Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the workshop schedule?
- Is there any free time outside of class?
- Who are the instructors?
- Are there any special course materials for the workshop?
- How can I keep track of other CFAR activities and opportunities?
- Does anything happen in addition to CFAR’s followup?
- Where is the workshop located?
- What about food?
- Where will I sleep?
- What airport should I use if I’m flying to the workshop?
- How do I get to the venue?
- Is there parking at the venue?
- What should I bring?
- What does the workshop cost?
- Is any of my workshop tuition fee tax-deductible?
- What payment options do you accept?
- Can I pay a lower enrollment fee to attend only part of the workshop?
- What if I can’t afford the cost of the workshop?
- What is the refund policy for the workshop?
- How do I apply for the workshop?
- I have a question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
What is the workshop schedule?
You can read a schedule from a previous workshop here. The workhop begins with Opening Session and a meet & greet Wednesday evening, which is a great opportunity to start getting to know your fellow participants and the instructors. Four days of classes start after breakfast the next morning. These sessions build on each other, so you should plan to attend the entire workshop. After four days of classes, teachers, students and some participants in previous workshops will come together for an end-of-workshop party. You and other participants can socialize, learn how past participants have applied the lessons they learned at the workshop, and generally engage in festivities. The sessions on the final day are dedicated to systematic review and intensive practice of the material and habits you’ve learned during the workshop.
Is there any free time outside of class?
Classes take up a lot of the day, but we make sure to set aside time to rest, review, and engage in conversation with other participants and the instructors. There are breaks between each class, to give your mind time to digest material and shift gears, but most of your free time will occur at meals and during the evening. Many past participants say that this unstructured time was one of the highlights of their time at the workshop. Chatting with other participants helps people think through the material they’ve just learned, create plans for applying it to their lives and work, and just get to know each other better.
Who are the instructors?
The CFAR instructors and curriculum designers are Anna Salamon, Michael “Valentine” Smith, Duncan Sabian, Kenzi Amodei, Julia Galef, Andrew Critch, Geoff Anders, Cat Lavigne, Yan Zhang, and Nisan Stiennon. You can read more about some of them here.
Are there any special course materials for the workshop?
We’ll provide a workbook for the classes, so you don’t have to worry about taking rapid-fire notes. After the workshop you can use this packet and any supplemental notes you took to review what you learned. That will help you retain all the information you learn during the workshop. Past participants have found this to be a great way to keep track of the many useful techniques they’ve picked up! Additionally, there are some software tools that many of us at CFAR have found useful, and which we may refer to during sessions for specific strategies. These include Boomerang, Anki, FreeMind, yEd, and Remember The Milk. You might find it useful to download some of these and have them available to you at the workshop, although it’s by no means required (we’re not being paid by any of these people to recommend them – and actually, most of them are free).
How can I keep track of other CFAR activities and opportunities?
You can sign up for our announcements mailing list to hear about major events, updates, and the findings of our randomized controlled trials for the impact of our workshops. You can also sign up here to hear about free opportunities to help us test-drive new curriculum.
Does anything happen in addition to CFAR’s follow-up?
We put together a listserv for each workshop, so you can stay in touch with your fellow attendees. After previous workshops, participants have scheduled virtual meetups, shared some new or surprising ways they applied the curriculum they’ve learned, and paired up to troubleshoot planning for big projects. You’ll also have the opportunity to join our alumni community listserv, which will allow you to get invitations to future end-of-workshop parties and other events hosted in the extended CFAR community.
What about food?
We will provide all meals from Thursday morning through Monday morning, plus snacks and drinks after opening session on Wednesday. There will also be coffee, tea, and snacks available throughout the day. Classes are fast-paced and intense, so we set aside a full hour for meals to make sure you can socialize with the other participants, exercise, or even take a nap. We are also happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions or allergies.
Where will I sleep?
The intense, immersive, focused atmosphere of the workshop is key to the learning and life changes that it produces. Participants, and instructors, all stay on-site at the venue in shared rooms, allowing for evening conversations and additional opportunities to learn and share. Please plan to remain on-site all weekend – lodging in a shared room is included in your workshop fee. There are limited private rooms available for special circumstances.
What airport should I use if I’m flying to the workshop?
We recommend San Francisco International (SFO).
How do I get to the venue?
Is there parking at the venue?
What should I bring?
Supplies for classes:
We’ll provide all the necessary supplies (pens, paper, etc.). We do recommend that you bring your own laptop – laptops are not required, but they are helpful for some of the optional activities.
Plan to dress comfortably; layered clothing and comfy shoes are a good plan. Some participants in the past have chosen to bring dressier clothes for the closing party, but you won’t feel left out if you don’t.
Linens, including towels, are provided at the venue, but you should plan on bringing your own personal toiletries. If you’ve forgotten something, we’ll have a few spares on hand. Games are welcome.
What does the workshop cost?
The total cost of attendance (including lodging, meals, and follow-ups) is $3,900 USD.
Is any of my workshop tuition fee tax-deductible?
The first $1,900 of your workshop fee is not tax deductible. The remaining $2,000 (or less, if you’re not staying for the last day or received a financial aid offer) qualifies as a US tax-deductible charitable donation, for which we’ll gladly send you a tax receipt.
What payment options do you accept?
We take all major debit and credit cards, plus Paypal. Alternatively, if it’s at least two weeks before the workshop, you can make out a check to the Center for Applied Rationality and mail it to us: The Center For Applied Rationality, 2030 Addison, Suite #700, Berkeley, CA 94704. Please notify us when you’ve put it in the mail.
Can I pay a lower enrollment fee to attend only part of the workshop?
No. The workshop is designed to be experienced as a whole, not in parts. Later concepts build upon earlier concepts, and each concept is related to many others. If you expect to miss part of the weekend, it’s probably not a good idea to attend. Please plan to arrive the evening before open session starts, to stay on site (the immersive environment, and evening conversations, are extremely helpful for learning), to attend classes on all four days, and to have no work or other obligations during the workshop.
What if I can’t afford the cost of the workshop?
Financial aid is available – just indicate on your application that you need financial aid. After the initial interview, you’ll be able to fill out a short financial aid application form.
We can also offer you the option to pay in installments; instead of paying $3,900 up front, you’re welcome to pay $1,300 per month for 3 months, $682 per month for six months, or $375 per month for twelve months. Just ask about a payment plan during your admissions interview.
What is the refund policy for the workshop?
We’re confident that our rationality training will provide long-lasting benefits to your happiness and effectiveness. However, if after the workshop you conclude that these benefits don’t recoup the investment, we will refund your money in its entirety. This guarantee is good for one calendar year from the event date.
How do I apply for the workshop?
We’re glad you’re interested! Here’s the (brief) online application – just fill it out and you’ll be prompted choose a time that works for you to chat with us.
I have a question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
If you have any additional questions about the workshop, please do get in touch! The best person to contact is Davis, CFAR’s outside logistics coordinator – you can reach him through davis at rationality dot org.