Before You Arrive at Duke

Info For Students Incoming Students Before You Arrive

From orientation programs to packing lists to driving directions and much more, you will find a lot of preparation information right here. Starting May 2023, we will start sharing information and keep this page up to date. If you have a question and need help finding the answer, please contact us. We're here to help!

students in masks take photos of falling confetti

The Blue Book

Your Blue Book includes specific deadlines and resources to make your transition to Duke as smooth as possible. It outlines everything you need to do during the summer before you arrive on campus.

The Blue Book for the Class of 2027 and Transfer students will be available May 2023!

Countdown with us! Follow along in your summer weekly digest emails and on Duke social media accounts so that you don't miss the countdown to Duke! This series is released throughout the month before orientation.

30 days to duke photo collage

summer transition series logoUnsure of which classes to register for? Want to chat with administrators and students about orientation programs? Join us online for opportunities to engage in real-time to answer your pressing questions. Make your transition easy with help from New Student & Family Programs!

The Summer Transition Series will help our newest class:

  • INTERACT: Meet influential members of the Duke community.
  • COMMUNICATE: Talk directly with "experts" regarding topics that interest YOU.
  • CONNECT:  Watch all sessions conveniently online-it's as easy as checking your email!

Details for participating in a Summer Transition Series webinar will be available through weekly Duke Digest emails and your Blue Book. 

If you can’t participate during the scheduled time, you will be able to view a recording of the webinar on the Duke New Student Programs YouTube Channel.


Not sure if you’ll be able to join live, but still have a question you want answered? You can submit questions before the webinar! They will be read by the moderator on your behalf and answered live. 

All programs are hosted over the Internet, and software requirements are minimal to participate. If you check email and are able to view a YouTube video, your system is compatible. If you need any accommodations to participate, please contact the Office of New Student Programs.

Other Important Information

All first-year Duke undergraduates live together on historic East Campus, a residential approach that fosters a close-knit community. You’ll meet people from diverse backgrounds and explore new interests and possibilities.

check out first-year housing

Mattress & bed frame: Mattresses are extra long (XL) twin; 3001/301 Swift, Trinity, and Wannamaker have full size mattresses. The actual dimensions are approximately 80 inches long x 36 inches wide x 7 inches deep for XL twin and 75 inches long x 53 inches wide, and 7 inches deep for full. Bed frames are adjustable so that the mattress can be raised and lowered to allow the dressers and bookshelves to fit beneath. HRL no longer provides lofted beds.

Desk, Bookshelves, and Desk Chairs: Rooms are equipped with one desk and chair per student. The style of the desk may vary between building but the desks are approximately 42 inches wide and 24 inches deep. In some buildings, the desk is slightly smaller and comes with a separate cabinet unit that can be used as an extension of the desk or can function as a night table. Desk chairs are rolling task chairs.

Chest of Drawers (Dresser): Each student also has 2-3 chest of drawers. In some buildings the chest of drawers fits neatly under the bed or depending on the configuration of the room, the chest of drawers can be placed in the closet. In Gilbert-Addoms (GA), drawers are part of a built-in closet system.

Cable/Ethernet/Phone Outlet:  All residence halls have wireless network access and each bedroom has one active Ethernet port. As of Fall 2011, landlines for phone and cable are no longer available in individual student rooms. Students should plan to bring a cell phone. The University has worked with two carriers, Verizon and AT&T, to install signal boosters in the buildings to ensure stronger signals.


  • Alspaugh, Pegram, Brown, Bassett, East, Giles, Wilson, and Jarvis maintain their original wooden floors.
  • Randolph and some rooms in Bell Tower are carpeted.
  • Blackwell, Gilbert-Addoms, and Southgate floors are covered in a vinyl plank tile.

If you intend to purchase a large rug for your room, it is advisable to wait until you get to campus to measure the actual floor space before making your purchase. Some of the rooms have interesting architecture including hallways, doorways, and kneewalls which may alter the shape of the floor space.

Housing and Residence Life believes strongly in the value of the campus residential experience. This experience provides you with exciting opportunities to meet new people and to be exposed to different difference cultures and lifestyles. This can start with your roommate.

One of the key ingredients to a successful living experience is a solid relationship between roommates and a healthy roommate relationship takes time to develop. An important place to start is by getting to know each other. Make time to find out about your roommate’s background, habits, interests, and pet peeves. Talk about the differences between you, how they may affect your living environment and what compromises you both may have to maintain harmony. Discuss what you hope for in a roommate relationship.

Remember, while you may be very close to a person as a friend, your living habits may not be compatible. Take the time to discuss the following topics with your potential roommate before making a commitment to live together.

Talking Points

  • Schedules: study time versus sleep time, noise hours vs quiet hours
  • Guests: acceptable hours, overnight, significant others
  • Room Condition: temperature, cleanliness, bunking or lofting beds (as appropriate)
  • Sharing: personal belongings, shared expenses (CATV, telephone), etc.

Things to Remember

  • Many students have never had to share a bedroom before. Be prepared to compromise.
  • If a strong friendship develops between roommates, that's great, but don’t necessarily expect to be best friends. The important thing is to accept, appreciate, and grow from the experience of living with someone who may be very different from you.
  • Remember that each of you have rights. Treat your roommate(s) as you would like to be treated.
  • Don’t rely on first impressions. Make the time to know each other.

Think about how you would complete these statements:

  • I'm a good roommate because…
  • I would like to find a roommate who…

Connect with @Duke Students on social media. Facebook is also a great place to keep up with your new classmates and stay informed about important dates and other news. Join the conversation--it will last long after you get here. Join the Official Class of 2026 Facebook Group today!

Duke’s beautiful campus is surrounded by trees and green space, with many easy ways to get around, including buses, rental bikes, late night safe ride options, and more. Of campus, there are many arts, dining, sports and other options to keep any visitor entertained. For visiting families, there are many options for places to stay in the area within easy reach of campus.