The First-Year selection process invites current first-year students at Duke and UNC to apply to join the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program at the end of their freshman year.
First-year applicants are evaluated primarily on their performance, initiative, and accomplishments during their first semester in college. Keeping in mind that leadership for a first semester freshman looks quite different than it might for a high school senior, we are looking for students who have the potential to make significant contributions to their university and greater communities during and beyond their time at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.
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- December 1 – Robertson application opens
- February 1 – Robertson application deadline
- Mid-March/Early April – Finalist interviews
- Mid-April – Offers extended
First Years at Duke and UNC will be invited to apply to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program starting December 1st. All applications (including recommendations) are due by February 1.
- Students who applied to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program in high school are eligible apply as first-year students. The Robertson Selection Committee will not review first-year students’ high school applications submitted in the previous year’s selection cycle.
- Transfer students are not eligible to apply.
- Students must be enrolled as full-time, degree-seeking students at Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill (a minimum of four full credits per semester at Duke, and a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester at UNC-Chapel Hill).
- Students who currently receive a full-tuition or near-full tuition merit scholarship from the university are not eligible to apply (including OUSF scholars at Duke and Morehead-Cain, Innovation, Carolina, Pogue, and Colonel Robinson scholars at UNC). Students on partial scholarship are considered on a case-by-case basis. Outside scholarships do not affect students’ eligibility for the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Do I need to submit an official transcript for my Robertson Program application?
No. However, you will need to be able to provide certain details from your transcript in the application (e.g., GPA, SAT/ACT, AP/IB scores).
What standardized tests are required to apply?
The Robertson Scholars application requires that students self-report either their SAT score OR ACT score. Students may also choose to report both scores. SAT Subject scores are not required, but students may choose to report these scores as well if they choose.
Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation for me?
- We require 2 letters of recommendation for each applicant.
- At least one recommender should be a Duke or UNC faculty or staff member (graduate-level or above, or of equivalent experience)
- The second recommender may be anyone who can speak to your leadership and character (teacher, coach, counselor, job/volunteer supervisor, research mentor, etc)
- Recommendations from family members are not encouraged
- Peer recommendations are acceptable
- You will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of your recommenders through the online application system. Your recommender will then receive an automatically generated request email that contains a link to the online recommender form.
- If your recommender would prefer addressing specific prompts, they found those on the Recommenders page. We are also happy to accept more general letters of support.
Is there a minimum GPA required to apply?
The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program requires first-year Scholars to maintain a GPA minimum of 3.0. Applicants to the Program will also be expected to meet that requirement. Applicants must also be enrolled as full-time students for both semesters.
May I apply if I am an international student?
Yes; there are no restrictions on citizenship or residency for the Robertson First-Year Selection Program. Robertson Scholars are a highly diverse community, and we welcome students of all backgrounds, nationalities, religions, ethnicities, and orientations.
If I applied to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program as a high school senior, may I apply again?
Any first-year student may apply to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, regardless of whether the student had previously applied as a high school senior. Students who previously applied will be at neither an advantage nor disadvantage as they will be evaluated solely on their first semester of college.
If I apply early, will it increase my chances?
No. All application reviews will begin after the application deadline.
Should I submit my high school transcript or other extra materials in my application packet?
No. Students applying through the First-Year Selection Program are evaluated primarily on their first-semester performance at Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill.
May I submit more than two letters of recommendation?
No. Only two letters of recommendation per applicant will be reviewed.
If selected, what commitments will I have during the spring semester of my first year?
Scholars selected through the First-Year Selection Process join the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program immediately and begin to work closely with the Assistant Director for Summer Enrichment to prepare for the Community Summer. Students are expected to meet all deadlines concerning their summer planning and attend all remaining Colloquium classes, schedules permitting.
May I miss all or part of the first summer experience if I have a pre-scheduled commitment for that summer?
The Community Summer is an integral part of the Robertson experience and is required. While Scholars will need to spend a minimum of eight weeks in a location in the United States, there may be some limited flexibility on when students may begin and end their summer experiences.
If I am selected as a Robertson Scholar, can I still participate in a DukeEngage program?
Students who have accepted a Duke Engage internship for the summer after their freshman year are still eligible to apply for the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program. However, if a student is accepted to both DukeEngage and the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, he or she must withdraw from the DukeEngage internship in order to participate in the Community Summer. The student would also lose eligibility to apply for any future DukeEngage experiences.
In the subsequent summers, Duke Scholars are eligible to participate in group-oriented Duke Engage summer programs. Scholars are encouraged to follow all DukeEngage procedures and inform the Robertson staff of their plans to pursue DukeEngage opportunities.