s values and mission statement. This will help you understand what Duke is looking for in its applicants and how you can demonstrate your fit with the university.

Be specific and personal: Duke is looking for applicants who can demonstrate their fit with the university through specific and personal examples. Use anecdotes and examples that tie directly to what you know and value about the Duke campus community.

Show your passion: Duke is looking for applicants who are passionate about their interests and can demonstrate their commitment to their chosen field of study. Use your essay to showcase your passion and how it aligns with Duke’s academic programs.

Be authentic: Duke is looking for applicants who are authentic and genuine. Use your essay to showcase your personality and unique perspective.

Edit and proofread: Before submitting your essay, make sure to edit and proofread it carefully. Ask a friend or family member to review your essay for grammar and spelling errors.

Tips for Writing Duke’s Optional Essays

Duke’s optional essays allow applicants to showcase their unique perspective and experiences. Here are some tips for writing strong responses to Duke’s optional essay prompts:

Choose the prompt that best showcases your strengths: Duke’s optional essay prompts allow applicants to choose the prompt that best showcases their strengths and experiences. Choose the prompt that allows you to demonstrate your fit with Duke’s community and academic programs.

Be specific and personal: Duke is looking for applicants who can demonstrate their fit with the university through specific and personal examples. Use anecdotes and examples that tie directly to what you know and value about the Duke campus community.

Show your passion: Duke is looking for applicants who are passionate about their interests and can demonstrate their commitment to their chosen field of study. Use your essay to showcase your passion and how it aligns with Duke’s academic programs.

Be authentic: Duke is looking for applicants who are authentic and genuine. Use your essay to showcase your personality and unique perspective.

Edit and proofread: Before submitting your essay, make sure to edit and proofread it carefully. Ask a friend or family member to review your essay for grammar and spelling errors.

Writing strong Duke supplemental essays requires careful research, planning, and attention to detail. By following the tips and examples provided in this article, you can showcase your personality, interests, and fit with Duke’s community. Remember to be authentic, specific, and passionate in your essays, and to edit and proofread them carefully before submitting your application. Good luck!

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