Why Duke Trinity Essay

Please note: We don't allow threads that are off limits to other people answering questions. So while the post is excellent in allowing people to see how they compare to the OP, it still is open for anyone to answer a question such as "What does being wait listed mean?". - FC

I wanted to do this last year, but just ended up not. So anyways, here are my results (I'm a current sophomore in college) and I thought it might be fun to do a Reddit style AMA. Literally ask me anything you want, about admissions (is what I'm expecting), about college life, or whatever else you want.

Accepted: Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, NYU, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis
Waitlisted: Northwestern, University of Chicago, Yale (Deferred, then Waitlisted),
Rejected: Harvard, Stanford, Brown, University of Michigan

Chose Duke after a long and agonizing process

SAT I (breakdown): 2350 (no superstore, only took it once) (CR: 800, Writing: 780, Math: 770)
ACT (breakdown): 36 (took it twice, same results both times) (Verbal: 36 Math: 36 Sci: 36 Reading: 36 Composite: 36 Writing: 34)
SAT II: 800 Math 2, 800 Physics, 730 Literature
Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 4.0
Weighted GPA: 4.889
Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): 99th percentile
AP (place score in parenthesis): 5 Physics B, 5 APUSH, 5 Language + Comp, 5 AP Calc BC, 5 Stats, 4 Physics C Mechanics, 4 Physics C E+M
IB (place score in parenthesis): N/A
Senior Year Course Load: Pretty difficult
Major Awards (USAMO, Intel etc.): National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, 6th place BPA Nationals (Legal Office Procedures), 3rd, 4th place BPA State (Video Production Team and Legal Office Procedures, respectively), Honorable Mention Toshiba Exploravision Competition (or something like that, I don't really remember)


Extracurriculars (info in parenthesis):
Cross Country (was not recruited for any sport) 9-12 (JV Captain)
Varsity Tennis 9-12 (Team Captain, State Qualifier)
BPA 10-12 (National Finalist)
Quiz Bowl 9-12 (Team Captain and leading scorer)
Marching Band 9-12 (Section leader)
Concert Band 9-12 (Principal Saxophone player all four years, Principal for All-District two years, All State)
Tri-M (Music Honor Society) 10-12 (President, I organized and did a ton of volunteer work through this)
Classical Piano Lessons for 12 years, Saxophone for 7, Guitar for 5

Job/Work Experience: Coached Tennis for younger children
Volunteer/Community service: Volunteered at my local library, tutored math at school, organized and did music clinics at elementary schools
Summer Activities: Running, Tennis, Eat, Sleep repeat x4 summers
Essays (rating 1-10, details):
- Common App Essay 8 : I wrote the failure prompt from that year and a lot of the people I showed the essay to said it was good. I wrote about how I learned that sometimes I wouldn't succeed no matter how hard I worked, and how I learned to be okay with that, because the activity itself was enough

-Other supplemental essays: I really like talking about myself so I thought they were all pretty good. Highlights include my Yale supplement, which was about learning Parkour and how it changed the way I looked at the world, my Duke optional supplement which was about breaking the Asian stereotypes, and my NYU supplement which was structured around their admissions advertisement tagline

Teacher Rec #1: English Teacher (9) Had him sophomore year, so there was a bit of a disconnect there, but I think it was good. He was one of the best to testify about my personal growth from a smart but kind of bad kid (getting into trouble and stuff) to a better person.
Teacher Rec #2: Math Teacher (9) Again, I think it was good because my junior year math teacher saw a lot of my growth as a person, from being kind of arrogantly standoffish to a lot more willing to help my peers and collaborate.
Counselor Rec: 7 My counselor and I loved each other (not in a weird way) but I don't know if she said anything particularly interesting


Applied for Financial Aid?: Yes
Intended Major: English
State (if domestic applicant): IL
Country (if international applicant): USA
School Type: Large Public
Ethnicity: Asian (Chinese)
Gender: Male
Income Bracket: 100-110k
Hooks (URM, first generation college, etc.): None

So, like I said at the beginning, ask me anything that comes to mind, it can have nothing to do with admissions, but if a specific piece of data catches your attention with respect to admissions, then by all means.

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Supplemental Essay Tips for Duke (with good and bad examples)



Category : 本科入学申请

Tag : Duke

Short Description

Be unique and specific

The application to Duke University's Trinity College offers applicants the opportunity to write a supplemental essay that answers the following question: If you are applying to Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular at Duke that attracts you? Please limit your response to one or two paragraphs.

The question asked here is typical of many supplemental essays. Essentially, the admissions folks want to know why their school is of particular interest to you.

Such questions often generate a lot of remarkably bland essays. The example below is one example of what not to do. Read the short essay, and then read the discussion of the mistakes made by the author.

