By Editorial Board. For seven years running, the number of applicants to Duke has increased with more than 32,000 having fought for a place in the current freshman class. The Class of 2019 hopefuls will have the option of presenting themselves through a new supplement question. The 250-word optional essay prompt asks applicants to “share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had,” including experiences related to home communities, sexual orientation or gender identities and family or cultural backgrounds. Duke is the first university to explicitly mention sexual orientation and gender identity on the Common Application.