Recurse Center

Diversity and inclusion

Why diversity is important

There are many reasons why diversity is valuable, but there are two reasons why it is especially important to RC.

The first is that it reduces the harmful effects of stereotype threat. We want you to be able to focus on becoming a better programmer, not on being the only person like you in the room. The more diverse RC is, the easier it is for a greater range of people to do that. We focus on diversity so you can focus on programming.

Second, the primary educational value of RC is what Recursers learn from each other. A diverse range of experiences and perspectives is fundamental to everyone's ability to learn generously at RC. If everyone were the same, no one would have anything to learn from each other!

Given all this, it’s unsurprising that RC has gotten better as our community has grown to include more women, trans people, genderqueer people, older people, younger people, parents, and people from a greater range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Learn more about who comes to RC.

Two Recursers pairing

How we build an inclusive and positive environment

We have worked hard to build an environment that is not just productive and educational, but also supportive, friendly, and positive. As part of this, we have four lightweight social rules, including no feigning surprise, no well-actually’s, and no subtle -isms. You can read more in our User’s Manual.

We strive to make every batch as gender and racially diverse as possible, and how we determine batch capacity reflects these goals.

How we build diversity

Need-based living expense grants

The Recurse Center is free for everyone. To date we have disbursed over $1.7 million in need-based living expense grants for women, non-binary people, trans people, and people from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in programming. Unfortunately, we have paused our grants program due to budget concerns -- if we're able to restart it we will update this page.

Recurser working

Our admissions process

Our admissions strategy is to encourage as diverse a pool of applicants as possible, and then hold everyone who applies to the same standard. We do not have different admissions criteria or standards for people from underrepresented groups. No one has ever been denied admission to RC in the name of improving diversity. We accept every person who applies who we believe would benefit from and contribute to RC.

We’re always trying to reduce bias in our admissions process. For example, we generate a random pseudonym for every person who applies. Rather than seeing names like “José Smith” and “Kimberly Lin” while reviewing applications, we see names like “Croissant Wave” and “Representative Mint”, which helps us reduce our unconscious bias when forming our initial impressions.