FORSTUDENTS

We offer an array of educational programs to enable students at all levels of knowledge to learn about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels.

Program Overview

Are you a fan of The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged? Are you interested in learning more about Ayn Rand’s unique vision of human life? Come to one of the Ayn Rand Institute’s annual conferences for an in-depth exploration of Rand’s philosophy. You’ll learn from experts on Rand’s ideas and meet lots of other students eager to stay up all hours debating the existence of free will or the role of government in a free society.



ARI hosts two annual conferences: a weekend student conference, AynRandCon, in the fall, and a longer conference, OCON, in early summer. Thanks to the generosity of ARI donors, students attending either event can receive a scholarship support covering most travel and lodging costs. This page details how to apply for a scholarship to support your attendance of a conference. For details about the conferences, visit the AynRandCon and OCON websites.

Conferences

    • All students seeking to attend AynRandCon must complete the scholarship application.

      For those accepted, scholarships up to $1,000 in value will be awarded, based on travel distance. You may opt-out of consideration for a scholarship if you prefer the funds be made available to another student, but you must still complete the scholarship application.

      Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted or the application deadline has passed. If your application is declined, we will refund your registration fee.

      Be sure to review the Eligibility and Restrictions section before applying.

      Application Steps:

      1. First register for AynRandCon and take note of your Confirmation Number. You’ll need to enter it in your conference application.

      Register

      2. Click “Apply” and fill out the conference application. Allow up to three weeks for us to contact you about your application. We may request a video interview as part of the application review process.

      Apply

      Questions? Write to us at students@AynRand.org.

    • “I knew I would learn a lot, but what I didn't expect was to meet so many people I would consider my friends so quickly.” — Shelbylyn Allen

      Ayn Rand Student Conference is a weekend event for students, which annually brings together about 150 college students and recent graduates. Attendees come from all fields and from around the world.

      AynRandCon offers a compact schedule comprising sessions that center on a philosophical theme, which changes each year. Past themes include “Free Will” and “Liberty.” Sessions include substantial time for Q&A, so attendees are able to ask follow-up and clarifying questions.

      The intimate atmosphere of the conference is wonderful for making new friends and for interacting one-on-one with conference speakers. AynRandCon also includes networking opportunities with successful professionals from a variety of fields, who have applied Objectivism in their careers. Evening socials, session breaks and meals allow plenty of time for connecting with other students and with speakers.

      AynRandCon takes place each fall — typically the first weekend in November, from Friday night to Sunday late afternoon. It has traditionally been held in Atlanta, Georgia.

      Attendance is by application only, and those accepted automatically qualify for financial support.

      1. Applicants must be a student in a degree or apprentice program, a recent graduate from such a program or an Objectivist Academic Center student.
      2. Applicants must be over the age of 18 by the time the conference begins. Those who will meet this requirement but who are under 18 at the time of applying must provide parental permission to apply. Permission should be sent to students@aynrand.org.
      3. Scholarship recipients are required to attend the full conference, from Friday evening through the end of the last session on Sunday afternoon
      4. Scholarship recipients must notify ARI as soon as possible of any changes to the recipient's availability or travel schedule. ARI may adjust the amount of the scholarship accordingly.
      5. Applicants may be interviewed as part of the application process.
      6. Attendees are fully responsible for their own lodging and travel arrangements.
      7. Students whose application is declined may not attend AynRandCon and will be refunded their registration fee.

      Questions?

      Write to us at students@AynRand.org.

    • “OCON was an amazing experience. I was able to meet like-minded people, explore Objectivism through lectures, and discuss the ideas with other attendees as well as the speakers.” — Catrina Ankarlo

      The Objectivist Summer Conference is a weeklong educational and networking event for students and the general public, drawing around 500 attendees annually. OCON takes place in a different location each summer in June or July.

      Speakers vary annually and include Objectivist experts from diverse fields and backgrounds: academics, artists, businessmen, philosophers, policy experts and others. The OCON schedule includes general and breakout sessions, courses that span multiple days, luncheon panels, community-led discussions, dinners and socials.

      More than a hundred students attend OCON each year. Students can apply for scholarship support, but no application is necessary to attend without funding. The student registration fee is steeply discounted from the general attendee rate.

