Long Should Duke Engineering Essay

While optional, we at CollegeVine highly recommend that you respond to this prompt. At first glance, the prompt can seem complex and intimidating, but it ultimately boils down to one question: What is your personal perspective and experience?


Before writing, let’s take a look at recent developments at Duke. Newly-minted president Vince Price has made it the institution’s initiative to foster a diversity of views and knowledge within its student body. Diversity is not relegated solely to student body demographics or race; it is characterized by the variety of thoughts, opinions, and perspectives embodied by individuals. Duke wants to better understand how your background, ideas, etc., will contribute to its increasingly diverse community.


Duke’s most recent book selections for its first-year student summer reading program reflect what the institution values about diversity. These texts encompass a range of divergent authorial experiences and often spur readers to think more critically about how backgrounds shape and mold individuals’ perspectives. Consider reading or researching Duke’s past selected texts to gain a better understanding of how you can share your own experiences.


The following have been Duke’s selected texts:


  • “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel
  • “Just Mercy” by  Bryan Stevenson
  • “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” by Richard Blanco


As an exercise for brainstorming, try sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and writing detailed, specific answers to these following questions:


  • What is definitive about my background? Family? Community? Friends?
  • What life experiences have been important in my development?
  • What do I care about? What do I want to change about the world?
  • What “steps” in my journey have brought me to where I am today?


When you’re finished with this exercise, ask yourself if the responses encapsulate your identity or whether you’re missing any important details. You can also talk to friends and family who, in some capacities, might know you better than you know yourself.

Transfer Students

We welcome your interest in transferring to Duke.  Every fall, approximately 30 students transfer into either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering.  Most will enroll as sophomores, although the selection committee will also admit a small number of juniors.  

While transfer students are new to the Duke community, they bring with them the same characteristics of talent and engagement as the rest of their undergraduate peers.  Transfer students add a tremendous amount to campus life – all while pursuing their unique, intellectual interests at one of America’s leading universities.   


Please consult the following guidelines to determine your eligibility to transfer to Duke:

• If you have attended any college or university in the past four years and will have successfully completed at least one full year of transferrable college work by the August in which you hope to enroll, you qualify to apply to Duke as a transfer applicant.
• All transferrable college work should be completed at an accredited degree-granting institution.  College work completed at a vocational, technical, performance, or professional program will not be considered.
• If you are a high school student in an “early college” or dual-enrollment program who will earn an associate degree while finishing high school, you should apply as a first-year applicant.
• If you have already completed an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree at a four-year college, you cannot be considered for transfer admission.
• Unfortunately, you may not apply for transfer to Duke as a part-time student.  Instead, we encourage you to contact Duke Continuing Studies for information on taking courses on a non-degree basis.  
• The admissions committee seeks applicants who can provide evidence of academic preparation within the past four years.  If you have not recently attended high school or college, we strongly encourage you to do so prior to applying for transfer, either through Duke Continuing Studies or an accredited degree-granting institution in your local area.


Duke offers military veterans a high level of support as they transition to our campus community. For more information about the resources available to veterans, please visit the following resources: 

• Office of the University Registrar 
• Student Affairs


Duke offers a multitude of opportunities to its undergraduates.  We’re looking for students ready to respond to those opportunities intelligently, creatively and enthusiastically.  We like ambition and curiosity, talent and persistence, energy and humanity.

When we read an application and then discuss an application in our Admissions Committee, we consider both the academic and the personal qualities of each student. We think about what a student has accomplished within the context of the opportunities and challenges he or she has faced. And we seek those students who will bring a variety of experiences, backgrounds, interests and opinions to the campus. We especially appreciate students who love thinking hard about things and who like to make a difference in the world.  Our admissions process is guided by our assessment of six primary factors:

• The rigor of a candidate’s academic program
• Academic performance as measured by grades in academic courses
• Letters of recommendation
• Extracurricular activities
• The quality of thought and expression in the application essay
• Standardized test scores (Transfer applicants must submit scores from either the SAT or ACT, without exception.) 

Transfer admission to Duke is highly selective, with the admission rate ranging from 3% to 7% over the past five years.  Transfer applicants are expected to have demonstrated a high level of academic talent, both at their current higher education institution and in high school.  The most successful applicants will have a minimum college GPA of 3.7 in a challenging academic program.  Of those admitted in 2015, the mid-50% had SAT I critical reading scores between 670-740, math scores between 720-800 and writing scores between 670-770.    

Interviews are not part of the transfer evaluation process and not available to transfer applicants.

Required Materials and Deadlines

Your application must be submitted electronically through either the Common Application or Coalition Application. Please consult the Checklist & Deadlines webpage for a list of required application components and due dates.

If you intend to apply through the Common Application, please visit their website for instructions on where to find the College Report/Mid Year Report/Final Report in your transfer account. 

If your current college/university does not allow the submission of recommendation forms through the Common Application portal, you can find Duke-specific PDF versions of the recommendation forms below. These forms should be either mailed or faxed to our office.
College Instructor Recommendation
Registrar or College/University Report

Optional Arts Supplement

If you have exceptional talent in dance, theater, art, music, photography or film/video/digital media, you may submit supplementary material to be evaluated by an appropriate faculty member.  You may begin to submit artistic materials on February 15.  All submissions are due by March 20.  Please click here for more detailed instructions.

Transfer of Credit

• Duke will grant credit for no more than two years of coursework completed elsewhere, regardless of the number of credits a student has previously earned.  In order to earn a Duke degree, a transfer student must spend at least two years at Duke. 
• We do not offer a preliminary credit evaluation to applicants prior to the release of admissions decisions.  Instead, credit evaluations are completed upon matriculation by an academic dean.  Please see the Duke University Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on how transfer credits are evaluated.
• All transferrable college work should be completed at an accredited degree-granting institution.  College work completed at a vocational, technical, performance, or professional program will not be considered.
• We do not accept credits for courses that have been taken online. 

Financial Aid

Duke University views its financial aid program as an investment in students and their futures. We seek a diverse student body and are committed to ensuring aided students can take full advantage of the Duke experience. To that end, Duke admits transfer applicants who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents without regard to financial circumstance or aid eligibility and meets 100 percent of each admitted student's demonstrated need throughout their undergraduate enrollment.  Unfortunately, need-based financial aid is not available for international transfer students.  In addition, Duke does not offer merit-based scholarships to transfer students. 

The number of semesters of aid eligibility for students transferring to Duke is based on the policy of up to nine academic semesters less the number of semesters studied elsewhere.  This also includes financial assistance for one summer term, if needed.  For detailed instructions on how to apply for financial aid, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid  website.

Transfer Student Housing

Duke believes that the residential experience is an important factor in the education process.  The Board of Trustees mandates that all undergraduates live on campus for three years.  As an extension of this practice, transfer students are required to live on campus for two years.  Exceptions to the housing requirement include:

• Transfer students who enter as juniors may request to live on campus for only one year. 
• Non-traditional transfer students (married students, military veterans, and those students older than most undergraduates) may request the housing requirement be waived entirely. 

The housing application will be available in mid-May and is due on July 1.  Visit the Housing, Dining, and Residence Life  website for more information on student housing options.

To assist with your transfer application process, we have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions.  Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions with any additional questions. 


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