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Personal Statement for REU/SURF

  1. Jan 21, 2006 #1
    I am a junior electrical engineering (may double major in engineering physics) student with 2 more years before completing my degree. I hope to go the graduate school/academic research route, as opposed to the industry route. I am looking at doing a SURF/REU with the NIST Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory in Washington D.C. http://www.eeel.nist.gov/surf/ I feel this is exactly what I should be doing as an undergraduate, considering my goals. I am mostly interested in semiconductor fabrication technology.

    My question is how should one structure a personal statement for an REU like this? Should I start with background like what school I go to, what my major is, where I am from, etc, and then go into my career goals, technical interests, and follow that up with why I feel the REU will help me reach those goals, or should I omit the introductory background like my school, major, etc?

    also, how long should this report be? One page? Two pages? Five pages? In addition, I haven't progressed too far into my engineering curriculum yet, but by the time the summer gets here and I go do this REU, I will have all of my math done, circuits 1 and lab, circuits 2 and lab, digital electronics with lab, advanced digital electronics with lab, microprocessors, and electromagnetic fields and waves, along with all of my humanities requirements and university physics. I am a bit behind because I was a chemistry major for a brief period of time, and that delayed things a bit.

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. It seems like many of you even have to read these letters for prospective REU students because you are researchers for various universities and national institutions, so I feel I could get some good advice from this forum.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2006 #2
    Anyone have any advice? This is the first time I have ever written something like this before so I am a little lost.
  4. Jan 21, 2006 #3
    Although I'm no expert, I'll say ditch the introductory background. They'll know of your background anyway through your application.
    Put something in the personal statement that tells something about YOU, why you want to go to NIST, etc.
    There is no "ideal" length for the personal statement. If you can express the most in the minimum number of lines, thats the best. These guys would be getting hundreds of applications. They don't have time to read an extremely long personal statement.
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