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Advice for applying to REUs

  1. Dec 11, 2005 #1
    Hello everyone,
    I was wondering if anyone here had any experience or advice for applying to REUs. I'm currently a sophomore with some research under my belt so I'm probably going to give it a shot this year. :smile:
    Does anyone have any advice about getting in or know anything about specific programs? I'm interested mainly in the astronomy/astrophysics ones though I won't say no to high energy either... muchas gracias. :cool:
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  3. Dec 11, 2005 #2
    I know the astronomy ones are very competitive. Apply to as many as you can, because they are very selective. The pay is really good usually and a great experience. I participated the summer before my senior year. Make sure you get very good letters of recommendation. If you have done some research for faculty at your university, see if any of their collaborators as taking REUs. If so, apply for those and have your research advisor contact their colleague and let them know you are applying.
    Good luck cause it is somewhat of a crap shoot since many programs get 1000 applications for somewhere around 10 positions. One problem I see is that they typically go for junior level students.
  4. Dec 12, 2005 #3


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  5. Dec 13, 2005 #4
    Alright thanks for the responses.:smile:
    After looking through a few applications I have another question for you all. One of the things I do as a hobby consists of freelance science writing and I've got a small file of articles like that already, and while everyone I've asked agreed that it should be on my application somewhere there's been a slight debate as to where I should mention it. I mean they usually have box for you to fill in your "publications" but I'm assuming that's in reference to scientific papaers and the like... or would a brief mention in the personal statement suffice? Thanks.
  6. Dec 13, 2005 #5
    Are these published articles? And if they are published, are they something you were paid for? Where were they published? If this was serious work, you should definately mention it. If it is just your museings on different subjects?

    I guess my point is the more serious the work, the more emphasis you should place on it in your application.
  7. Dec 13, 2005 #6
    They're published articles, some of which I was paid for and some of which I wasn't (difficult to get paid as a teenage writer!). The ones I was thinking about are ones that involved science writing and reached a decent circulation size (here is an example).
  8. Dec 14, 2005 #7
    It seems like this is something that is very meaningfull to you and that you enjoy. In that light, I would definately include them in your application. I am not sure if they belong under publications or not. Even if it doesn't explicitly state that they need to be scientific journal articles based on research, it is sort of implied. But it might be worth the gamble to put them there. At the very least, they deserved a good mention in your statement. The ability to write well is one of the most important attributes a physicist can have. See ZapperZ's latest article in "So you want to be a physicist." Like I said, make sure to apply to as many as you can. Hell, apply for every REU program available.
    Good luck,
  9. Dec 14, 2005 #8


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    One's ability to write, whether it is for a scientific article or not, is an important skill to highlight. I certainly would advice you to include this in your application, even if it isn't part of your publication list.

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