Recurse Center

Come to RC for a one-week retreat

Update: This experiment was a success! We’ve decided to run more week-long mini retreats in the future, check out this blog post from 1/26/18 for more details.

We’re excited to announce a new experiment at RC: one-week mini retreats!

This winter, we’ll be running two one-week mini retreats at RC. They will overlap with the fall and winter batches, and will be just like the six- and 12-week retreats we run, with the same goals and structure, but shorter.

The first mini retreat will be open exclusively to RC alums, and will run from Monday, December 4th through Friday, December 8th. The second will be open to anyone and will run from Monday, January 8th through Friday, January 12th (coinciding with the first week of the Winter 2 batch).

We don’t know if we’ll host more one-week retreats in the future, so this may be a unique opportunity to join the RC community. If you’ve been interested in RC, but have been struggling to figure out how six or 12 weeks in NYC could fit into your schedule, please apply!

Why are we trying this?

We believe that the community is the most important part of RC, because the primary educational value of RC comes from what Recursers learn from each other. Most of the time that people spend involved with RC is not at the retreat, but in the community as alums, and so we are always looking for ways to make the community even better.

The RC community gets better as it gets bigger and more diverse, and we think mini retreats will help on both fronts. A larger and more diverse RC community means more interesting events and discussions, more people with different backgrounds and experiences to learn from, and a better chance of finding people to collaborate with. There are great people who can’t or won’t do a six- or 12-week batch (for example, due to family or work obligations), but who we would love to have in the RC community. One week mini retreats give us an opportunity to bring some of those people in and enrich RC.

How will it work?

The biggest challenge with mini retreats is that a week isn’t a lot of time for focused, deep work. We’re working on structuring the mini retreats so that everyone can get acclimated and hit the ground running.

There are things you should do too:

  • Spend some time reflecting on how to use your week most effectively
  • Figure out your goals for your time at RC before you get here
  • If there’s a specific project you’ll be working on, spend time working on and thinking about it beforehand
  • Find people to work with using our internal mailing lists and chat system, which you’ll have access to before your batch starts

Because one week is so short, we expect you to commit to spending the full week at RC.

Like many things at RC, mini retreats are an experiment. We’re excited to see how they go, and we’ll be collecting feedback after both retreats to figure out whether we should run more in the future.


The process for applying to a mini retreat is the same as applying to a six- or 12-week retreat. Make sure to choose Mini 1, 2017 (this is only open to, and will only appear to, RC alums) or Mini 1, 2018 from the batch selection drop-down on your application.

  • Alums can submit an application on the reapply page. The application deadline for Mini 1, 2017 is November 27th, and the retreat will start on December 4th.
  • For people new to the community, fill out our normal application. The application deadline for Mini 1, 2018 is December 11th, and the retreat will start on January 8th. RC is free for everyone to attend. New Recursers from groups underrepresented in programming can request a $500 grant for living and travel expenses.

Mini retreats have a higher admissions standard than our regular batches. We’re using the same admissions criteria—we’re looking for people who are self-directed, intellectually curious, friendly, sharp, enjoy programming and want to get dramatically better—but we’ll only admit applicants who show us clear, positive signals on each of these. Specifically, we’re looking for people who have thought about and have promising plans for how to make the most of their short time at RC (see “How will it work?” above).

Normally we can take chances on people and admit them even if we’re not sure they meet all our criteria. Since no admissions process is perfect, this lets us get great people at RC who we might otherwise miss. However, because trying new things is inherently risky and because one week is very little time to get focused and productive, we’re not taking those chances for mini retreats.

As usual, admissions for these batches will be first come first served, and space is limited, so apply soon. We’re looking forward to seeing your application and welcoming you into the RC community!