Hi all! I applied for Fall 2016 and was accepted, so I thought I'd answer any questions I can after successfully going through the application process. It is stressful, but worth it!
@kathywasabi: From everything I've heard, no, Duke doesn't consider how competitive your undergrad school is/was, but they do consider what courses you took and the grades you received. I'm a little annoyed by the grade inflation assumption, since no decent university (Ivy League or no) is just going to hand their students grades they didn't earn. Duke, like any school, would prefer you to have a high GPA (I have a friend who was rejected for the Fall, and they told here it was primarily due to her low GPA - she has loads more clinical experience than I do), so just do the best you can in any courses you may still be taking. I don't think a lower GPA will break an application, but I also don't think making excuses or blaming your university's grading policies for your non-perfect grades is the way to go - plenty of other applicants will have gone to competitive (and non-Ivy) schools
and will still have good GPAs.
My advice would be just to worry about what you can do now to make yourself a better applicant.
@Pmilian08: I don't know if the Spring cohort is easier to get into, but they did receive more applications than they ever have since the ABSN program began during the last application cycle (they received over 450 applications for Fall 2016). So, it is competitive. However, there's no perfect applicant - I don't have any clinical experience in my background, which was a concern I had about my application, and I was still accepted.
So, @ everyone: even though it's competitive, I wouldn't be discouraged - keep in mind that they also look really hard at your personal statements and recommendations. Do the best you can on those - think of your personal statement like an interview response, and let yourself shine through. Focus on what makes you interesting. Think of it from their point of view: they look to accept students that they want to teach. Give them a reason why they should share their knowledge with you and put up with you for 16 months.
Also keep in mind that the application process at Duke is holistic - they don't do number cut-offs from what I understand. Try to stay positive, and good luck to all of you!!