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Our Best Advice? Start Early.

We encourage students to use the DukeEngage application process as an opportunity for real reflection about academic, personal, career and civic interests. Be thoughtful and thorough. Make choices based on your skills and your curiosity about the world. And — we can’t stress this enough — don’t wait until the last minute!

Who Is Eligible to Participate in DukeEngage?

Any student who has completed at least two semesters at Duke, who will be on active status at Duke during the summer of participation, and who will spend at least one semester back on campus after the DukeEngage experience is eligible to participate. Because post-program engagement and sharing with others is a central tenet of DukeEngage, the program is restricted to applications from current first-year students, sophomores and juniors who plan to return to campus following their DukeEngage experience. Seniors are not eligible to participate.

DukeEngage covers expenses (travel and living) associated with the experience. Students may participate in DukeEngage only once. For students on need-based financial aid, Duke will waive the “summer earnings” requirement. Contact the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support for more information about the summer earnings waiver.

A student may apply for one independent project, or up to two group programs. (At least one must be U.S.-based.) The options are:

  • One independent project
  • One U.S. group program
  • One international group program
  • One U.S. group program and one international group program
  • Two U.S. group programs

How Do I Choose a DukeEngage Program?

STEP 1:  Join the DukeEngage email list and follow DukeEngage on Instagram and Facebook. It’s important to connect so you’ll receive up-to-date program announcements.

STEP 2: Explore the DukeEngage website. Read student blogs from previous years and browse through our social media channels. Get familiar with group programs (typically new programs for the following summer are announced in October) and independent projects. Decide which might be a good match for your interests and skills.

Questions to consider:

  • What themes interest you? Consider two or three — such as engineering, the environment, women’s advocacy, or health outreach — that excite you or connect in meaningful ways to your academic journey. (Recognize that some group programs are multi-thematic, and students aren’t guaranteed specific placements.)
  • What kind of community do you want to be immersed in? What types of organizations would you like to work with? As you explore potential group programs or independent projects, learn as much as you can about the community and the partners with whom you could be working. Seek out articles, films, speakers, events, and resources on campus. Ask yourself: Is the geographic location more appealing to me than the kind of daily work I’d be doing?  If that’s the case, renew your search for a program or project that would truly engage you, regardless of location.
  • Are your skills and background truly a match? Group program leaders select students who possess applicable skills, have taken related coursework, and/or have previous experience that supports the type of service underway in their respective programs. Make a list of what you offer, which could include teaching or tutoring, language proficiency, documentary work, research, fundraising, social media and more. Consider how your skills truly relate to the program or project that interests you.

STEP 3: Attend a “How to Apply” information session (overview of DukeEngage and the application process) in the fall. Then attend program-specific info sessions for each program or project that interests you.

STEP 4: Reach out to a DukeEngage guiDE (program alumni mentor) for advice from a student who has already done DukeEngage. If you’d like to talk through your decision, attend a drop-in advising session with DukeEngage staff.

STEP 5: Review the application questions (early!) and start thinking about your answers. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

How Do I Apply to DukeEngage?

Group programs for the following summer are typically announced and the application opens around October 1. (Look for the “Apply” button above.) Note: The Apply button is only active when DukeEngage is accepting applications. Outside of the application period, the button is not visible.

Your DukeEngage application will be read by program leaders to determine which students they will interview. Take time to review the application questions (posted below) and think through your answers carefully.

To better understand the process, you can read the FAQ sections pertaining to application, interviews and acceptance.

The application:

  • Includes a series of questions that focus on learning why you’re interested in a particular program or project
  • Seeks to determine why you consider yourself a compatible fit for your prospective program or project
  • Explores how you feel you have prepared to participate in an immersive, challenging DukeEngage program or independent project

Questions? Email us. We’re happy to help. DukeEngage.