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Other 2nd Research Internship

  1. Nov 29, 2017 #1
    I was lucky enough to score an REU last summer and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If, given the choice, should I choose the position that is similar to what I did last year or something different; i.e., which would look better for grad school applications? Also, since I got one last year, am I more, less, or similarly likely to get an REU this year?

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2017 #2


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    What to choose really should be entirely up to you. One of the major points of undergraduate research programs is to help students explore the different avenues of research available to them. Many simply aren't aware of what's out there and don't really find out they enjoy something until they try it. Graduate school admission committees are well aware of this and don't expect every student to know precisely what they want to do a PhD in from the moment they set foot on a university campus.

    One of the major advantages to doing similar research is that you may have less of a learning curve to climb. As you learn more about the field, you'll be able to take on more responsibilities and play a bigger role in the projects. If you could continue with the same group, for example, you might have a larger chance at turning a summer project into something that's publishable. And getting a peer-reviewed paper out of an undergraduate internship is a very big thing.

    The other direction tends to offer more opportunity for exploration. If you weren't sure about your last experience, you might just need to find something different. It will also expose you to more personalities and you'll get a better idea of the types of people you collaborate well with. It will also help to build up your academic network.

    I can't say anything about the chances of being accepted again though. I'm not very familiar with the US REU system specifically.
  4. Nov 30, 2017 #3
    If I were you, I would apply. Maybe the decision will be made for you.
  5. Nov 30, 2017 #4
    Thank you, Choppy, for your thorough and thoughtful response.
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