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 at Stanford and Johns Hopkins

Qualified sophomores and juniors favoring a shorter program of studies in the IIP participated (2014–2016) 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 resided on campus and participated in evening and weekend programming offered to other high-school students enrolled in the highly selective Pre-Collegiate Studies Program.

In 2016, sophomores and juniors also began enrolling at Johns Hopkins University to study for 5 weeks in a similar program, complete with weekend activities. Students enroll on the Homewood Campus and earn college credit for both coursework and their independent studies completed while at Hopkins.

In these two summer programs, IIP students have studied subjects that include the influence of social media on the recruitment process of 5-star athletes; the implementation of water sanitation in developing countries; using mesh networks to transfer packets of information between cell phones using wireless signals; food safety in China as a human right; protocols for overseeing the return of concussed students to the classroom; 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; abstract impressionism used as propaganda in the 1940s and '50s; photojournalism; Dissociative Identity Disorder; and the use of nanotechnology in treating glioblastoma.

As the IIP director explores new university partnerships, consideration is 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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