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6 Duke Supplemental Essays That Worked for 2022

Ryan
by Ryan ChiangUpdated Apr. 17, 2022

Getting into Duke University is difficult in 2022. But you make sure you have your best chances by writing great supplemental essays.

In this article, I've gathered 6 essays from admitted Duke students so you can get inspired.

What is Duke University's Acceptance Rate?

Duke University has highly competitive admissions, and this past year over 45,000 students applied to Duke. Duke had an overall acceptance rate of 4.8%.

Duke University Acceptance Scattergram

If Duke is your top choice school, then consider applying Early Decision. For the Class of 2026, the acceptance rate for ED admissions was 21.3%!

Regardless of if you apply regular or early, admissions to Duke is competitive. But that only means writing stellar essays matters even more.

What are the Duke University Supplemental Prompts for 2022-23?

This year Duke asks applicants to write one required essay of 200 words and two optional essays of 250 words each.

Here are the 2022-23 Duke writing supplement prompts:

  1. Please share with us why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular about Duke’s academic or other offerings that attracts you? (200 word limit)

We want to emphasize that the following questions are optional. Feel free to answer them if you feel that doing so will add something meaningful that is not already expressed elsewhere in your application. If you have already addressed either or both of these questions in your application, please don’t worry about leaving them blank. We appreciate how much time it takes to fill out this and your other college applications.

  1. 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 that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 word limit)

Duke University Nondiscrimination Statement

  1. Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about your identity in these areas, you can do so here or, if you feel you have adequately represented your gender and sexual orientation in other parts of your application, feel free to not respond to this prompt. (250 words maximum)

If you're serious about getting into Duke, you should definitely answer the second optional prompt.

Because everybody has a unique background, and this prompt is another opportunity to show admissions officers why you deserve admission.

6 Duke University Essays That Worked

Here are 6 of the best Duke essays that worked that respond to the writing supplement.

I've also included an example of a Common App personal statement essay from an admitted Duke student.

Let's get started and inspired writing great admissions essays like these.

#1. Duke University Supplement Example
Supplemental Essay

Prompt: 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 that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words max)

The pitter patter of droplets, the sweet smell that permeates throughout the air, the dark grey clouds that fill the sky, shielding me from the otherwise intense gaze of the sun, create a landscape unparalleled by any natural beauty. I have gazed upon the towering cliffs of Yosemite, stood next to Niagara falls as the water roars, succumbing to the power of gravity, and seen the beaches of Mexico basked in moonlight, yet none of these wonders compares to the simple beauty of an Arizona rainstorm. To me, our rain represents more than humidity and darkness; its rarity gives it beauty. The uncertainty of when the next day of rain will come compels me to slow down, and enjoy the moment.

Out of the three realms of time; past, present, and future, the present is the only one we can experience, and I take advantage of every moment I have. When I pause my running to enjoy a sunset that dazzles the sky with brilliant colors of purple and orange, when I touch my brush to a canvas and focus on my movements in the present, when I drive home after a long day of improving our robot, and decide to drive around my neighborhood to finish “Garota de Ipanema”, which just popped up from my playlist of 700 songs, I am taking advantage of the moment.

So next time it rains, step outside. Close your eyes. Hear the symphony of millions of water droplets. And enjoy the moment.

(249 / 250 words)

#2. Duke University Supplement Example
Supplemental Essay

Prompt: We seek a diverse student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. In that context, we are interested in what you’d like to share about your lived experiences and how they’ve influenced how you think of yourself. (250 words max)

Ever since I can remember, the comforting lullabies my mother sang to me planted a deep seed in my mind. In my dreams, I began a journey for my identity to discover the hidden stories within those songs. Perhaps that's what led me to explore Hindustani music. "Sa-re-ga" encodes my ancestors' songs just like "do-re-mi." With this solfege, I began exploring a vocal part of my culture, collecting the keys to my identity.

Each song I learned further educated me about myths and legends that helped form who I am today.

When I face adversity in male-dominated activities, I remember Sita, who fought heroically in revolutionary conflicts hundreds of years ago. This has empowered me to believe in my talents and goals, whether I am doing research or organizing a STEM fair in my community. The character Arjuna, who became one of the best archers, taught me perseverance and a desire to learn from others. When chosen to fly to Denmark to play badminton with local clubs, I embraced this experience to play among outstanding competitors and to enhance my competitive abilities. As an Asian American, I am reminded by the Indian National Anthem that I am an American and an Indian.

