Parent Newsletter - October, 2020

October 2020


From the President 

Philip G. Ryken President Wheaton College IL

Dear Parents,

We are halfway through our first ever COVID-safe, Thunder-strong semester, with six more weeks to go before students return home for an extended Thanksgiving/Christmas break. The coronavirus has brought opportunities as well as challenges, calling for maximum campus collaboration.

We see evidence of God’s favor in the continued low incidence of active COVID-19 cases on campus. We see it as well in the network of faculty, staff, and student leaders who are guiding students into God-honoring engagement with the national elections that threaten to divide us.

Last weekend over 500 alumni from 45 states and 19 nations met remotely through our online “Homecoming at Home.” The whole event—reunions, music, sports, and worship—was held online, including Dr. Sarah Borden’s Chapel talk as a representative of the Class of 1995. But the spiritual community was real as our graduates testified to God’s ongoing grace in their lives after Wheaton.

Thank you for your continued prayers for your student and for Wheaton College.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken
Philip Ryken

Academic Advising

Midterms and finals can be a stressful time for students as they prepare for exams and final projects. Wheaton College has several support services and resources available to students including:

Parent Engagement

Will you pray with us? Join the second Zoom Parent Prayer Gathering to rejoice, pray, and give thanks to God for all He has done, and will continue to do throughout the fall semester. Calls will occur on Tuesday, October 13 from 7-8 p.m. in all U.S. time zones. Registration will close Sunday, October 11 at midnight. Register now.

Throughout the fall semester, Parent Engagement, in partnership with the Alumni Association, will be showering students with sweet treats to let them know they are appreciated and loved. On Tuesday, September 29, 300 cups of “Thunder Strong” ice cream were given away. This was a flavor specially created for Wheaton College by Kimmer’s Ice Cream, a local ice cream shop. Upon receiving ice cream, many students exclaimed, “This makes my day!” Encourage your student(s) to be on the lookout for future “sweet” giveaways!

Conservatory of Music

Despite the challenges of arranging socially distanced Covid-safe music and performance opportunities the arts continue at Wheaton! The Conservatory of Music faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to create music specific protocols to eliminate the risk of Covid spread during ensemble practice and studio classes. In addition to social distancing, outdoor rehearsals, mask wearing, and diligent cleaning, music students participate in regular Covid testing.

Just in time to maximize learning spaces for our students, construction on the Armerding Center for Music and the Arts Concert Hall, Choral Rehearsal Room, and Grand Lobby were completed. In addition to rehearsals and performances a student might have Spanish or a Bible class in these new spaces, check out the first glimpse tour here. Students of all majors have been able to enjoy our newest building on campus.

You are invited to tune in to the virtual concerts and other livestreamed events. The ensemble concerts can be viewed on our YouTube Channel and the Artist Series fall concerts are being streamed for FREE with registration here.

Center for Vocation and Career

Things are looking a little different this year, but one thing is the same. Food brings students. The Center for Vocation and Career’s Taco Tuesday series is back and the career exploration has already begun. At these events, students get to “meet” with young alumni who will help students learn how to take their liberal arts education to a wide range of careers, complete with a meal from a favorite local Mexican restaurant.

On several Tuesdays throughout the school year, 30+ students will enjoy a burrito (they pack better than tacos) dinner and a discussion with five or six young alumni who share their personal wisdom for launching a career in their industry.

Now in its sixth year, this year’s Taco Tuesdays will feature careers in:

No matter where your student is in their discernment process, a Taco Tuesday can be a great venue for them to learn more about the many ways they can serve Christ and His Kingdom.

Student Financial Services

It is FAFSA time!

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available. Parents and students will be providing 2019 income tax information. Wheaton College recommends using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA which transfers tax data directly from the IRS. Go to to file.

Illinois residents: Submit the FAFSA on or before December 1, 2020 to be considered for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant.

Review your student’s account.

2021 Spring Registration starts early November. Account balances must be paid or covered through a payment plan before students can register for future terms, request transcripts or receive diplomas. Please make sure that all expected financial aid has disbursed. If expected aid has not disbursed (shows as Estimated Aid), have your student check for any outstanding financial aid requirements in their student portal.

COVID-19 Let’s Get Checked charges.

