If an REU asks you to choose topics of interest, are you supposed to explain why those specific topics interest you (i.e. why you chose them)? It seems like the statement can get quite long in that case, so I'm not sure if I should do this or not. Another problem is that I only have a vague idea of what the topics are really about and it would take a lot of work to try to get an overview of the subject. Finally, I'm trying to write something specific for each REU, but many of the websites look very similar to each other and I'm having trouble finding things that make one program different from another in many cases.