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Expert College Counselor Reviews Duke University

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Expert college admissions advisor and educational consultant Mark Montgomery reviews Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, a highly selective, very prestigious college in the southern United States. With a sprawling campus boasting gorgeous Neo-Gothic architecture, its graduate schools are held in high esteem, as is its Division I sports program.


I’m here today on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It’s a scorching hot summer day but that hasn’t deterred the students and their families who are visiting campus. There are just loads and loads of tour groups running around. They make it clear on their website, though, that here at Duke, what we call “demonstrated interest” is really not that important.

Taking a tour, while maybe helpful to get an idea of this beautiful campus, it doesn’t really matter much in terms of admission. They don’t really care whether you’ve been here once or three times or 47 times.

Campus Size

In any case, Duke is an enormous campus. It’s just gigantic in terms of its area. About 6,500 undergraduates, 13,000 students overall, and everything your heart desires is here. It is a private university and perhaps the most prestigious university in the American south. It’s very selective. Rivals the Ivies, as well as Stanford, in terms of the percentage of students it admits and the caliber of students that it admits.

As I say, everything your heart desires is here. It’s a beautiful campus; this neo-gothic architecture on the West Campus. Fantastic. Although the Student Center right over here, not as pretty a building on the outside but really nice on the inside. Very functional and very pleasant. Lots of places for students to congregate.


Housing is required of all students for the first three years while they are here. And freshman students live on the East Campus, which is sort of a little bit further removed. And as I read in one of the guide books, part of that logic may be to shelter students from the wilder aspects of the party atmosphere at Duke.

Social Scene

Of course, not everyone is a party animal here, but fraternities and sororities do tend to dominate the social scene. Something like 30% of men and 40% of women belong to those social groups. And while parties are probably open to everyone, they do tend to help, in some ways, on the positive side to make smaller social groups for students to congregate, as at many large universities, but the down side can be that if you’re not involved in them, then you’ve got to really make your own fun. That’s really where the social scene is dominant. Very similar to Dartmouth, my alma mater.

Graduate Program

Graduate schools of course has the Fuqua School of Business. Very, very prestigious, well known. The Duke Medical Center is terrific. Beautiful buildings, more modern than the neo-gothic architecture of the main Quad. All in all, Duke is a fantastic university for students who are serious about either participating in Division I sports or being at a school where spectator sports is important. It is a comprehensive university that has just about anything your heart desires, and are looking for this beautiful campus in the south. It’s really hard to beat.
Mark Montgomery
Expert Educational Consultant


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