Student Life

students hanging out at duke university

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. Students often discover that they have much in common with their fellow TIPsters far beyond the class they’re taking. They are often able to be their authentic selves and find new friends that they can talk to about all their interests.

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.

A group of students and teachers walking along a beach with fishing nets

Residential staff and supervision

Outstanding undergraduate and graduate students serve as Residential 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 Residential Counselor supervises a group of approximately ten to sixteen students. Administrators with extensive experience provide further oversight.

Staff members supervise students throughout the day, including during blocks of free time. Duke TIP students may not leave campus or designated boundaries at any point during the program, except under the direct supervision of Duke TIP staff.

Evening and weekend activities

Students are supervised and take part in preplanned social activities such as talent shows, museum trips, special guest lectures, community service projects, city and campus tours, bowling nights, dances, and outdoor games.

Because of varying program schedules, and the travel time required when some field studies groups must travel from one site to the next, academic activities may also take place on the weekend.

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.

A group of students cheering as one completes a front flip

Religious services

Free time during the weekends allows students to attend services, if they wish.

The availability of services for particular religions or denominations varies by program location, but we will accommodate student transportation requests to attend religious services within a ten-mile radius of each site, to the extent that staff supervision and drivers can be provided.

If there are any questions or special considerations that Duke TIP should be aware of to allow students to practice their religion, please contact the Director of Student Affairs at


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

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 can create the opportunity to build lifelong friendships.

Students 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 labs are air conditioned.

Duke University and New College of Florida

Students live in college residence halls with one or two roommates.

PARI Observatory

Students will live with roommates, generally sleeping in bunk beds with shared bathroom facilities. Duke TIP staff supervise the students and assist with any necessary bathroom schedules.

Roommate requests

Duke TIP is unable to accommodate roommate requests. To the extent that housing constraints allow, Duke TIP staff members make residential group assignments based on the gender, age, and interests of the students, as stated in their online forms.

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

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.

Not all Field Studies sites can accommodate all diets. At PARI, students with a vegan or severely limited diet may want to bring food items to complement meals during the program.

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.

A large group of students on a beach at sunset

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. 

Mail service

Students can send and receive mail, but mail will take longer than normal to reach students. Since these programs are only two weeks long, it is unlikely that mail sent during the second week will reach students in time. Specific information regarding mailing addresses will be provided to enrolled students in May.