Student Life

students at a dance at Duke University
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

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.

Student Video

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?

Parent Advice

We tried not to overwhelm my child with preparations and travel details, but kept her abreast of dates and what to expect in general regarding college and dorm life. She ended up being excited and practically shoved us out when we dropped her off. Students have limited free time to phone home, and I cried many evenings when my child, four hours from home, did not call and give me every detail from the day. She did not call because she was having fun and was exhausted every night. She made friends. She received instruction from a qualified teacher that was not below her level for once in her life. She met other smart kids she could relate to. She really liked her roommate. She liked the cafeteria food. She lived tasting the freedom of being a college student. She was well “guarded.” She was safe. She and her groups were escorted around the campus. In summary, now my daughter is not afraid to go to college: ‘been there, done that!’ She wants to go again this year. We are so happy we did it! –Sandra A., TIP Parent, South Carolina


Student Video

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 twelve to sixteen students. Additional residential 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.

students going wild at a dance

Campus-wide events

During the weekends students participate in large, campus-wide social and recreational programming such as field day activities, talent shows, lip sync or skit competitions, carnivals, and dances. Once per term, students participate in an off-campus field trip, typically to a family fun center.

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.

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 air-conditioned college residence halls with one or two roommates as part of a twelve-to-sixteen-student residential group.

They may live on floors with members of another sex (typically on opposite wings of the floor), 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.

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.

Student Video

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.

Transgender or gender nonconforming students who have specific housing needs based upon their gender identity or gender expression are encouraged to contact the Director of Student Affairs at to discuss specific housing preferences.

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 à 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.

boys playing frisbee


Coin- or card-operated washers and dryers are available on all campuses. Typically each load costs approximately $1.50, and Residential Counselors will be glad to provide instructions on using the machines.  More site-specific details about laundry facilities will be provided to enrolled students in May.

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.

Musical instruments and practice facilities

Students may bring small musical instruments (clarinets, trumpets, etc.) that can be stored in their residence hall rooms. However, music practice rooms are not available, and students will have very little time to practice.

Students may not bring large instruments (drums, harps, etc.), as there is no storage space available for them. Duke TIP is not responsible for loss or damage to instruments during the program.

Mail service

Mail service is provided at all TIP sites and specific information regarding mailing addresses will be provided to enrolled students in May. 

Please note incoming mail is being relayed through a campus post office or another administrative office before it reaches the TIP residence hall, therefore we cannot make any guarantee that overnight or express deliveries will arrive within the timeframe that a delivery company may offer. Most TIP sites are unable to accept Saturday or Sunday deliveries of any type and typically mail sent during the last week of the program will not arrive in time to be distributed.

Although Duke TIP staff distributes student mail, we do not accept responsibility for lost or stolen items.

students with arms around each other at a dance

New to Summer Studies? Look for these banners and select them for advice from other parents and students on how to make the most of your 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.