For Prospective Students

The most common question asked of those who advise students interested in preparing for a career in the health professions is:

“What percent of Duke students who apply to medical/dental/veterinary school are accepted?”

The short answer is that most of our seniors who apply are admitted to medical schools each year. While it is understandable that prospective students and their parents are curious about this information, a student’s choice of college or university should not be based on that answer. Why?

Many first-year college students who state their intention to become a health care professional change their minds. In addition, experience shows us that many students who enter college not considering health care as a career develop an interest in medicine and ultimately become health care providers. So choosing a college based on the success rate of its applicants to medical school, dental school, or veterinary school should be only one aspect of your decision.

If you are interested in the possibility of becoming a physician, dentist, veterinarian, or other health care professional, you should choose a college or university that will offer you intellectual challenges and extensive opportunities for academic exploration.  Consider your strengths and interests and find a school that fits you as an individual.  You might look for ...

  • An excellent faculty and reputation for high academic standards
  • Strong natural science departments and good laboratory facilities
  • A broad range of courses in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences
  • Extracurricular activities that appeal to you and give you a chance to participate in new experiences, and to develop leadership skills
  • Opportunities for engagement with patients and their families
  • Opportunities for you to contribute to your college community and elsewhere
  • Opportunities for research and scholarly activities
  • A strong prehealth advising program
  • A place that "feels right" for you but at the same time is one that will challenge you to reach outside of who you are now and help you develop 

Why consider Duke?  Duke University offers a wealth of both academic and non-academic opportunities for growth. We do so in the context of a diverse student body, each member bringing his or her unique talents and strengths to our campus. We have an extensive health professions advising program that is a part of the academic advising structure within Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and that also serves students from the Pratt School of Engineering. The Trinity College curriculum guides students in a way that fosters depth in an academic area and breadth across several disciplines, with a particular emphasis on ethical inquiry, cross-cultural experience, and the impact of science and technology on society. You will develop the traditional skills of a liberal education, including critical thinking, problem solving, synthesis, and effective communication. These are all skills that will be of value to you whatever you decide to do with your life, and they are highly valued by health professions schools. Pratt students likewise have opportunities to learn these skills through both their Pratt courses and the courses they take in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.