Duke University mailed acceptance letters Thursday to 3,517 top high school seniors from across the country and around the world vying for admission to the Class of 2013.
The students were admitted out of a record 23,843 applications submitted to Duke as part of the regular-decision process.
Thursday's mailing brings the university's total offers of admission to 4,065, including 548 early-decision applicants accepted in December. (Duke received 1,539 early-decision applications, the second-largest number in the university's history). This represents an acceptance rate of 17 percent, the lowest in Duke's history.
Duke expects about 1,705 of the accepted students to enroll this fall.
A notable trend among accepted applicants for the Class of 2013 is that almost 19 percent (770) of them did not specify their race or ethnicity on applications, compared to about 9 percent (370) among accepted applicants for the Class of 2012, said Christoph Guttentag, dean of Undergraduate Admissions.
He believes this reflects "a possible evolution in student thinking" regarding how they identify themselves.
"It's hard to understand exactly what this represents without knowing whether other colleges have experienced the same thing," Guttentag said. "But a change of this magnitude shows that at the very least more students are feeling differently about how they want to respond to questions of this kind, or whether they want to respond at all."
Also notable, he said, is the more than 10 percent increase in the number of students indicating they are applying for financial aid.
"I don't think any of us are surprised that more students are applying for financial aid this year, and I expect that more of our students will be receiving aid as well," Guttentag said. "Our commitment to keeping Duke accessible to students from every background hasn't changed at all."
Duke University's admissions policy is "need blind," meaning applicants are accepted regardless of their ability to pay for college. Duke also meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.
Duke is changing some of the ways it is encouraging admitted students to enroll. Blue Devil Days, which offers prospective students the chance to tour Duke's campus, attend classes and meet with administrators and faculty, will change from four one-day programs to three two-day programs (April 5-6, 9-10, 13-14). Duke officials believe the opportunity to spend more time on campus will provide students a better sense of university life.
The Undergraduate Admissions Office has also changed how it notifies students of their admission decision. While all students received their decisions online, only those students who were admitted or placed on the waiting list will automatically receive mailed letters. Students who are denied will be sent printed letters on request, or if they have not viewed their decision online within 72 hours.
"It's been fascinating to see how quickly the admissions process has been influenced by online communication," Guttentag said. "Well over 95 percent of our applicants now apply online. And while we've been notifying students of their decisions online for a number of years, this is the first year we're using online notification as a primary method of sharing most of our decisions. I expect this will be the norm for most colleges and universities in just a few years."