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. RC therefore requires a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. 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.
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.
How we build diversity
Need-based living expense grants
The Recurse Center is free for everyone, and we offer need-based living expense grants for women, trans people, and people from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in programming.
You’re eligible for a grant if you identify as a woman (cis or trans), trans*, genderqueer, non-binary, Black, Latinx, Native American, or Pacific Islander. Since the Recurse Center is free for everyone, the grants are intended to be used for living expenses during your batch. You can use your grant for housing, food, childcare, or anything else you need during your time here. For a 12-week batch you may request a grant of between $500 and $7,000. For a six-week batch you may request a grant of between $500 and $3,500. For a one-week batch you may request a grant of $500.
You can request a grant when you apply by checking a box on your application to indicate you need financial assistance. When you confirm for a batch, you will be able to submit the amount of money you need to attend, and to provide a brief explanation of why you need a grant. We will follow up no later than two weeks before your batch starts to let you know if your grant has been approved.
We unfortunately cannot guarantee that you will receive a grant if you request one. Our budget is limited, and we always receive more grant requests than we can accommodate. This means we have to make difficult decisions about allocating funding. Sometimes we can't fulfill a grant request at all, or can only fulfill a partial grant request.
If you can't afford to come to RC without the full amount of money you requested, you're welcome to defer to a later batch, or come to RC for six weeks instead of 12. We evaluate grant requests about three weeks before batches begin, to get as clear of an idea of the total requests for the batch as possible. If you confirm for a batch that begins in less than three weeks, we may not have any grant money left for that batch.
You will receive your grant during your first two weeks at RC.
Please contact us if you’re interested in supporting diversity and sponsoring grants at the Recurse Center.
Our admissions process
Our admissions strategy is to encourage and create 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.
Grant requests are hidden from interviewers, and are not taken into consideration during our admissions process.
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.