When we connect the rigorous intellectual culture around the Harkness table to outstanding experiential opportunities, we deepen understanding, reinforce self-confidence, spawn creativity, and teach initiative

Learning Opportunities

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  • Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs

    The Lawrenceville School is dedicated to ensuring that every student has a meaningful and authentic experience abroad, which is tied to our curriculum, service programs or other co-curricular initiatives. Inherent in such a program is a desire to help make our students more aware of global issues and different cultures, as well as stress the importance of establishing personal connections to others around the world. The ultimate goal of the international program is to help create more responsible, global citizens through a creative and holistic approach to learning. The School offers many different opportunities for students to travel, conduct research, or learn a language in various international settings. Recent destinations include China, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Japan, France, Peru, Nicaragua, Ghana, the Galapagos, Great Britain, South Africa and Tanzania. Language immersion trips, where students reside with host families in foreign countries, are also available. Students achieve a level of language mastery virtually impossible to attain in an English-speaking environment or classroom education only. The program provides students opportunities to grow in responsibility, self-reliance, and tolerance as they face the challenges of living abroad.
  • The Island School (Semester Program*)


    Located on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, The Island School offers new ways for Third Formers to grow, explore, and challenge themselves. A semester-long broad program in tropical marine science, English literature, history, anthropology, studio arts, and mathematics allow students to integrate classroom learning with practical primary research. Students learn to build a living community together, increase their awareness about marine and island environment, support the local community through outreach in the Eleuthera school system and use and teach sustainable living technologies.  
  • University of Pennsylvania’s School Participatory Action Research Collaborative (SPARC)

    SPARC is a research consortium among faculty and students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and school leaders, faculty and students at a cohort of leading independent schools. Through this collaboration, student insights and voices are systematically mobilized to improve school culture, policy, and practice. SPARC ensures that diverse groups of students engage in research that explores issues such as gender, relationships, and identity at their respective schools. Research topics have included “Perceptions of Beauty Across Skin Tones,” “Socioeconomic Status and Tutoring,” “Diversity in the Lawrenceville Curriculum,” and “Academic Stress.”  SPARC is offered as a Winter term co-curricular program, with a sports exemption, for twelve students. Contact the Science Department for more information.

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  • Cum Laude Society

    The Lawrenceville chapter of Cum Laude, the high school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa, recognizes superior academic achievement. A student may be elected in the spring of the Fifth Form year.
  • Green Campus Initiative

    The Lawrenceville School’s Green Campus Initiative takes a holistic approach to campus sustainability. The initiative focuses on campus energy, materials, land, and water use, applying methods that promote ecological literacy, sustainability education and involve the broader community outside of the school. The Lawrenceville School’s environment makes an aesthetic impression on those who come to campus while simultaneously presenting a pedagogical mission. The campus in particular, with the legacy of alumnus Aldo Leopold and foundational landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted, provides unique educational opportunities for students and the local community. In the spring of 2012 the School began to draw its energy from its Solar Farm, which consists of a nearly 30-acre, net metered, 6.1 megawatt solar facility, giving students an up-close look at alternative energy. As a result, students, faculty, staff, and citizens who work, learn, and live on and around campus can gain a new dimension to their learning experience, and an increased appreciation of the natural world.
  • Outdoor Leadership

    This program promotes development of personal leadership characteristics and skills. Students examine the moral, ethical and interpersonal aspect of student leadership. They examine their strengths and limitations in a leadership capacity and develop a more profound understanding of characteristics of effective leadership.

Hutchins Scholars


The Hutchins Scholars Program provides Lawrenceville’s most committed student scientists with substantive summer research experiences entering their Fourth and Fifth Form years, preparing them for leading university science programs and science-related careers. The Hutchins Program, which includes opportunities in the U.S. and overseas, provides need-based financial aid to qualifying Scholars and is made possible through the generosity of Glenn '73 and Debbie Hutchins.

