Recurse Center

You can now attend RC Retreat for six weeks

David Albert

Starting today, you can now come to RC Retreat for a six-week-long half-batch.

As RC has grown, it has become more apparent that one of the best parts of RC is the alumni community. One alum even described RC as “the world’s best programming community with a three-month onboarding process in New York.” The RC community gets better as it grows, and we want to make sure that our community is open to as many smart, curious programmers as possible. One way to do this is to lower the time commitment required to join the RC community.

For the past four and a half years RC batches have been three months long. We think there are people who would make awesome additions to the RC community who can’t commit to spending three months in New York, and we hope six-week half-batches will allow at least some of them to join us.

While three-month batches have worked well, we don’t think there’s anything special about three months. We want to experiment with allowing people to come to RC for both shorter and longer amounts of time. Half-batches are a good place to start because it easily fits in with how RC is currently scheduled.


Like much of what we do at RC, half-batches are an experiment, and we do not know how well they will work. RC’s radically self-directed environment can sometimes be hard for people to get used to, and having half as much time as normal may make things more difficult. If you come to RC for a half-batch, we think it’s especially important to be focused and intentional about what your goals are and how you spend your time.

On the other hand, it’s possible that being at RC for six weeks will actually be a better experience for some people. Constraints are often productive, and the urgency of being at RC for a shorter time may help some Recursers find their path faster.


To apply, select “Half batch (six weeks)” under “Duration” on our apply page. You will go through the same admissions process as if you were applying for a full batch. If you are admitted, you will attend the first six weeks of whatever batch you select. You can switch from a half-batch to a full-batch at any time, space permitting. All you have to do is tell us.

RC offers need-based grants for women and people from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in programming. Since RC Retreat is free to attend, the grants are intended to be used for cost of living expenses. Grants for a half-batch of RC are between $500 and $3,500.

A note for newer programmers

If you are relatively new to programming, have not programmed professionally before, and would like to get a programming job after RC, you should consider either doing RC Start or a full batch of RC Retreat.

The most important thing you can do as a new programmer is give yourself enough time to learn. While you can make a lot of progress in six weeks, it’s probably not enough to go from relatively inexperienced to being ready to program professionally. Even twelve weeks is not a lot of time when you’re starting out. Forcing yourself to go through the stress of a premature job search makes it harder to focus on becoming a better programmer, right when that’s what you need most to get a job.

Joining the RC community is a great way to get help becoming a professional programmer: we have an active, friendly community of over 700 alumni who can give advice, code review, and help you get unstuck. Our goal with half-batches is to lower the commitment required to join the RC community, not to help people become professional programmers in six weeks.

What is RC Retreat

RC Retreat is a free, self-directed, educational retreat in New York City for people who want to get better at programming. People come to RC from all over the world to become better programmers, whether they’ve been programming professionally for 30 years or just started programming six months ago. Between RC Start and RC Retreat, there’s a place for you in the RC community no matter how long you’ve been programming.

RC has lightweight social rules that help everyone focus on programming, an integrated research lab trying to discover better ways of computing, and a residents program where especially accomplished programmers with deep expertise spend one or two weeks at RC working with Recursers.

If this post hasn’t convinced you to apply, check out our about page, our FAQ, and our User’s Manual, and email us if you have any questions.