Students that ordered a COVID-19 test kit through Let’s Get Checked have had the kit charge added to their student account. All students were emailed on October 1 with information and links to forms to request reimbursement from Cares Act funds if they filed a 2020/21 FAFSA (eligible for Title IV financial aid) or, Wheaton’s Hardship Relief fund for F1 Visa students. We are blessed to have these funds available for students whose insurance will not cover the required tests.

Students that have been approved for weekly testing have been notified separately.

For families looking for detailed receipts to submit to their insurance or flexible spending plan, please email Student Health Services at and make sure that you include your student’s name and student ID number in your request.

Not getting the monthly eBill notices?

Students need to grant parent access to information related to their student accounts in their Student Billing and Payment Gateway Profile under Authorized Users. Parents will receive two automated emails with login information which will allow access to account activity, on-line payments and payment plans. It is recommended that parents and students log in to the Billing and Payment Gateway at least once each month when the eBill notices are sent to review their accounts. Authorized Users log in here.

Please direct questions to Student Financial Services at or 630.752.5700.

Connect with the Graduate School Online.

Perhaps your student has been prayerfully considering enrolling in one of Wheaton’s 20+ graduate degrees or certificates. The best way to discern whether Wheaton’s grad programs are right for your student is for them to schedule a visit with admissions and our expert faculty mentors.

As we work to maintain the “Wheaton Bubble,” the Office of Graduate Admissions is hosting online faculty webinars, information sessions, and personal visits to help prospective students explore our programs virtually. Your son or daughter can learn about our accelerated M.A. programs, hear from professors, meet admissions counselors, and connect with current graduate students when they sign up for a visit today!

Learn more and sign up here.

Office of Christian Outreach

We were overjoyed at the response to the De-Stress Basket fundraiser! We are filled with hope that in this challenging season, many parents were reaching out through this avenue not only to show love to their students, but also to friends of their students. This kind of generosity helps to remind students that they are a part of a large and supportive community, even if at a distance. Thanks to your generous gifts and a few collaborating departments on campus, we are sending out over 500 Destress Baskets. Thank you for opening your hearts to students!

As a heads up, our student leaders are gearing up to begin recruitment and interviewing for our anticipated 8-10 week summer 2021 trips, operated through our three summer programs:  Global Urban PerspectivesStudent Ministry Partners, and Youth Hostel Ministry. In addition to these, Breakaway Ministry will also be sending teams on short 1-2 week trips after the school year ends. If one of these student-led programs had an impact on you, please let us know and we would be glad to share your story with our student leaders as they seek to recruit and impact student lives! Email with your OCO story.

Finally, please email our office if you have any questions about upcoming anticipated summer 2021 trips. Applications are going live on October 15, 2020. Visit the pages linked above to learn more and pray with us that the Lord opens doors this summer for students.

Residence Life

Community and relationships are forming despite masks and social distancing. Recently, students received an email from Residence Life encouraging them to check in with their roommates, do a temperature check on their relationships, and discuss any adjustments they would like to see happen. We encourage open conversations so that unmet expectations do not fester and grow. As a parent, you know that working through conflict is a needed lifelong skill.

Students will begin to notice educational bulletin boards around their residences, supporting planned campus programming around the upcoming election. Our desire is to educate and prepare students on how to navigate this election season from a Christian perspective. We encourage students to honor each other as they dialogue across differences and engage in conversations from a posture of humility and conviction.

If your student is interested in serving the Wheaton community next year by being a resident assistant, applications will be available on October 22nd. Lastly, campus housing will close on Saturday, November 21st at 5pm as students head home to complete the fall semester remotely. Wheaton will offer housing and dining beyond November 21st for only a select group of students who need to remain on campus (i.e. students served by the International Student Programs office, student teachers, engineering and nursing students, etc.). A request link will be available in the middle of October on the COVID FAQ page. Students will also receive an email with this information.

Campus Store

The campus store is pleased to announce that merchandise featuring the new Wheaton College logo is available for purchase in-store and on our website. T-Shirts, Mugs, Decals, and more are now available for curbside pickup or home delivery!


Please be aware of our new application deadlines.  If you have a high school senior or transfer student, or you know a student who would be a good fit for Wheaton, please encourage them to apply to Wheaton. 

How can you pray for Wheaton this month?

We are grateful for our parent community and thankful for your involvement and prayers,

The Wheaton College Parent Engagement team