Student Life

a boy hula hooping at a carnival

Outside the rigorous classroom atmosphere, you need time to decompress and make new friends in a variety of social and recreational settings. This opportunity to socialize and form bonds strengthens the Duke TIP community both in and out of the classroom and results in lifelong friendships.

Residential model

Residential staff members plan a wide variety of activities that appeal to all students. Programming follows our TIPstar programming model, focusing on five broad areas.

Students may receive a button for activities they participate in. They wear these tangible memories on their lanyards throughout the term and can take them home as memorabilia. The buttons also serve as great conversation gateways and tokens of appreciation and accomplishment.

1. Diversity

Understanding and embracing the differences within ourselves and the world around us.

Sample activities include community mural; history of hip-hop and freestyling; capoeira and Brazilian culture; and “salsa and salsa,” i.e., both making the food and learning the dance.

2. Service

Supporting the people within our own and surrounding communities through volunteerism and compassion.

Sample activities include crochet making for a cause, random acts of kindness competition, cards for the troops, campus cleanup, and recycling projects.

3. Leadership

Helping students grow to become stronger people while exploring and defining their own values, ethics, and identity.

Sample activities include college expo, public speaking, debates, research opportunities, and LeaderTIP Academy.

4. Health and Wellness

Intentionally creating an atmosphere in which residents are exposed to information that will enable them to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Sample activities include yoga, TIPstar Boot Camp, cooking lessons, healthy snacks, field day, and sports competitions.

5. Fine Arts

Fostering the opportunity for students to share their originality through performing arts, creative arts, visual arts, media, and entertainment.

Sample activities include painting without brushes, “kookies and karaoke,” jam sessions, playwriting, poetry night, improvisation, and talent shows.

Residential staff and supervision

Outstanding undergraduate and graduate students serve as Residence Counselors who live in the residence halls with the students, organize social and recreational activities, serve as role models, and enforce Duke TIP conduct guidelines.

Each Residence Counselor supervises a group of approximately ten to sixteen students. Additional residential administrators with extensive experience provide further oversight.

Evening activities

Residential Counselors plan a wide variety of activities that appeal to many different interests. No academic work is expected during activity times. Offerings may include:

• field day competitions

• organized sports games

• dance lessons

• creative debates

• group art or craft projects

• off-campus excursions

• quiet reading time

• evening cookouts

• carnival

Students may not remain in their room or in any unsupervised area during evening residential time, except in the case of illness.

A group of girls posing and smiling

Free time

Students need downtime after a day of challenging academics, so we ensure they receive free time each day to relax, read quietly, or spend time with their friends. Some sites also offer a few voluntary activities to provide more structured options.

Students are supervised at all times. They are escorted to and from all activities, including meals, and residential staff are on the floors of each hall or building whenever students are there, including during free times.


Students live in college residence halls with one or two roommates as part of a ten-to-twelve-student residential group.

They may live on floors with members of another sex, but all halls have adult staff supervision and same-sex bathroom facilities. Where possible, students will have access to a single-occupancy all-gender restroom if needed. Students are only allowed to have their assigned roommates in their room.

All residential rooms, classrooms, and dining facilities are air conditioned. More specific information about the housing at each site is include on the sites page.

Living with a roommate is part of TIP’s goal of giving students the opportunity to meet people from many walks of life. Sharing a residence hall space with someone new can be exciting and create the opportunity to build lifelong friendships.

Transgender or gender nonconforming students who have specific housing needs based upon their gender identity or gender expression may contact the Director of Student Affairs at .

Roommate requests

Because we recognize that this might be your student's first extended time away from family, we do consider roommate requests. (CRISIS is the only TIP summer program to do so.) More information and a roommate request form will be available in the student portal after you accept placement.

Dietary allergies and restrictions

Students who choose to eat the regularly prepared meals and do not require any specially ordered meals do not need to make any special arrangements. However, students who have severe or life-threatening allergies or dietary restrictions must make prior arrangements.

Duke TIP provides student meals for the duration of the program. We offer a variety of á la carte options at each meal, including a meat and meatless entrée, salad bar, and other assorted items. Menus are designed to accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free diets, as well as many common food allergies.

Kosher meals are not available, but students are able to eat “kosher-style” by selectively choosing items from the regular dining hall offerings.

Students with special dietary needs or severe allergies must contact the Coordinator of Accommodations at or (919) 668-9100 by April 13 to discuss meal options.

Athletic facilities and training programs

The residential staff schedules evening recreational and athletic activities, such as swing dancing, basketball, soccer, and Frisbee, depending on the available facilities. TIP staff may lead supervised group runs if there are appropriate facilities and interested students, but we cannot accommodate specific training needs.

TIP students are not allowed access to campus weight rooms, swimming pools, or other athletic department facilities or equipment, nor to swim recreationally. 


Duke TIP and our staff are aware that this may be the first extended overnight period that some students have spent away from family or friends. Homesickness is normal to some degree in nearly everyone leaving familiar surroundings and entering a new environment for the first time.

Duke TIP programs are highly interactive and most of the time students will be very involved in activities and events. However, parents can help our staff greatly and alleviate their child’s homesickness by refraining from expressing anxious or ambivalent feelings about time away from home.

Ideally, parents should express enthusiasm and optimism about the separation and the novel environment. This is an exciting time in your child’s life. Through the orientation on arrival day, open house on departure day, and access to daily program updates on the parent website, Duke TIP will make every effort to make parents feel connected while their children are away.  

Should a student become homesick while at Duke TIP, our staff will closely monitor the student, work with the individual to overcome the homesickness, and occasionally have the student contact parents for positive encouragement. 

Mail service

Due to the length of the program and campus mail policies, we are unable to accept mail or packages for students sent through mail services such as the postal service, UPS, or Amazon. However, you may leave one letter for your child at check-in. We will deliver all letters to students on Wednesday during the afternoon free time block.

Additional information is available in the student portal.

two girls laughing outside a university building