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REU Advice

  1. Dec 30, 2008 #1
    I'm currently in the process of searching for and applying to various REU’s and I would like to know if any PF members have participated in a great program and would recommend that I take a look at it. I have searched through the NSF database so I have a good idea of what's out there, I'm just wondering if anyone has something specific to recommend. If it helps most of the projects that I'm interested in are related to high energy or nuclear physics. Any other advice pertaining to applying for REU's would also be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2008 #2
    Apply to 6-7, as long as your recommenders don't mind. Getting into any of these is great. I can't say in particular if there is a bad REU or a good one. I went to one at Wisconsin and I really enjoyed my time there. It's a good introduction to research and hopefully, you get to live in another part of the country and experience new things.
  4. Dec 30, 2008 #3


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    I did two REUs at the University of Pittsburgh. If they still have funding for this year, I highly recommend the program. The department has a friendly atmosphere and there is a lot of cool research projects in all different fields.

    My advice for applying to REU's is in line with Jason's. Apply to a lot of programs. The programs are very competitive and hard to get into since their are a limited number of positions. For example, my first summer at Pitt, there were 13 people admitted into the program, but several hundred applied.
  5. Dec 30, 2008 #4
    for better or for worse, many programs like to give preference to under represented groups. So if you are within one of these demographics, apply to as many as possible and Im sure you'll get in somewhere. I like the REU's they offer at CUNY/Columbia/NYU (they operate jointly quite a lot) but im partial to the NY area.
  6. Jan 2, 2009 #5
    According to Pitt's website they missed out on funding for 2009, which is too bad.

    One more question, do you think that it would be a good idea to contact professors whose projects I'm interested in to get more information? While it would be a good way to learn more about a project I can see how it might backfire if the professor thought it was a way to bypass applications or "suck up" so to speak.
  7. Jan 2, 2009 #6


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    I personally did not contact professors. I have heard that many professors consider prospective grad students contacting them annoying. So, I can only imagine how annoying prospective REU interns are! Even if they are nice enough to respond, they'll more than likely just give you a link to their group webpage, which you could have found easily by yourself.

    I would definitely express interest in specific projects and professors in your personal essay most programs will ask for. This will show that you are serious about applying to their program. Another good idea is to point out that you have previous research in a similar area (don't lie if you don't have this experience).
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