Parent Newsletter - January, 2021

January 2021

From the President

Dear Parents,

As we prepare to embark on spring semester at Wheaton College in the eleventh month of COVID, I have been reflecting on the gifts of patience and resilience, and how they will endure in our students for their productive years of service tomorrow.

With the loss of many traditional routines we love in the Wheaton experience, students will nevertheless have a unique opportunity to live out their vocation. Assistant Provost Sarah Miglio offers these suggestions for your student:

  1. Acknowledge and identify challenges or stressors so they can develop a plan for a faithful semester.
  2. Set goals to address identified challenges. Breaking goals into smaller and less overwhelming steps can help form good daily habits and help students stay the course, such as peer study groups, creating a schedule for studying and meeting class deadlines, using campus resources like the Writing Center, and more.
  3. Prioritize whole person well-being, including spiritual, physical, and social habits alongside academic habits.
  4. Watch for growth and silver linings that emerge.
  5. Partner with staff and faculty for additional support outside the classroom (virtual office hours, Life with God groups, and more).

Our faculty and staff have been preparing campus for another COVID-safe, Thunder-strong semester, and we eagerly anticipate your student’s return the weekend of February 6-7. We will be in touch with you and your student for a positive transition back to campus. Thank you for your prayers.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken

New COVID-19 Testing Options

Student Health Services has been working to get ready for a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong spring semester with new and improved COVID-19 testing options. Great news! Students will no longer need to bring a negative entry test as we will be using our new testing plan when students arrive to campus. Similar to our local school districts, we are partnering with SafeGuard, a local lab that uses RT-LAMP surveillance screening to deliver a “non-diagnostic” but clinically significant result, allowing for same-day detection of a positive result. Now, all undergraduate students will complete this simple at-home saliva test each week based on living location and drop their sample in receptacles placed around campus. Faculty, staff, and graduate students may opt-in to this weekly screen. Athletes and symptomatic students will also be using the SHIELD Illinois system, a saliva PCR test, developed at the University of Illinois. The value of combining these two systems is the protection it affords every student and the campus community with increased accessibility, better monitoring, streamlined results, and improved communication that comes from offering COVID-19 tests on campus. Visit the COVID-19 FAQs site for more information about testing under “Health and Safety.”

For all new and returning spring arrival students, the January 18 deadline for entrance medical requirements is approaching. Please call or email Student Health Services at 630-752-5072 or for any questions or help to complete this State of Illinois requirement.

Spring Semester Move-in Procedures

The Residence Life team is excited to welcome students back for the spring semester. In person classes will begin on Monday, February 8, which means students will be able to move in on Saturday, February 6 or Sunday, February 7 between 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. When students arrive on campus the first thing they will do is go to the Chrouser Sports Complex to take a COVID test and to receive their COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong wristband. Once the test is complete students can move into their campus housing. For testing instructions and to select your arrival time, click here.

Similar to the fall semester, we are encouraging families to take our stop, drop, and go approach. This will allow for a secure drop-off for your student, as well as protection for our community. Unfortunately, like the fall semester, parents and non-Wheaton students will not be allowed in any campus buildings, including student housing.

If students are unable to return on February 6 and 7, please email and let us know about your situation. Find more housing and dining COVID FAQs here.

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is open for appointments for new Spring 2021 students and returning students. Some ways we can support your student:

We can be reached at and welcome students to email us with any questions or concerns.

Parent Prayer Gatherings

Hundreds of parents joined Zoom Parent Prayer Gatherings during the fall semester to pray for their student(s) and Wheaton College. Many who participated said it was a deeply meaningful experience to pray with fellow Wheaton parents. If you were not able to join one of the prayer gatherings this fall, why not jump in this semester? There will be two prayer call opportunities this spring: Thursday, February 25 and Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in all U.S. time zones. More information will be forthcoming, so mark your calendar today! 


On January 7, The CCIW announced schedules for a return to play for winter sports competition. The Thunder sports teams gearing up to play are: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, wrestling, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, men’s indoor track & field and women’s indoor track & field. Due to state and local restrictions, as well as campus visitor policies, no spectators will be allowed at any competition at this time. However, we’re thrilled to let you know Wheaton Athletics is working with each team to have video streams of home competitions for winter sports. Continue to check-in here for updated video links throughout the season.

