REU admissions?

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FORTRAN
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REU admissions?

Postby FORTRAN » Wed May 21, 2008 8:06 pm

How tough were REU's to get into when you were applying? I've done most of my research at my home university and I need to apply to an REU the summer after this one before I do grad school applications. Any helpful hints or advice would be much appreciated.

bronco199
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby bronco199 » Wed May 21, 2008 11:10 pm

Extremely difficult to get in to. Not because they are very selective, but because each program has a very limited # of spots, and since they are NSF funded, they have lots of quotas to fulfill. So, if theres 10 spots, they need at least 5 women, and probably at least 5 black/Hispanic students so that when they send the annual report to the NSF, they continue to get funding for their REU. Also, bias is given to those who come from small schools that would not provide them a research opportunity.
I, along with several of my peers, have had trouble getting into summer REU's. Its really a total crapshoot, so if you want to be accepted to one, its best to apply to as many as possible.

perplexity
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby perplexity » Wed May 21, 2008 11:21 pm

I had no trouble getting into REUs this year. I was accepted to 6 of the 10 programs I applied to, and probably would have been accepted off the waitlist at one of the four I didn't get into had I not already committed myself elsewhere.

The fact that I'm a female from a very small college with absolutely no research experience (but very good grades and recommendation letters) was a big advantage. As bronco199 said, NSF is dedicated to increasing the number of women in science and stipulates that REUs are primarily for students who would not otherwise have access to research opportunities.

I'd recommend applying to a large number of programs (might as well since it's free), and making sure that your personal statement is strong. I wrote about when and why I became interested in physics and how an REU would help me reach my goals. I also had my statement edited by one of my professors. Based on the experiences of others who have posted here, I'd say that if you don't get into an REU, the research experience you're getting at your university will hold just as much (if not more) weight with grad school admissions committees.

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Ren
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby Ren » Wed May 21, 2008 11:45 pm

I only got accepted into 1 REU program and another research program that's not REU this summer, and i applied to a whole bunch of them. Ofcause it didn't help that i only applied to the very competitive programs (all of them are astronomy programs though). I was waitlisted to a couple of good ones. here are some statistics i got from rejection letters: :|
160 applications for 8 positions
200 applications for 9 positions
145 applications for 8 positions
these are from the "top ranked" schools

my friend got rejected from a physics REU program and he has like a perfect GPA, they said there were more than 300 applications.

My school also has an REU program, i heard my professor said there are about 100 applications this year for five posotions. He said he's impressed with the profiles, but most of these students don't realize how competitive the program is.
I'm always surprise my school has that many applicants since it's a small college and not very well-known. I did the summer research at my school last year, i don't know if that has any effect on my applications.

perplexity
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby perplexity » Thu May 22, 2008 1:44 am

As a side note about NSF's gender quotas for REU programs... 75% of the students in the REU I'm participating in this summer are male... so gender bias may not hugely affect student selection across the board.

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jdhooghe
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby jdhooghe » Thu May 22, 2008 2:09 am

Dey dook mai Reeyouuu!

FORTRAN
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby FORTRAN » Thu May 22, 2008 3:18 am

I have had quite a bit of research at my uni but it has been in astronomy and the physics department is unusually hard to find undergrad research in that isn't for seniors (which does nothing for applications). Moreover I am worried about my letters of rec. It seems that most colleges want a Letter of rec from someone who is not affiliated with your undergrad school, which makes it seem like REU would be my best bet for finding that kind of recommender who would understand research potential. I am also a white male, which puts me at odds with admissions committees yet again lol.

vicente
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby vicente » Thu May 22, 2008 3:42 pm

I tried applying to an Undergraduate Summer Research Award (the Canadian version of the REU) at McGill and they told me that they flat out reject everyone with a GPA under 3.8, no matter what school they come from. So they are very competitive.

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twistor
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby twistor » Thu May 22, 2008 3:52 pm

It seems that most colleges want a Letter of rec from someone who is not affiliated with your undergrad school,


That is absolutely not true at all.

