Eligibility Philosophy


Duke TIP’s educational programs provide academically talented students with advanced learning opportunities that match their specific learning needs and academic interests.

Students in all TIP programs will experience appropriately challenging coursework and have the opportunity to build social and emotional bonds with other academically talented peers in safe learning environments. TIP encourages students to pursue their curiosity and passion within collaborative learning environments and to take intellectual risks without concern about competition, effects on grades, performance, scores, or ranks.

Duke TIP does not assign grades or homework or allow participants to study outside of regularly scheduled course time, which also facilitates forging strong social connections in its face-to-face programs.

Why we have qualifying scores

Not all students have the same developmental readiness, learning needs, or aptitude at the same age. Moreover, even within the TIP population, participants have different levels of strength in different academic domains and may require different levels of academic challenge in different academic domains.

In an attempt to provide material at a developmentally appropriate level and pace based on student readiness, Duke TIP sets domain-specific qualifying criteria for many of its courses and programs that focus on academic challenge.

Changes for 2019

Existing TIP students will remain eligible for all programs they were previously eligible for. They may also qualify for additional programs and courses on the basis of these new guidelines.

Giving students more options

Students who qualify for Center courses in one domain and Academy courses in another domain are now eligible to take either the Center or Academy classes for which they are eligible. This change recognizes students’ varying strengths and provides them with more opportunities to pursue their interests in those areas of strength.

Qualifying scores matched to grade level

In the past, qualifying scores were the same for students whether they took the ACT or SAT in the eighth, ninth, or tenth grade. We have now added specific scores for each of those grade levels in order to provide a more accurate measurement of academic achievement.

Aligning ACT and SAT scores

In 2016, College Board redesigned the SAT. As a result, we had the opportunity to review our qualifying scores to ensure that ACT and SAT requirements were equal measurements of ability. We have adjusted our scores accordingly.

Summer Studies is a three-week residential program for high-achieving students in grades seven through ten. Taking place at thirteen college campuses across the country over two different summer sessions, the programs provide the social and intellectual stimulus that gifted students need.

New to Summer Studies? Look for this banner and select it for advice from other parents on how to make the most of your child's Duke TIP experience:

Parent Advice

Throughout this section of our website, you can access advice from actual Duke TIP parents by clicking on the blue banner above. Their advice will then appear in a box of text like this one. If you would like to talk to a TIP parent directly, to hear what they have to say about the Summer Studies experience before you decide to apply, you are welcome to take advantage of our Parent Ambassador Program. Simply submit a request using this form and you will be contacted by a parent whose child attended the program last year.