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Duke University

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I graduated from Duke's Trinity College (Arts &Philosophy
I graduated from Duke's Trinity College (Arts & Sciences) in 1999 with a double major in Philosophy and Biology. I began college as a Pre-Med, but changed focus into the Humanities in my senior year. After graduating I did extensive graduate work in the Humanities at three other premier universities, so I have a very good feel for different universities. BOTTOM LINE -- I simply cannot imagine a better undergraduate experience than Duke. I think other universities are better for certain graduate programs, but for an overall undergraduate experience, Duke can't be beat. It is the best place for personal development. The University takes this very seriously for their undergraduates. You do 90%+ of your learning and maturation outside of class/books/library. Don't get me wrong -- the academics are good, but you can get by pretty easily if you want. My high school was way to easy, and I was valedictorian without ever really having to study. So this attitude kind of carried over with to Duke, and I didn't really challenge myself too hard, and I didn't study regularly until my senior year when I became more focused on what I wanted to do. You can do this and do quite well, though my feeling is that the academics have gotten a bit harder since I graduated in '99.

People at Duke are friendly, and they are happy. It's just a healthy environment overall, and people want to help each other. They also want to have fun. The Duke experience for the most part is an on-campus experience isolated from the outside "real world", so students feel safe to explore and have fun in this "Duke bubble". It's a blast.

I actually recently went back to visit Duke last year in 2010. I could't believe that it has actually gotten BETTER. The campus gotten better, and the campus vibe is still incredible. Durham as a city is just getting better and better. The arts and music scene has been exploding the past 5 years or so, and even many people outside of Durham are now coming for the nightlife. The city life used to be the worst part of Duke, and now it is getting better.Speaking as an alumni, there are two things that keep you incredible connected to Duke -- 1) the amazing time you had there and how it shaped you as the person you are and will be for the rest of your life; 2) the great success of Duke basketball.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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I know I used this site when ISuper BrilliantGeography and Geosciences
I know I used this site when I was deciding colleges, so I thought I'd weigh in here.
Duke was not my first choice. I applied on a whim because the common app supplement was short. However, after I got in to all my schools, I visited Duke first and then my first choice (Brown). The whole time I was at Brown, I was thinking about Duke. It was like having a crush on an entire school. The classes I sat in on were personal and thought-provoking. The campus was wide-open and green, with a forest in the middle of it. The students I met were the kind of people I'd always wanted to be friends with (and now that I'm here, I'm friends with them! Go figure), and the focus of the campus was on the cause I've taken to heart my entire life: the environment.

There's no hyper-competitiveness here, surprisingly. I hear all these stories from my friends at Harvard and Princeton about sabotage, etc., and I'm shocked. Even in competitive classes like chemistry and biology, we help each other out. Of course, Duke does provide incentive for this; our final math grades get better if everyone does well.

The town doesn't like us (remember the stripper who tried to sue the laxers a coupla years ago?), and there's not much to do. This is the only downside of the school. However, buses run to Chapel Hill every 30 minutes, and shows and performers just come straight to campus. We get tickets for $5 to everything, too, which is amazing. There are also loads of school-sponsored events and clubs, and a lot of restaurants on campus (like waaaaay a lot). About 20 off-campus restaurants will give you food for your dining plan points, which is very nice, especially when you're studying and want to order in.

This school is loaded, so we get a lot of free stuff. Free t-shirts, free pre-theater-release movies, grants to travel basically anywhere you want to go. There's also a campus on the beach for people interested in marine science or who just want to live on the beach. The foreign studies program can send you anywhere in the world. We have one of the highest percentages of internationals, too. All the classes are ridiculously multicultural.

Oh, and it's early January and the coldest it's gotten is 29. All you Southerners are shivering, but if you're planning to go Ivy, expect it to be a lot colder than that for a lot longer.I really can't say enough good things about this school. Visit and you'll fall in love!

1st Year Female -- Class 2012
Education Quality: A+, Surrounding City: D
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Many cool and smart people with diverse interests.Quite BrightEnglish
Many cool and smart people with diverse interests. Was not sure Duke would be a good fit when I applied. I came from a private west coast school and thought North Carolina? Really? After I got in, I visited for the first time for Duke Days. I felt at home and turned down a few top schools and decided on Duke. Duke is definitely what you make of it. The campus is beautiful, the people diverse and friendly and people have a strong sense that this is a community not just a grade factory. Durham is only OK but you are in the middle of a huge forest and the Duke community is so alive you really don't care. People don't really discuss grades, but grades are competitive. However, the student are not competitive with each other. Students are encouraged to help each other out. There are so many things to do from clubs to sports to whatever. The UNC thing is a bit overblown in my opinion. I spend a lot of time in Chapel Hill (UNC) and the schools are athletic rivals but the students really get along. Duke is socially vibrant community where everyone mixes very well. All my friends seem to be working hard but seem to be very happy. Work hard, play hard is the best way to describe Duke. I was never a sports girl (more of a nerd type I guess), but the school spirit around basketball is contageous (albeit I am not into the tent thing). The guys are generally great and pretty normal, and I was able to find a great boyfriend in my first semester. I kind of think the student body tends to be a bit more conservative politically, but every view seems respected. I thought about schools closer to home. I love all my teachers in English and other areas, and I have so many new, smart, diverse and interesting friends. In sum, I am just really happy here. I think going to Duke was the best decision I have ever made.
1st Year Female -- Class 2013
University Resource Use/ spending: A+, Surrounding City: B-
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