Heely Scholars

American History

The Heely Scholars Program begins with a two-week boarding seminar in archival research for rising Fifth Formers who have demonstrated a keen interest and ability in the study of American history. The program introduces students to primary research from the School’s collection and local research institutions, addressing topics that place Lawrenceville within the historic context of national and global events. Heely Scholars are subsequently enrolled in an Advanced Research Seminar to expand their summer research into a senior thesis.

Independent Studies

A student with special interests may apply to the Dean of Academics to further explore a subject outside the regular curriculum. The student must apply to drop one course to use the time for an independent study. These projects are treated exactly like regular course work-a final grade is given, and the student meets regularly with a faculty adviser. Occasionally, the project may include work off campus.

Students may apply to participate in projects off campus, such as working as an elementary school tutor, a hospital volunteer, an apprentice in an architectural firm, or an aide in a law office.

Below are examples of some independent study projects.

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  • Advantages/Disadvantages of a Vegan Diet

    The purpose of this independent study is to gain a greater understanding and awareness of what I consume, and ultimately to encourage others to question and consider the implications of their food choices. More specifically, I wish to examine the advantages and disadvantages of a vegan diet. The usefulness emerges from the broader perspectives we have the opportunity to gain as a community and as individuals. A focus is taken on the ethical and cultural aspects of diets lacking and containing animal products.
  • Design for Social Change

    A project we did in my Design for Social Change class sparked an interest in how inventors carry their products to the market. I have always wanted to know how this process works and what it takes to bring an invention to market. So throughout the nine weeks of the term I will learn how to get a patent, how to contact companies about manufacturing a product, and how much the whole process will cost. By the end of the term, I plan on having an actual prototype of my invention, the Camalbak Pillow.
  • First-generation Immigrant Women in France

    My independent study examines first-generation immigrant women in France from the Maghreb region of Africa, Algeria in particular, through the mediums of literature and films. First-generation Maghrebi women, more so than men, are torn between the two cultures, struggling with religion, sexuality, and gender roles. While this may be true of many immigrant groups, it is especially interesting and insightful to look at the perspective of an often suppressed minority within a minority, whose culture is almost radically different from that of France.
  • Justice & Public Policy

    My interest for studying the ethics of law came from my final US history paper on the Citizens United case of 2010. In my paper, I examined the precepts of the law, outlined different opinions on the issue, and came up with my own opinion of the validity of the Supreme Court decision. Through my independent study, I hope to get a better sense of what constitutes a just law by studying three prominent ethical platforms: utilitarianism, rights based ethics, and virtue ethics. After building this foundation, I plan to read the decisions of other controversial court cases and analyze various arguments of lawmakers and justices by categorizing them under the three ethical philosophies highlighted above.
  • Origins of Magic Realism

    In my independent study, I am building on what I learned in a Magic Realism Honors Spanish elective I took last spring by broadening my understanding of the origins of Magic Realism and how it has been modified and interpreted by various authors. I am tracing the development of the genre Magic Realism over time, beginning with a novel by Alejo Carpentier, who is considered the “father” of Magic Realism, and ending with more modern novels and short stories. In the Magic Realism elective, we read only short stories because we did not have time to read novels, but over the course of this independent study I will read two to three novels, which will add another dimension to my understanding of Magic Realism. Finally, the Magic Realism elective had more of an emphasis on creative writing than on analytical writing, and while I have incorporated creative writing into this independent study, I am also planning to write several analytical essays in Spanish.
  • Princeton Teacher Prep

    The High School Program at Princeton University is designed to serve exceptional high school juniors and seniors who have demonstrated consistently superior performance in all aspects of their academic work and shown a sincere interest in pursuing study at truly advanced levels beyond those offered in their respective high schools. Students who meet the qualifications for admission to the Program may enroll in courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geosciences, world languages, computer science, and/or music, provided that they have exhausted all of their high school’s course offerings in their particular area of interest.
  • Public Relations

    My independent study is in public relations. I am working with Ms. Gillard on learning the finer points of public relations. I am learning how the field works and what it means to work in public relations in a place like Lawrenceville and outside of it. I will be publishing articles online and working on my interviewing skills by interviewing students and faculty.
  • Sport and Nationhood

    The Impact of Ice Hockey on the Development of Canadian Civilization 
    In Canada, hockey is more than a game, it is tied to their collective sense of being and is their most identifiable icon. A hockey scene and poem can even be found on the back of their five-dollar bill. I am studying the influence of hockey on Canadian culture by researching the history of hockey in Canada and by studying its influence on Canadian literature, art, politics, and history. 

