Class of 2025 sees largest enrollment of international students

By DKU Staff

Duke Kunshan will welcome its largest and most diverse class of international students next fall after almost 180 students accepted their offer to enroll in the university’s undergraduate program.

The incoming Class of 2025 represents 48 countries, with 49 percent from the United States. Other countries include Austria, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Syria, Turkey and Vietnam.

‘We’re so excited to welcome these students into DKU’s fourth graduating class, not least for their passion to drive change and redefine norms. The Class of 2025 are inventors, entrepreneurs, achievers, altruists, and change makers,’ said Jessica Sandberg, dean of international enrollment management.

Duke Kunshan received a record 1,800 applications from international students this year, more than double the number for the Class of 2024. This included a significant increase in early decision applicants.

Offering her explanation for the surge in interest among international students, Sandberg said, ‘After the lockdowns and other limitations brought by Covid-19, students are increasingly attracted by DKU’s dynamic, global community and our mission to build a post-pandemic world that is more compassionate, cooperative and inclusive. DKU represents a new model for higher education that appeals to them.’

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While the university is hopeful that international students will be able to travel to China to join their Chinese classmates on campus for the fall semester, the leadership team has developed contingency plans that utilize online instruction and study away programs.

Duke Kunshan was one of the first universities in the world to transition to remote instruction in response to Covid-19, launching an innovative online teaching and learning strategy in February 2020. The university will continue to offer online classes for students based off-campus as long as necessary to keep them engaged with the course content, their professors, and their classmates.

Alternatively, students in the U.S. and elsewhere who are unable to travel to China for the fall semester will have the opportunity to enroll at Duke University and live on campus in Durham, North Carolina. This option was also available to students in fall 2020 and spring 2021 due to international travel restrictions resulting from Covid-19. Meanwhile, for the first time, Duke undergraduate students based in China were able to enroll at Duke Kunshan, providing access to in-person and online classes, as well as a range of on-campus services, events and activities.

For those students who prefer an in-person academic experience but cannot travel to Kunshan or Durham, the DKU Global Opportunities (DKU GO) and DKU GO Flexible Learning Experience (DKU GO FLEX) programs provide the option to join accredited study away programs around the world, from London to Senegal to Thailand.

‘We’ve made every preparation to make sure that all our students, no matter where they begin their education, will have a successful and meaningful first-year experience,’ said Sandberg.

Since announcing admissions decisions in March, students and their parents have been able to learn more about the DKU community through webinars, e-newsletters and dedicated social media channels, and to connect directly with administrators, faculty members and upperclassmen.

The increase in international enrollment keeps Duke Kunshan’s expansion plans on track. Launched in 2018, the undergraduate program will grow to accommodate 2,000 students across four classes. At capacity, the program will have a faculty of about 185 professors, instructors and lecturers, as well as visiting Duke professors.

Meanwhile, phase 2 construction of the campus is set for completion in June 2022. This will include advanced classrooms and laboratories, a sports complex, library, student accommodations, office facilities, and green space over almost 47 acres.

Hear from early decision applicants to the Class of 2025: Why I chose Duke Kunshan.

Find out more about Duke Kunshan’s undergraduate program and distinct liberal arts curriculum.

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