I plan to bring my music and stories with me to college. The keyboard in my Duke dorm will ring with strong Hindustani notes. I hope to share with my dorm mates and friends the history of those heroes and the strength I gleam from them every day.

(250 / 250 words)

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#3. Duke University Supplement Example
Supplemental Essay

Prompt: If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first-year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 words max)

At Duke I was equally entranced by the articulate movements of 3D printers in the Co-Lab and the stunning Gothic architecture. Instead of forming a dichotomy, these aspects of Duke blended to symbolize its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, which will offer me a nuanced perspective of the world integral to becoming a leader in engineering.

I will join the Academy for Model Aeronautics and share my passion for designing drones, while taking fascinating courses such as “Taboo Markets” and “Banality of Evil”, while simultaneously working on an engineering project that improves real people’s lives in “Engineering Design”. By joining the Duke Robotics Club, I can expand upon my love for robotics, and I hope to write for the Duke Engineering magazine, as well as join the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. By drawing from this diverse range of educational experiences, I can become a leader in creating a better future.

(150 / 150 words)

#4. Duke University Personal Statement Example
Personal Statement Essay

Common App Prompt #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. (250-650 words)

I close my eyes and find myself within a forest of lights. The diamond leaves of gnarled oak trees throw spectrums of color onto mounds of frosty snow that gleam melancholily under the moonlight. The leaves chime as wind violently rustles them in a haunting melody. I splinter a leaf off its branch...
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#5. Duke University Personal Statement Example
Personal Statement Essay

Common App Prompt #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. (250-650 words)

It was a crisp fall morning. In the distance, the outlines of trees resembled people. Some were tall, slender, brown bodies; some with sparse green-yellow clothes, some naked, some with arms spread, some folded, some heads straight, and some hidden. I got out of the bed, stepped outside, and to my amazement, discovered these beautiful sticks laying in the grass. To most, they are just sticks, but to me, they were pieces of art.

As I went to pick one of the sticks up, I recognized the brilliance of this simple object that had fallen from those beautiful people-like trees. This small yet remarkable brown stick that fell from the branches of the tree was part of nature's way to renew life for the coming spring. On that brisk fall day, I picked up every stick that fell in the small backyard of my house and brought them inside. My mother was annoyed and immediately asked why I was bringing garbage into the house. But that didn't stop me. I had an idea, and I knew these sticks that she saw as garbage could be turned into something beautiful.

I took those sticks into my room and placed them on my desk. I then took a small brush to gently remove the dirt and some of the bark that had started to decay. They were even more beautiful than I had first imagined. The next day, I asked my father to pick up a 3x4 shadow box frame at the local store and waited in anticipation until he arrived home. When I got that frame in my hands, I immediately started working on my computer desk, which I turned into a makeshift studio. As I carefully observed, no two sticks were alike, even though some fell from the same tree. The vivid image detailing the randomness of nature was sitting on my table. As I put sticks together in different patterns, I saw various shapes and I quickly recognized that I could use nature to create art. I opened the frame and began assembling the sticks in patterns that made sense to me. I closed the back of the frame, locked it, and felt my heart pumping to turn it over and see what I created. When I did it was beautiful! I had taken something that would typically be discarded and turned it into something worthy of being displayed on a wall – I had created art. That first piece of art still sits next to my bed, though I have created more shadow-box stick art since then. Some have been given as gifts to friends, but more importantly, some have been sold for a loftier goal.

The funds raised from selling these shadow boxes help to support a charity I have created. The charity is called Redacted, an umbrella 501(c) organization. Working in conjunction with Redacted Charity, a local non-profit, we are providing safe drinking water to women and children in developing, and underdeveloped countries. Being a young and impressionable woman spending many of my family vacations residing in my grandparent’s village, I know first-hand the struggle these women face daily to fetch basic clean drinking water for their families. Similar to how I gathered sticks to make art, I plan to continue gathering funds and resources to create change in these communities with need. Every autumn and beyond.

(561 / 650 words)

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#6. Duke University Personal Statement Example
Personal Statement Essay

Common App Prompt #6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? (250-650 words)

I spent much of my childhood watching movies. I became absolutely engrossed in many different films, TV shows, and animations. From the movie theatres to the TV, I spent my hours enjoying the beauty of visual media. One place that was special to me was the car. My parents purchased a special screen...
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Summary

If you're trying to get into Duke, writing great essays is one of your best ways at standing out. These 6 Duke essays that worked are successful examples of essays admitted into Duke so that you can get inspired and improve your own essays.

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