Requirements for Duke TIP SAT Scores

You may have read our article about Duke’s Talent Identification Program (TIP), heard about it from other students, or conducted your research. You’ve listened to vague hints about “score requirements,” but you’re not sure what that means—do you have to take the SAT to participate in TIP? How well do you need to score on the SAT to become a TIPster? (I refuse to believe that TIP participants do not go by this moniker.)

There are SAT (or ACT) score requirements for the Duke TIP, specifically for Summer Studies programs and eStudies courses, as well as for other courses offered via the university. I’ll go over this complicated topic in great detail, explaining what the programs are, the SAT score requirements, and how you can meet these requirements.

UPDATE 2021: Duke is revamping the TIP Program.

After canceling the summer residential 2020 programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, Duke announced in March 2021 that it is transitioning and reimagining its TIP program.

In the absence of residential programs in the summer of 2021, interested families with children in grades 6-8 can take advantage of virtual course options through Duke University Youth Programs this summer. Duke University Pre-College Program also offers virtual summer classes for grades 9-12.

The TIP program, as previously announced, will not be reinstated after 2021, but Duke will begin looking into “new ways to identify students and facilitate their access to these enrichment programs.” Details on future programs are not yet available, but Duke expects to make more announcements in the coming months. More information about the TIP program’s relaunch can be found here.

The Lay of the Land: TIP Program Types and Eligibility

The eStudies program has the lowest SAT/ACT score requirements of all the programs with SAT/ACT score requirements, followed by the Academy for Summer Studies, which is in the middle, and the Center for Summer Studies, the most common stringent. These are not the same as the 7th Grade Talent Search test requirements.

How do you know if you qualify for Summer Studies programs or eStudies courses?

TIP bases your eligibility on your SAT or ACT scores. You will take (or will take) the SAT or ACT as part of the 7th Grade Talent Search if you participate(d) (read more about this in my upcoming guide). The results of this testing will determine your eligibility for Summer Studies and/or eStudies courses.

Don’t worry—if your scores aren’t high enough to get you into the program(s) you want, you can always retest.

If you took the SAT or ACT as a 7th grader, you could still apply for the 7th Grade Talent Search; use the paper application and include an official SAT/ACT score report. If you did not participate in the 7th Grade Talent Search, you could still attend Summer Studies and eStudies courses through the 8th-10th Grade Option, which I will cover in another article.

For the time being, I’ll only discuss the SAT score requirements for 7th and 8th -10th graders who participated (or will participate) in the 7th Grade Talent Search and are interested in attending Duke TIP Summer Studies and eStudies courses.

Duke TIP Scores: The Details

I’ve separated the requirements for what you need to do to get into the Center for Summer Studies, the Academy for Summer Studies, and eStudies courses and ordered them from highest to lowest score requirements in order to make it easier for anyone in the future who is figuring out what they need to do to get into those programs. Hopefully, it will be easier to read and understand because all of the scores will be in one blog post rather than scattered across a website.

As you will see below, the requirements differ depending on whether you take the SAT during seventh grade as part of the seventh Grade Talent Search or later on (between 8th and 10th grades).

SAT Prerequisites: eStudies

What exactly are the Duke TIP eStudies courses? The eStudies program, according to the Duke TIP website, offers online courses in a variety of subjects to “seventh through eleventh graders who have achieved certain qualifying scores on the ACT or SAT.”

The eStudies courses tend to have the lowest score requirements of any Duke TIP course. Which courses you can take are determined by your SAT scores—qualifying Math scores allow you to take eStudies courses in all units except Humanities, while qualifying Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores allow you to take eStudies courses in all subjects except Mathematics.

So, which e-Studies courses do you qualify for? To find out, use this handy table!

If you took the SAT in…

And scored…

You are eligible for…
7th grade ≥ 480 on Math eStudies Math*
≥ 480 on EBRW eStudies Verbal**
8th grade ≥ 520 in Math eStudies Math
≥ 520 on EBRW eStudies Verbal
9th grade ≥ 560 on Math eStudies Math
≥ 560 on EBRW eStudies Verbal
10th grade ≥ 600 on Math eStudies Math
≥ 600 on EBRW eStudies Verbal


What if I just barely miss it?

According to their website, students who narrowly missed qualifying, are too old, or missed the enrollment duration for Duke TIP’s 7th Grade Talent Search can still join Duke TIP through the 8th-10th Grade Option. Unfortunately, they do not define “narrowly,” so it is difficult to know when you should consider the 8th-10th Grade Option.

