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## Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm a sophomore physics/astronomy double major + math minor at a large research university. (My university has an applied math department and a pure math department; I'm doing the pure math minor.) I have a GPA of 3.7 and (so far) A's in all my physics and astronomy courses, and A's in all my math courses except for differential equations (B+). I have prior high school research experience, but not in any kind of physics or astronomy.

I am primarily interested in astrophysics/astronomy research, but I am also open to theoretical physics, astronomy outreach, nuclear or particle physics, planetary science, astroinstrumentation, or aerospace engineering.

I have taken introductory physics (lecture + lab), introductory astronomy (the rigorous physics-heavy version required for astronomy majors), multivariable calculus, differential equations, introductory linear algebra, introductory math proofs/logic. I am currently enrolled in: Modern Physics (lecture + lab), Programming for Physics (teaches Linux, Fortran, C++), and Data Analysis with Python. I am also a non-credit research assistant (mainly python data analysis + plotting for cosmology) for an astronomy professor at my university, and we have plans for me to continue doing this in the spring semester, but for credit and with larger datasets.

However, I have a few blemishes on my academic record. I have three withdrawals: one from a freshman writing course (graduation requirement for everyone at my university) in fall 2019 that I re-took over the winter, one from an introductory geology course in spring 2019 that I dropped because I realized I was more interested in astrophysics, and one from an advanced proof-based linear algebra course that I tried taking this semester but dropped due to personal mental health issues. I also have a B+ in differential equations.

For now, I am focusing mainly on astronomy research REUs as well as other astronomy research programs. I am applying to both astronomy-specific programs as well as to general physics REUs that include both astrophysics and nuclear/particle physics. I am also applying to other non-REU astronomy research programs, some of which have astroinstrumentation, aerospace engineering, and/or planetary science in addition to astronomy. I am even applying to 1 astronomy outreach program and 1 theoretical physics program. In total, I have a list of approximately 40 programs I'm interested in, and I need help to narrow it down.

With this in mind, how many summer programs should I apply to? Would my academic record negatively impact my REU application process? Should I limit my quantity of applications because of my record?

Also, how long should REU application essays be? I'm personally thinking 600-800 words for the longer REU essays, and 200-300 for shorter essays, is this reasonable?

I am primarily interested in astrophysics/astronomy research, but I am also open to theoretical physics, astronomy outreach, nuclear or particle physics, planetary science, astroinstrumentation, or aerospace engineering.

I have taken introductory physics (lecture + lab), introductory astronomy (the rigorous physics-heavy version required for astronomy majors), multivariable calculus, differential equations, introductory linear algebra, introductory math proofs/logic. I am currently enrolled in: Modern Physics (lecture + lab), Programming for Physics (teaches Linux, Fortran, C++), and Data Analysis with Python. I am also a non-credit research assistant (mainly python data analysis + plotting for cosmology) for an astronomy professor at my university, and we have plans for me to continue doing this in the spring semester, but for credit and with larger datasets.

However, I have a few blemishes on my academic record. I have three withdrawals: one from a freshman writing course (graduation requirement for everyone at my university) in fall 2019 that I re-took over the winter, one from an introductory geology course in spring 2019 that I dropped because I realized I was more interested in astrophysics, and one from an advanced proof-based linear algebra course that I tried taking this semester but dropped due to personal mental health issues. I also have a B+ in differential equations.

For now, I am focusing mainly on astronomy research REUs as well as other astronomy research programs. I am applying to both astronomy-specific programs as well as to general physics REUs that include both astrophysics and nuclear/particle physics. I am also applying to other non-REU astronomy research programs, some of which have astroinstrumentation, aerospace engineering, and/or planetary science in addition to astronomy. I am even applying to 1 astronomy outreach program and 1 theoretical physics program. In total, I have a list of approximately 40 programs I'm interested in, and I need help to narrow it down.

With this in mind, how many summer programs should I apply to? Would my academic record negatively impact my REU application process? Should I limit my quantity of applications because of my record?

Also, how long should REU application essays be? I'm personally thinking 600-800 words for the longer REU essays, and 200-300 for shorter essays, is this reasonable?