I believe the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke is an excellent match for me. I believe college should not be merely a gateway to the work force; it should educate the student in a variety of subjects and prepare him or her for the range of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in life. I have always been a curious person and enjoy reading all kinds of literature and nonfiction. In high school I excelled in history, English, AP psychology, and other liberal arts subjects. I have not yet decided on a major, but when I do, it will almost certainly be in the liberal arts, such as history or political science. I know that Trinity College is very strong in these areas. But regardless of my major, I want to receive a broad education that spans a variety of areas in the liberal arts, so that I will graduate as not only a viable job prospect, but also as a well-rounded and learned adult who can make diverse and valuable contributions to my community. I believe Duke’s Trinity College will help me grow and become that kind of person.

The sample supplemental essay for Duke is typical of what an admissions office frequently encounters. At first glance, the essay may seem just fine. The grammar and mechanics are solid, and the writer clearly wants to expand his or her education and become a well-rounded person.

But think about what the prompt is actually asking: "discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular at Duke that attracts you?"

The assignment here is not to describe why you want to go to college. The admissions office is asking you to explain why you want to go to Duke. A good response, then, must discuss specific aspects of Duke that appeal to the applicant. The sample essay fails to do so.

Think about what the student says about Duke: the school will "educate the student in a variety of subjects" and present a "range of challenges and opportunities." The applicant wants a "broad education that spans a variety of areas." The student wants to be "well-rounded" and to "grow."

These are all worthwhile goals, but they don't say anything that is unique to Duke. Any comprehensive university offers a variety of subjects and helps students to grow.

As you write your supplemental essay, take what I call the "global replace test." If you can take your essay and substitute the name of one school for another, then you have failed to address the essay prompt adequately. Here, for example, we could replace "Duke's Trinity College" with "the University of Maryland" or "Stanford" or "Ohio State." Nothing in the essay is actually about Duke.

In short, the essay is filled with vague, generic language. The author demonstrates no specific knowledge of Duke and no clear desire actually to attend Duke. The student who wrote this supplemental essay probably hurt his or her application more than helped it.


The sample below shows a solid response to the question. After reading the single paragraph essay, be sure to read the discussion of the essay.

When I visited the Duke campus last fall, I immediately felt at home. The Gothic architecture and tree-shaded walks created an atmosphere of peaceful but serious reflection. The place is at once Southern—which, as an Alabamian, is important to me—and universal as it reflects the traditions of Europe and the classical world. The Trinity College liberal arts curriculum also reflects this unique pairing of the modern South and the global past. For example, I am considering a major in history, and am very interested in the combination of geographic and thematic areas of study offered by Duke’s history program. The combinations of areas offer seeming endless areas of specialization. One interesting possibility is a focus in the geographic area of the U.S. and Canada, combined with a thematic study of Women and Gender or African Diaspora. By juxtaposing and intertwining these two foci, my understanding of the American South—and much more—would be greatly enriched. This innovative and flexible approach to both traditional and non-traditional subject matter is greatly appealing to me. I know by reputation and from a friend currently enrolled in Trinity College that the liberal arts curriculum is very challenging, but also rewarding. I believe I am more than prepared for these challenges, and that I will thrive in this climate. Duke University’s campus already feels like home; I believe that its academic opportunities will also provide a stimulating environment in which I feel I belong.

Before we look at the actual essay, think about the prompt. The admissions officers want to know if there is something "in particular at Duke" that makes the applicant want to go there. A bad essay (such as this example) never discusses features that are unique to Duke. A good essay gets specific and shows particular knowledge of the school.

The sample essay succeeds on this front. Although the essay is just a paragraph long, the author presents three specific features of Duke that make her want to attend:

• The attractive campus with its Gothic and Southern appeal

• The flexible nature of the history curriculum

• The fact that she has a friend at Duke

This last point doesn't matter much in the admissions process and the writer was correct to mention it only indirectly.

The first point has moderate importance. Many colleges have impressive Gothic architecture, so the feature isn't unique to Duke. However, the writer connects the campus to her own Southerness. She also demonstrates that she has visited the campus, something that is not true of many applicants who haphazardly apply to a long list of prestigious schools.

The second point about the history curriculum is key to this essay's success. This applicant knows what lies beneath the university's surface. She has clearly researched the curriculum. She is not applying to Duke simply because of its beauty or its reputation, but because she likes how the university approaches learning.

Admissions officers will certainly take note of the fact that this applicant has done some research and has thoughtful reasons for wanting to attend Duke.


Source: http://collegeapps.about.com/od/essays/a/sample-supplemental-essay-duke.htm


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