This fall the Wheaton Athletics Department debuted the Thunder Sports Report (TSR), a weekly podcast on Wheaton sports. The Thunder Sports Report can be found on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Podbean

For complete information on Wheaton’s 21 varsity athletics teams be sure to visit for schedules, recaps, videos and much more. Be sure to follow Thunder Sports on Facebook (, Twitter (@Wheaton Thunder) or Instagram (@Wheaton_Thunder

Study Abroad Opportunities

International educational experiences undertaken with purpose are valuable. By studying abroad, students experience new perspectives, learn how to navigate different cultures, work with diverse peers, and often communicate in other languages. The skills gained through study abroad can help prepare students for future careers and often transform them into more globally aware Christians and engaged citizens. Global Programs complement any major at Wheaton and are offered fall, spring, and summer!

Select anticipated summer 2021 Wheaton faculty-led programs are still accepting applications: Pilgrimage to Santiago and Wheaton in Spain (Deadline:  January 22); FPE Abroad (Deadline:  January 27); Arts in London and Excavation in Tel Shimron (Deadline:  February 12). Summer courses are also anticipated at Wheaton in the Black Hills and Wheaton in the Northwoods.

Fall 2021 applications for Wheaton’s Semester in Jerusalem and approved partner semester study abroad programs are also available. Looking ahead for future semesters? Explore Human Needs & Global Resources (HNGR); international student teaching; and Wheaton in Mexico.

Due to COVID-19 and until further notice, all programs will undergo additional College reviews and approvals regarding viability and safety prior to a final decision on program continuation. (These reviews will be completed in mid-spring for summer 2021 programs and by mid-summer for fall.) Accepted students are advised not to purchase airline tickets until confirmation of final program approval is received.

Students are invited to explore all of the global academic opportunities on the web, through the Virtual Study Abroad Fair and/or with a GPS Team member through virtual office hour appointments.

Humanitarian Disaster Institute - Special Offer!

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College recently launched a new online Spiritual First Aid training and certificate course. Parents can use code WHEATONPARENT at checkout to get full access for just $59 ($99 value)—click here to enroll today. (Bulk discounts are also available for any church, school, team, or organization interested in offering this training.)

This course is designed to help participants offer virtual peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support during COVID-19, disasters, and other challenging times. Through readings, online lectures, role-play videos accompanied by expert commentary, and additional resources, this course equips participants to use Spiritual First Aid’s easy-to-use BLESS method, taking the “guesswork” out of providing disaster, spiritual, and emotional care remotely, while staying at home. Drawing on 15 years of research, the program is designed for lay leaders, church leaders, first responders, and anyone who would like to provide support to those who are struggling during the pandemic. This is the first training to address peer-to-peer support of both spiritual and mental health needs in a fully-online format.

Learn more and enroll using code WHEATONPARENT for $40 off here.

Grad School News

Five Years, Two Degrees

Did you know that your student can get both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years at Wheaton? Download our e-book to learn more about the Accelerated M.A. program, and sign up for a virtual appointment with Graduate Admissions to find out how your student can save money, save time, and graduate with two degrees in five years.

Center for Vocation and Career

While the return to campus is still a few weeks away, students’ attention will soon turn toward the summer (perhaps with some nudging from you), and planning for getting a job or internship will soon be top of mind. The CVC has three practical steps your student can take to move forward, no matter what stage they’re in:

  1. Join a Career Community: With fully-virtual meetings launching the last week of January, this new initiative provides an opportunity for your student to engage with peers in learning from key alumni in a variety of industries. Communities are broken out by several affinities/interests and are designed to create an environment in which students will be introduced to skills they’ll need, steps to pursue internships and jobs, and first-hand insight on what to expect when working in unique industries. Students have received email communication with instructions on how to sign up in Handshake.
  2. Engage our Team: So often, troubleshooting issues on a job application, doing a quick search together to learn new techniques, or having one-on-one focused conversation about where you want to go are just the right motivation to take another step. Our team is ready to help students start or continue the job and internship process.

3. Plug into the Network Around You: It can be easy for students to overlook the connections they have right around them! These connections can come in the form of faculty, family friends, or even through your network as parents, in addition to our amazing alumni. Any steps students can take to continue engaging and building the network around them will serve them long beyond this semester.
Practice Reaching Out and Connecting on LinkedIn
he Questions You Should Ask Your Connections

Refer a Student

Parents can influence the culture and community of Wheaton College simply by referring a potential student. Do you know a high school student who you think would be a great fit at Wheaton? We value your opinion and take every referral seriously. Thanks for helping shape the Wheaton Community!

How can you pray for Wheaton this month?

Wishing you well in the new year,

The Wheaton College Parent Engagement team


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