Applying to RC

We’re running all batches of RC online until further notice. You can read more about that decision on our blog. We have not yet set a date to reopen our space.

We’re glad you’re interested in applying to RC! This page explains our admissions process from start to finish.

The process

Our admissions process has three steps:

  1. A written application
  2. A conversational interview
  3. A pair programming interview

After each step, we decide whether to invite you to the next one. The entire process averages between three and four weeks, though it can take as little as one to two weeks if we are able to review your application quickly and you are efficient about scheduling your interviews.

Retreat information

The written application

The first step of the process is filling out a written application. To help you write the best application possible, you can read about what we look for in Recursers.

On average, we review applications about a week and a half after they’re submitted. We try to prioritize reviewing applications for the nearest batch. When we make a decision, you’ll either receive an invitation to interview, or an email notifying you that we don’t think RC is a fit at this time.

The conversational interview

If you’re invited to interview, you’ll be sent a link to book a time to meet. We try to have slots available at a variety of times on both weekdays and weekends. If none of the available times work for you, please email us at admissions@recurse.com.

This interview is intended to be a general conversation. We want to learn more about your interests as a programmer, what you’re working on, why you want to attend RC, and what you hope to get out of your time here. Conversational interviews typically last between 7 and 20 minutes and are usually conducted over a Zoom video call.

Your interviewer will email you a link to your Zoom call before its scheduled time. If you don’t have a Zoom account, you’ll have to download their software before your call — please plan ahead and do this in advance. If you prefer to use Hangouts, email us at admissions@recurse.com to let us know.

There are no trick questions, and you won’t be expected to program anything. We may ask some technical questions about the code you submitted in your application or projects you’re working on. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask us questions to help you figure out if the Recurse Center is a good fit.

After the conversational interview, your interviewer will decide whether or not to invite you to a second interview. Once they decide, they’ll send you an email to let you know. We’ll try to get a decision to you within four days of your interview, but it’s usually sooner.

If you need accommodations for your interviews (hearing, vision, learning, or otherwise), please email us at admissions@recurse.com after you submit your application.

The pairing interview

For your pairing interview, you’ll share your screen and pair program with an interviewer on some code you’ve written. We use Zoom for screen-sharing. Please make sure you have a Zoom account, or have installed Zoom before your interview. In case Zoom isn't working for one or both parties, please have a Google Hangouts account as a backup. This way you and your interviewer can switch if you have technical difficulties. If you prefer to use Google Hangouts instead of Zoom, email us at admissions@recurse.com to let us know.

Before your interview, you’ll write a program that fulfills one of our pairing interview programming tasks or a program of your own creation, and put your code in a Gist. Use a programming language you are comfortable with.

Our goal in this interview is not to get the task done. We really want to learn what it’s like to work with you. This is easiest if you select a task which is within your abilities but not trivial for you. A few things to keep in mind while choosing a task:

  • Walking us through a problem you know cold tells us nothing about how you debug, test, take suggestions, think about design, or act when you’re confused.
  • Conversely, attempting an overly large or complicated task might mean that we don’t get very much code written, which also makes it hard for us to evaluate the interview.
  • Preparing for the interview is not cheating! We expect you to come in with an idea of how to proceed. If you want to choose an interesting task and read up on it first, that’s totally fine, but...
  • Please don’t “practice” by implementing or memorizing the solution in advance – we’ve seen people walk through pre-written code before. While it’s not a deal-breaker in itself, it greatly reduces your odds of success because it makes it much harder to get the information we need to admit you.
  • Please don’t make heavy use of tutorials or frameworks. Often, using a framework involves a lot of incantations and boilerplate just to get things up and running. It is possible to learn the incantations without knowing much about programming. Like practicing implementing the task beforehand, this also makes it much harder for us to get the information we need to admit you. If you submit a program from scratch that uses a framework or library, but the task you're doing during pairing is largely independent of boilerplate, that's fine.
  • Read through the tasks even if you intend to submit your own project; they’re good examples of what’s feasible to tackle in 20 minutes. Remember you will need some extra time to acquaint your interviewer with your code, so please think about how to do this in advance.

After the pairing interview, your interviewers will get together and decide whether or not to admit you. You’ll either receive an invitation to confirm your batch, or an email notifying you that we don’t think RC is a fit at this time. As with the conversational interview, we’ll try to get a decision to you within four days of your interview.

Retreat length

Our retreats last for 12 weeks, with the option of attending a six-week half-batch.

If you apply and are admitted to RC, you can choose to attend any upcoming six or 12 week retreat that has space, regardless of the retreat or length you applied for.

We used to offer one-week mini retreats, but have paused them indefinitely. You can read more about why on our blog.

When to apply

Applications are always open, and a new batch begins every six weeks. Applications for a batch typically open about six months before the batch starts, and close about two weeks before the batch begins, or when the batch is full, depending on which happens first.

Note: We’re running all batches of RC online until further notice. All batches listed below will be open to remote attendance, regardless of when we open our space.

We do not yet know when exactly we will be able to reopen, but as soon as we do we will announce it on our blog and update this page: if you're reading this message, we have not yet set a date. When we do reopen for in-person attendance, we will continue to offer remote attendance if we determine it's feasible to do so.

Here is the schedule of upcoming batches:

Batch
Dates
Accepting applications
Notes
Fall 1, 2022
Aug 8th - Oct 28th
Yes
This batch will not be in session on Monday, September 5th in observance of Labor Day.
Fall 2, 2022
Sep 19th - Dec 9th
Yes
This batch will not be in session on Tuesday, November 8th in observance of Election Day; and Wednesday, November 23rd - Friday, November 25th in observance of Thanksgiving.

Please don’t apply to multiple batches if you’re not sure when you want to attend. Just submit one application for the batch you’re most likely to attend. If you’re admitted, you’ll have the option to choose a different one.

Our batches sometimes reach capacity, especially close to their start dates. Read more about how we determine batch capacity.

Feedback

We don’t give individualized admissions feedback when we reject someone. This page explains why.

Reapplying

You’re welcome to reapply, but you must wait at least three months after the decision on your previous application. It’s not uncommon for us to admit people who we had previously rejected. In fact, 6% of all Recursers applied at least twice before being admitted. If you do reapply, we care most about seeing what’s changed since the last time you applied.

If you have any questions about the admissions process that aren’t answered on this page, please email us at admissions@recurse.com.