Skip to main content
A Request to Parents

Please resist the urge to manage the DukeEngage experience for your student. Every step of the process is designed to teach students personal agency. They must research and weigh their options, make wise choices and advocate for themselves. They must meet deadlines, prioritize opportunities and be accountable for their actions. Our team is here to answer questions, advise and assist, but we strongly prefer to work directly with the students themselves — to help them learn and strengthen these life skills. If accepted, your student will be better prepared to tackle the sometimes significant challenges presented during a DukeEngage summer if they have experience functioning independently. Whenever possible, we ask that you encourage your student to contact us directly if they have questions or concerns relating to DukeEngage.

How to Support Your Student’s Application

As you may know, DukeEngage is a highly selective program. Each year, the number of applications we receive greatly exceeds the number of spaces or participants. (Yes, the rumors are true. Only about 50% of applicants are accepted.) We know that many well-qualified applicants will not be able to participate each year given the exceptional interest across our range of programs. This level of selectivity allows us to ensure the highest caliber of participation in our partner communities, which is exactly what makes DukeEngage such a strong program. Indeed, like Duke University itself, it is a national role model for quality programming in higher education.

What does that mean for your student, and how can you best support his or her application? We’ll tell you what we tell them …

Research all the Options

The DukeEngage website includes group program profiles and featured independent projects with plenty of detail to help students research their options and make decisions about application choices. We also encourage applicants to talk with our student guiDEs (program alumni who serve as mentors to prospective participants) and attend in-person information sessions.

Apply Based on Program Focus Not on Location

When it comes to DukeEngage, location should be the last consideration. The most successful candidates and participants apply for programs based on existing academic and personal interests. A strong application describes why the student is a good fit with a program.

Start the Process as Early as Possible

We can’t stress this enough. Every year, students wait until the last minute to submit their applications. Consequently, some students submit applications with missing information; some students run into technical issues with the online application; and others simply run out of time. Late applications will not be accepted. Please encourage your student to work on the application well in advance. A PDF of the application questions is available on the website, so it’s possible to start and refine a document offline.