A Tour at Duke University

When you think of college, you may think of popular Ivy Leagues such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Cornell. What about Ivy Plus schools? Ivy Plus is a term used to describe schools that are Ivy-like in education and campus feel. Among one of the top of these schools is the prestigious Duke University. I recently had the opportunity to visit Duke University and walk all around campus. So, I welcome you to take a written informational tour with me! 


Arriving on campus:

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is in the heart of the South. It takes quite the trip getting there whether you drive or fly, however right when you step on campus, it is all worth it! There are places to stay around campus, but to get the full Duke experience, you could stay at the on-campus JB Duke Hotel. 

A unique feature of Duke is where it’s located. While being in a major city of North Carolina, Duke is surrounded by more than 8,600 acres of forest land. This gives the campus a secluded feel, but at the same time, is just minutes away from downtown. 

One of the main roads through campus is Campus Drive, which leads into another major road with a twist. Chapel Drive is a beautiful road where you’ll get your first taste of the Gothic style of buildings. As you drive down Chapel Drive, the thing that catches your eye is Duke Chapel. The Chapel is located at the highest point and center of campus for a reason! 


History of Duke Chapel

Duke Chapel has one of the richest histories of all of the buildings on campus. From the stone it was built out of to the carvings around the entrance, everything has a meaningful origin. James Buchanan Duke found the site where the Chapel stands by walking through a forest. Once he reached the highest point of the forest, he decided that this would be a perfect place to place a Chapel. The stone that is the bones of Duke Chapel was resourced from Duke Quarry located 12 miles from campus. Duke Chapel features many carvings around the entrances including three notable people Thomas Coke, Francis Asbury, and George Whitefield. Once you step into the portal, there are even more amazing carvings! The height of Duke Chapel just adds to the character of this building. Standing at 291 feet tall and 63 feet wide, it takes a while to admire all of the beauty and detail. While this is an amazing feature, there’s more to discuss about the campus!


Gardens and Lemurs and what?!

Sarah P. Duke Garden is another amazing site to see at the university. Occupying 55 acres of campus, the gardens are a great place to see a vast variety of flowers among other plants. Students and the public can visit the gardens year-round to relax, or to take a fun trip in between classes. 

Sooo, what about the lemurs? Well, Duke Lemur Center features 200 animals and is devoted to studying these adorable creatures through unharmful methods. Want to explore the lemurs they have? Take a look at this website. Fall in love with one of the lemurs on their site! You can adopt them and receive updates on your furry friend while it resides at Duke! How cool is that!


Life on Campus:

You didn’t think we were going to spend the whole article talking about lemurs or flowers, did you? Maybe another time, but now we’ve got to learn more about campus life!

The students on campus are some of the most academically focused students you will see. While walking around campus, you may notice that everyone seems to have an objective. Whether they’re heading to their next class, going to get food at one of the many dining options, or taking in the Gothic beauty of the campus, Duke students walk with pride and purpose. 

Many people think of the academic level of students at Duke and think “Wow, they must not have any fun,” but that’s certainly not the case! Campus life features fun traditions such as a Midnight Breakfast where students enjoy a midnight study break or K-Ville where Cameron Crazies (students) camp out on campus grounds in anticipation of the famous Duke, UNC basketball game. 

Another feature of this amazing school is the athletics and clubs. Duke features 27 varsity level athletic teams such as football, golf, basketball, and tennis. If you’re familiar with iUP, you know we love the clubs at our school. Well, Duke does too with its wide range of clubs and opportunities for students to lead! 


Study, study, study!

Alright, now that you know more about campus, let’s dive into the academic side of Duke. There are around 53 majors and 52 minors offered. With a range like that, there is something for everyone! So, dancers, artists, curious engineers, innovators, computer engineers, language learners, music motivators, mathematicians, or world affair researchers, Duke might just be the right place for you! Duke isn’t just known for their undergraduate school. Instead, they are also famous for their medical school, law school, and engineering school. 


Education is what Duke prides itself on with many routes for various interests, top professors, and a personalized experience for every student. 70% of classes at the university have less than 15 students, which means that everyone gets to experience a small school feel and a personal relationship with their professors. Opportunities such as a “Flunch” (faculty lunch) are also available to students that are interested in getting to know their professors more while enjoying a good meal!


iUP and Duke: 

While the dream of getting into Duke may seem like a daunting task, just remember to reach for the stars! As long as you believe in yourself, study hard, and focus on school, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish!


When I asked students at our school if they would be interested in Duke, 66.7% said no. However, Kendall, who is interested in journalism and political science, shares my love and desire to go to this amazing university. She states “Duke seems like a great school. It’s close to Ivy League and is a school that represents how hard work gets you into a challenging college to get into as well as how it shows and displays your smartness.” 


Duke at a Glance:

Wow, it seems Duke has thought of every aspect! You can major and/or minor in anything you can think of, awe at the amazing campus, visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, adopt a lemur from the Duke Lemur Center, or participate in the long-standing campus traditions with other fellow Cameron Crazies. From the famous Chapel to the thousands of acres of forest land, it is a truly beautiful campus with lots to experience. Whether you’re interested in art or engineering, Duke could be the right fit for you. I encourage you to continue your research by checking out their website. Who knows, this might just be your new dream university!