Independent Immersion Program (IIP)

IIP students at StanfordEach 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.


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