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grae313
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby grae313 » Fri May 23, 2008 6:02 pm

twistor wrote:
It seems that most colleges want a Letter of rec from someone who is not affiliated with your undergrad school,


That is absolutely not true at all.


And that is absolutely correct. It is not true.

Get letters from people 1. who know your research and know you and 2. who know your coursework

FORTRAN
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby FORTRAN » Fri May 23, 2008 6:08 pm

grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:
It seems that most colleges want a Letter of rec from someone who is not affiliated with your undergrad school,


That is absolutely not true at all.


And that is absolutely correct. It is not true.

Get letters from people 1. who know your research and know you and 2. who know your coursework


Really? I've read some of the threads here and I thought it said that admissions committees like seeing research advisors who weren't part of your undergrad. I might have miss read though. In any case I would like to do some research at another institution regardless of whether it looks good or not, simply for the sake of getting out of town for a while lol.

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will
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby will » Fri May 23, 2008 6:37 pm

FORTRAN wrote:Really? I've read some of the threads here and I thought it said that admissions committees like seeing research advisors who weren't part of your undergrad. I might have miss read though. In any case I would like to do some research at another institution regardless of whether it looks good or not, simply for the sake of getting out of town for a while lol.


Think about this for awhile though. If they aren't part of your undergrad, then you probably worked with them at most, what? 8 weeks I think is how long REUs are... and from what I've heard, a lot of them are kind of disorganized and you learn stuff, but don't really do much meaningful work. Would that recommendation really hold more weight for you than one from a professor who has worked with a student for a few years?

FORTRAN
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby FORTRAN » Fri May 23, 2008 7:09 pm

will wrote:
FORTRAN wrote:Really? I've read some of the threads here and I thought it said that admissions committees like seeing research advisors who weren't part of your undergrad. I might have miss read though. In any case I would like to do some research at another institution regardless of whether it looks good or not, simply for the sake of getting out of town for a while lol.


Think about this for awhile though. If they aren't part of your undergrad, then you probably worked with them at most, what? 8 weeks I think is how long REUs are... and from what I've heard, a lot of them are kind of disorganized and you learn stuff, but don't really do much meaningful work. Would that recommendation really hold more weight for you than one from a professor who has worked with a student for a few years?


Yes I thought about that and it sounded somewhat counterintuitive but at the same time it didn't seem that farfetched that admissions people wanted to see enough intiative to do research at other schools and that you took the time to contact professors at other universities. Anyways thank you for the reply, I understand better what it is they are looking for, plus it saves me the time of applying to all those REU's when I can just do it here. Cheers.

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will
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby will » Fri May 23, 2008 11:31 pm

Oh no, I'm not saying REUs aren't excellent to have on your application - they are! I'm just saying a letter of recommendation from an REU supervisor might be better than, say, a professor you took a class with, but certainly weaker than a professor at your home institution who you did serious research with for more than a couple months.

So apply to REUs and if you get the chance, go! It really is a good program. If you don't get into one though, it won't hurt your grad school applications one bit.

FortranMan
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Re: REU admissions?

Postby FortranMan » Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:42 pm

man, getting into my REU was a hat-trick

I had applied to like over 10 REUs, half of them through the department of energy I think. Had to go through all the effort of filling out app.s and harassing my advisors to send in their recommendations a month after the deadline. I then watched as I got nearly rejected by all of them.

The last three were about to come in, and since I was depending on my REU to give me ideas for a senior project (since my school as zelich money and I only knew to Prof.s), I had to start looking award immediately for alternatives. Before I did I emailed all the programs I had yet to hear from and asked if I could know whether I was accepted or not because my senior project depended on it.

Immedatly I got back two responses that said they were full, then from the last school I got a short letter back saying "We have an offer for you", to which I responded "What kind of offer?" I originally thought they had heard I needed a senior project and thought they could use me as free labor, but luckly enough, they sent me a form for their REU program.

When I got there and I realized they were missing one dude, the dude I had apparently replaced as soon as he turned down that school's REU. I felt like David Neville after the 400m final.




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