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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.
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