      • You must be a student in a degree or apprentice program, a recent graduate from such a program or an Objectivist Academic Center student.
      • Those who are under 18 must have written parental permission to participate and to be eligible for a scholarship. Permissions should be sent to students@aynrand.org.
      • Scholarship recipients are required to attend the conference for the duration they committed to attend when applying, and to travel to the conference from the location indicated on their application. ARI must be notified of any changes to the recipient's availability or travel schedule, and may adjust the amount of the scholarship accordingly.
      • Scholarship recipients must attend all educational programming taking place when they are at the conference, and may be required to attend certain sessions on the conference program.
      • Applicants may be contacted for an interview.
      • Attendees are fully responsible for their own lodging and travel arrangements.
      • Students who do not apply for or are not granted a scholarship may still participate in student sessions and activities. Students who do not receive a scholarship and cannot attend the conference will be refunded their registration fee.

      Questions?

      Write to us at students@AynRand.org.

    • Students planning to attend OCON must apply only if they are seeking a scholarship. No application is necessary to attend OCON without a scholarship.

      Scholarships up to $1,500 in value are issued based on merit and travel expenses. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis, and scholarship funds are issued around the time of the conference. If you do not receive financial support and cannot attend, we will refund your registration fee.

      Be sure to review the Eligibility and Restrictions section before applying.

      Scholarship Application Steps:

      1. First register for OCON as a student and take note of your Confirmation Number. You’ll need to enter it in your scholarship application.

      Register

      2. Click “Apply” and fill out the scholarship application form. Allow up to three weeks for us to contact you about your application. We may request a Skype interview as part of the application review process.

      Apply

      Questions? Write to us at students@AynRand.org.

 
What do previous student attendees have to say about AynRandCon and OCON?

Reactions

 

Key Dates

  • May 1, 2018

    Application deadline for OCON scholarships.

  • Jun 30 – Jul 5, 2018

    OCON! The student experience begins with an evening reception on Friday, June 29.

  • November 2 – 4, 2018

    AynRandCon! (We begin accepting applications in July.)

FAQ

  • Is AynRandCon for “beginners,” and OCON for “advanced” students?

    No. Both conferences are designed to appeal to those at all levels of familiarity with Rand’s works, and both conferences draw large numbers of repeat and first-time attendees. At each conference, usually at least 40 percent of the student audience is attending their first Objectivism conference.

     

    That said, AynRandCon has particular appeal to some newcomers because it is only a weekend commitment, and is a great opportunity to test if you would like the longer OCON experience. And OCON, because it is longer, allows for a greater variety of content, which some experienced students appreciate.

     

    Of course, you don’t have to choose! Students may attend and receive financial support for both conferences in the same year.

  • Who is eligible to attend and receive financial support for the conferences?

    AynRandCon is exclusively for students and recent graduates. To attend the conference, everyone must apply, and those accepted automatically qualify for financial support for travel and lodging costs. Financial support may be declined, but those waiving financial support must still apply and be accepted in order to attend the conference.

     

    OCON is open to the general public as well as to students. Students are eligible to apply for financial support, but no application is necessary to attend OCON without funding.

  • Does the content of the conferences significantly differ?

    As a weekend conference, AynRandCon has a compact schedule with sessions that center on a philosophical theme that varies from year to year. Most sessions are “general” sessions and are attended by all students, but there may be some “breakout” sessions in which students have a choice of sessions to attend.

     

    OCON also has a theme which changes each year, but as a weeklong conference, the sessions are not as tightly integrated with one another overall, and not every session will focus on the theme. OCON offers a mix of general and breakout sessions, and usually includes courses that span multiple days of the conference and thoroughly explore a specific topic.

     

    AynRandCon and OCON always feature new content, so you will hear something for the first time even if you have attended talks by the conference speakers. Additionally, each conference includes extensive networking opportunities with speakers and professionals from diverse fields.

  • What counts as a “student” or “recent graduate” for these conferences?

    To qualify as a student you must be in or about to enter a degree program at a two- or four-year institution (i.e., pursuing your associate’s, bachelor’s, JD, master’s, PhD, etc.), or in an apprentice program like Praxis.

     

    To qualify as a recent graduate, at the time of the conference you should have graduated within the past six months from a degree or apprenticeship program.

     

    We recognize that individuals have unique circumstances, however, so please contact us if you are close to one of these categories but do not fit neatly into either.

  • Where do the conferences take place?

    AynRandCon traditionally takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. We have found that Atlanta is a good fit for AynRandCon because it is located on the east coast of the US and has a large international airport. This makes it possible for students coming from Europe to more easily attend the weekend conference, and many airports in the US fly there directly.

     

    OCON is located in a different US city each year. Past locations include Bellevue, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Newport Beach, California.