Student Life

a boy hula hooping at a carnival
Student Video

Student Video

TIP’s unique residential programming provides each Duke TIP student with a holistic experience. Enrichment opportunities continue even when students leave the classroom because they actively engage with goal-based activities. Similar to their academic experience, which allows them to learn things they might not have been exposed to outside of TIP, the residential curriculum encourages students to examine several dimensions of their personal development with the goal of formulating positive lifestyle habits they can apply even after they leave TIP.

Residential model

Residential staff members plan a wide variety of activities that appeal to all students. Programming follows our TIPStellar programming model.

New in 2020, the TIPStellar model ensures that students focus on at least one important area of growth every day, as well as one important dimension of wellness. The best part about the residential experience is that these informed activities are fun and engaging for the students. They facilitate opportunities to build community, improve social skills, enhance global perspectives, begin friendships that last for a lifetime, and much more.

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

Areas of growth


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


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


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

Fine arts

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

Dimensions of wellness


Becoming mindful about the connection between your mind (how you do in school; your ability to absorb, retain, and understand new knowledge; how you process new internal and external stimulators, etc.) and your body (physical presence and activities: sleeping, eating, exercising, activeness, etc.).


Learn something new—with the possibility or probability of failing. How to deal with failure, if it happens. Nurturing a passion for becoming a lifelong learner.


Get in tune with your own emotions—be able to process them within yourself and effectively communicate them with others in a productive manner. Engage with other individuals or groups properly, appropriately, and respectfully.


Understand what environment is and how you interact with it in a positive way. How do you benefit from the environment, and how does the environment benefit from you? How do you influence your environment where you can thrive to become the best version of yourself?

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, and

• 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-sixteen-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

Duke TIP is unable to accommodate roommate requests. Just before students arrive, Duke TIP staff members make residential group assignments based on the gender, age, and interests of the students, as stated in their online forms.

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. Each site offers 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 to discuss meal options.

Athletic facilities and training programs

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

TIP staff may lead supervised group runs if there are appropriate facilities and interested students, but we cannot accommodate specific training needs.


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

CRISIS is a residential summer program for fifth and sixth graders. Students assume the role of professionals and collaborate with their peers to solve a hypothetical community crisis