Scholarships & Awards

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  • Semans' Family Merit Scholarship Award

    In 1981, Truman Semans ’45, established a scholarship fund to honor his father, William R. Semans ’15. Mr. Semans hoped that the ideal recipient of this award would exhibit the same qualities as Hobert Baker, who was his father’s hero. Mr. Baker attended St. Paul’s where he was a fine athlete and contributed to many aspects of his school’s community life. This scholarship provides for 100% of the student’s tuition and also includes a $4,000 stipend, which the student can use for a summer activity, such as an Outward Bound Program, or some other type program which emphasizes the student’s interest in leadership, good citizenship or environmental type issues.

    With those simple guidelines in mind, the Dean of Academics together with the Director of Financial Aid ask annually for the submission of names of rising V Form students who possess the following qualities: “A Semans’ Scholar should demonstrate the qualities of a model Lawrentian. Such a student is active in the School and participates in community service projects. In addition, the student must exhibit integrity and good moral values. The scholar should be a leader and someone who invests time and energy in the community.”

    A committee made up of faculty and administrators narrow the selection down to 8-10 students and the Semans family makes the final selection of “Semans’ Scholars.”
  • William Welles Award

    The William Welles Award was established in memory of William Bouton Welles, Class of 1971. III and IV Form students are invited to submit a proposal for a summer project they would like to undertake. The amount of the award depends on the proposal submitted, but can be as much as $3000. The work should be a project or research or writing, which meets a high standard of excellence and promise. In the past students have used their awards to travel and study in such places as China, Ghana, or Arizona. Others have worked on projects closer to home. The expectation is that the award will enable students to undertake interesting and productive independent study in areas of special interest. During the month of October  eligible students will receive instructions explaining the application process.  A committee of faculty members review all the proposals submitted and students are notified of the results before winter break.

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  • Delmas Scholar Award in Classics

    Years ago, a gift was given to the school in honor of former Head of School, Josiah Bunting, III. This award, the Delmas Scholar Award in Classics, is awarded each year to a qualifying student of the III or IV Form. The purpose of the grant is to assist a student of excellence in any of our Latin or Greek courses who wishes to continue studies in Greece or Rome during the summer in a program approved by the school.

    In October (this year it is February), qualifying students will receive instructions explaining the application process. Students must write a clear proposal describing where the project will take place, what the studies involve, why this project would be beneficial to their education, and what the cost of the project would be. A committee of faculty members review all the proposals submitted and students are notified of the results before winter break.
  • Reuben T. Carlson Scholarship Award

    In the spirit of helping young Americans use an education to develop their character and intellect, the Reuben T. Carlson Scholarship was established at The Lawrenceville School, in 1990 by Mr. Carlson’s wife, Charlotte, and grandson, Melville D. Mummert ’75.

    The Reuben T. Carlson Scholarship is awarded to a rising IV Form boarding student. It recognizes those qualities that epitomize what a Lawrenceville student should be: outstanding scholar, sterling character, inspired leader and inspiring kindness. This award covers a significant portion of the honoree’s expenses for the remaining two years at Lawrenceville.

    Students are nominated by faculty. Once nominated, they will be asked to compose an essay about the accomplishments of which they are most proud of and why these accomplishments are important to them. Nominated students will receive instructions explaining the application process during the spring term. A committee of faculty members will review all the proposals, as well as student records. Students will be notified of the results in May.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.