What is true is that you can always retest on your own if you do not meet the score requirements for eStudies courses or if you require a higher score to attend the Academy or Center for Summer Studies.

Academy for Summer Studies SAT Score Requirement

The Duke TIP Academy for Summer Studies provides summer classes to eligible students in grades 7-10, including “interactive, inquiry-based studying that challenges them to think seriously about themselves and their world.”

How do you know if your SAT results are high enough to be accepted into the Summer Studies Academy? Consult the tables below to determine the minimum scores required to enroll in the Academy Math or Academy Verbal courses. If you…, you are eligible for the Duke TIP Academy for Summer Studies Math classes.


Center for Summer Studies SAT Score Requirement

The Center for Summer Studies is also another summer program offered by Duke TIP; the Center and the Academy differ in the intensity of the courses as well as the stringency and specificity of the score requirements.

We’ve compiled information from the TIP website into a simpler, easier-to-understand format once more, dividing information for 7th-10th graders into two separate tables (one for Center Math courses and one for Center Verbal courses).

Duke TIP Score Requirements: A Few Closing Thoughts

You may only apply for Summer Studies courses at the level for which you are qualified. This means that you can’t apply to the Center for Summer Studies if your score qualifies you for Academy courses, but you also can’t apply to the Academy for Summer Studies if your score is higher than their score requirements—you must instead apply to the Center for Summer Studies.

Duke TIP has to say the following about their target requirements on their Test Prep page:

“We do not advise that students spend a significant amount of time preparing for the exam. Above-grade-level testing is intended to be diagnostic, and many test preparation programs simply make students anxious. We know that the best way to prepare is to become familiar with the test structure and timing of each section, as well as to review the practice queries, we provide, so that you are aware on what to expect and are at ease on test day.”

[Source: Test Prep | Duke TIP. Accessed 2019-07-19.]

And, look, if you’re in 7th or 8th grade and taking the SAT, you don’t have to worry about getting a SAT score that will admit you into college.

In fact, there’s a series of articles that extrapolate from data from Duke TIP and John Hopkins CTY to determine what a good SAT score for a 7th and 8th grader might be.

However, if you are taking the SAT in high school, you should consider whether you will be applying to any colleges that require all SAT scores to be sent (because the College Board saves all SAT scores from 9th grade onward), and if so, what target score you should aim for. We also have information on what might be considered a good score for ninth and tenth graders.

How Am I Going to Meet the Requirements? 4…SUGGESTIONS (you knew that was coming)

#1: Spend some time preparing.

However, even though I just mentioned the Duke TIP website, which states the inverse, let’s be honest: you’ll need some test preparation at the very least.

  • This is not to say that you should enroll in any kind of SAT prep course; rather, you should familiarize yourself with the SAT’s structure and timing.
  • You should take a practice test to see where you stand, and then use that information to determine how much you need to improve to meet the requirements for your desired program.
  • Determine how much time you have to study so that you can plan your preparation accordingly. If you only have a few weeks until the SAT, you should study more hours per week than if you have several months.
  • For more information, see our articles about taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grade for more guidance.

#2: Take the SAT as soon as you can while still feeling prepared.

If you take the SAT early in your academic career, you will have a lower scoring criterion to meet (compare the 7th grade vs 8th -10th grade requirements for eStudies, Academy, and Center courses). However, if you’ve spent time preparing, it’s worth it to take the exam as soon as possible rather than later. (Don’t roll your eyes at your younger siblings, they’re probably right.)

#3: Concentrate on a standout test section if you have one.
Unlike most colleges and universities, Duke TIP allows you to apply to its various programs even if you only perform well on one section of the SAT.

  •  Own it if you find yourself in the 300s on the SAT Math section but in the 400s on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.
  • According to the preceding example, unless you have a specific Math course that you are particularly interested in taking, it is preferable to invest your time in ensuring that you can regularly achieve scores above the EBRW requirement rather than striving to boost all of your scores at once.

#4: Understand the appropriate SAT strategies for your level.

If you merely need to score above a 560 on a portion, advice for earning an 800 on that section may not be applicable.

  • For example, if you want to score a 600 on the exam, you can completely skip the hardest 20% of the questions and concentrate solely on answering as many of the easy questions correctly as you can during the exam..
  • More targeted strategies like this can be found in our article on aiming for a 600 on the SAT.

I hope this essay has cleared up any misunderstandings you may have had about the SAT score requirements for Duke TIP. Check out the ACT variant of this essay if you’re thinking about taking the ACT instead.