Independent Immersion Program (IIP)
Each year, following interviews and a review of applications by the Independent Immersion Program faculty, a select group of students is accepted into the IIP. Under the supervision of the director and a faculty mentor, students create unique programs of study which include intensive independent studies with on- and off-campus professionals, internships, and traditional course work.
Students accepted into the IIP must display the motivation and maturity necessary to work independently. They are released from the traditional academic graduation requirements and are given the time, facilities, and adult guidance to pursue their central interest and engage in an ongoing, cross-disciplinary conversation about their studies with other students enrolled in the program. This program, unique among independent schools, is based on the belief that if students are allowed to focus on a deep interest, their inquiries will lead them naturally into related fields, creating individualized distributions of studies which grow like branches from the roots of a central passion.
Because the IIP was established more than 40 years ago, it is well-known by colleges and universities across the country, and its alumni are frequently accepted by their first-choice schools.
IIP Now at Stanford and Johns Hopkins
Qualified sophomores and juniors who favor a shorter program of studies in the IIP may apply to participate in an 8-week program of independent scholarship while enrolled in no more than two undergraduate courses offered by Stanford University for college credit. In addition, Stanford IIP students reside on campus and participate in evening and weekend programming offered to other high-school students enrolled in the highly selective Pre-Collegiate Studies Program.
Five students participated the summer of 2014 in the pilot program, researching topics that included the influence of social media on the recruitment process of 5-star athletes; the implementation of water sanitation in developing countries; food safety in China as a human right; and protocols for overseeing the return of concussed students to the classroom. Four accepted students enrolled at Stanford in 2015 to study the difference between how Native Americans understand their history and what is taught in U.S. schools; the relationship between language and thought; the phenomenon of "left home workers" in China; and abstract impressionism used as propaganda in the 1940s and '50s. Four more students attended in 2016.
Also in 2016, sophomores and juniors also began applying to study for 5 weeks in a similar program at Johns Hopkins University, complete with weekend activities. Students enroll on the Homewood Campus and have the opportunity to earn college credit for both coursework and their independent studies completed while at Hopkins. Students who enrolled studied photojournalism and Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Consideration is always given to incorporate new self-directed learning opportunities into the academic program at Lawrence Academy.
For More Information
To learn more about the Independent Immersion Program, contact Andrew J. Brescia.
- Q. What guidance do IIP students receive?
A. In addition to their normal advisor, students enrolled in the IIP are guided by a faculty sponsor and professional contact. Read More >
- Q. Do students in the IIP receive grades?
A. IIP students do not receive letter grades. Read More >
- Q. How do students in the IIP fare in the college admissions process?
A. The IIP, originally called Lawrence II, was founded in 1972 and enjoys an excellent track record with respect to college admissions. Read More >
- Q. What are the special requirements of IIP students?
A. If admitted to the program, students are required to describe their plans in a document called the IIP Contract. Read More >
- Q. Is enough structure provided for IIP students?
A. The IIP is not for every student. If students or parents are ambivalent about “too much free time,” they should not apply to this program. Read More >
- Q. What are the criteria for admission to the program?
A. Student applicants from within the LA community complete and submit an application form to the IIP director in early May. Student applicants from outside the LA community must go through a modified application process— substituting parts of the usual application form with the IIP application. Read More >
- Q. What have IIP students studied in recent years?
A. Within the past few years, students at Lawrence Academy have studied (in some cases for two years in the IIP) in the following fields: film/video, marine biology, visual arts, performance theatre, international affairs, creative writing, and a variety of subjects in music that include ethnomusicology, music composition, and voice.
Read More >
For more information about the Independent Immersion Program, please contact its director, Andrew Brescia.