Decision Day: Duke admits the Class of 2015

Welcome, Duke Class of 2015!! This is your first Fact Checker report!!

And congratulations to Dean Guttentag, who every year brings to our doorstep an Awesome group of people. Yes, capital A.

Duke's admissions statistics follow the pattern of numbers that are emerging for the Class of 2015 at our peer institutions.

In the initial hours after notifications to the Class of 2015 began, all reported significant drops in their over-all acceptance rate.

There are some tricks in these numbers:

First the number of applications. From school to school there is fudging -- and Duke does it too -- on what counts as an application. Boost the number of "applications," accept the same number of students and voila, your percentage goes down.

Fact Checker has requested year after year a count of the number of applications that Duke actually reads and makes a decision on. No dice.

Second, a school can keep its acceptance rate low by admitting fewer now -- and turning to its wait list to fill out the class later. In the case of Duke, often there are just marginal differences in the quality of student admitted, and those put on the wait list.

While many schools tell us the number put on the wait list -- Duke did last year -- this year Duke is silent.

The final proof of the pudding of course depends on the yield rate -- how many of those whom we accept actually enroll. And of the very best admitted -- sorta like the all star component of the yield rate -- how many of those choose Duke over other options.

We have lagged in the yield, which is probably to be expected given the schools we compete against. Let's face it, a kid admitted to Harvard, Yale or Princeton is more likely to go there, than to Duke.

Fact Checker notes that Duke did not release demographic figures on its acceptance rates (see Harvard for exemplary disclosure). We have seen snippets of studies -- but been denied the full study -- that indicate that particularly among blacks, the best of the best choose other schools over Duke when presented with the option.

Some comparisons.

Early admits
Class of 2015 645
Class of 2014 602

Regular admits
Class of 2015 3,094
Class of 2014 3,372

Total admits
Class of 2015 3,739
Class of 2014 3,974
Does not include wait list

Total admit rate
Class of 2015 12.6 percent
Class of 2014 14.8 percent

Peer schools - US News and World Report. Comparing Class of 2013 with Class of 2015. At present Duke is in a three way tie for #9-10-11 with Dartmouth and Chicago.

Harvard 6.2 pct down from 7.5 pct
Princeton 8.39 pct down from 10.1 pct
Yale 7.35 pct down from 7.5 pct
Columbia 6.9 pct down from 9.8 pct
Stanford 7.1 percent down from 8.0 pct

Penn 12.3 pct down from 14.2 pct
Cal Tech 15.3 pct
MIT 9.6 percent down from 10.7 pct
Dartmouth 9.7 pct down from 12.6 pct
U Chicago 27.3 pct

Thank you for reading FC.