REU Application: Recent major change

In summary, the speaker is a junior at a small school who has recently changed their major from physics education to physics. They have a strong background in physics and math and plan to take advanced physics courses and an introductory programming course next semester. They are worried about their lack of research experience and programming skills when applying for summer REU programs and are seeking advice on how to address these shortcomings in their cover letter. The expert advises them to focus on their existing skills and research experiences and discuss their goals and plans for preparation in their cover letter.
  • #1
the potato one
11
0
Hello, all!

I am a junior at a small-ish school, and I have just decided to change my major from a B.S. in physics education to a B.A. in physics. I have a strong physics background (All A's and one B+ in my physics classes, all A's in math), and I've taken all of the lower-level physics courses, as well as Modern Physics and Intermediate E&M. Next semester, I plan to take Astrophysics I, Quantum Mechanics, and Solid State Physics, as well as an introductory programming course.

My problem is that this is my last summer (or rather, winter) to apply to REU programs, and all of my research experience has been on the education side of my studies. I also will not have had much, if any, experience with different programming languages. From what I've seen, these are two things that are heavily considered when selecting applicants. Should I address these shortcomings in my cover letters, and if so, how should I go about doing that?

Thanks so much for reading!
 
  • #3
I'm still hoping for a response, so a quick clarification:

When I write my cover letter for the REU application, should I mention that, as an education major, I was expected to do my research in the education field, and did not have room in my schedule for programming classes? Or will this be seen as excuse-making and would be best left out?
 
  • #4
Don't dwell too much on skills you lack, but highlight the skills you have. Simply discuss the research experiences you have and why you did them and what you learned. NExt talk about what you want to do and why want to do it. Also mention what you will do to prepare.
 
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Likes Stephen Tashi and the potato one
  • #5
Thanks for the advice bluechic92, it's quite helpful!
 
  • #5


Dear applicant,

Congratulations on your recent major change! It takes courage and determination to make such a decision, and I commend you for taking this step towards pursuing your passion for physics.

I understand the importance of research experience and proficiency in programming languages in the selection process for REU programs. However, it is important to note that these are not the only factors that are considered. Your strong academic background and coursework in physics, as well as your upcoming courses in Astrophysics, Quantum Mechanics, and Solid State Physics, demonstrate your dedication and aptitude for the field.

In your cover letters, it would be beneficial to highlight your background in physics education and how it has shaped your understanding and interest in the subject. Furthermore, you can mention your willingness to learn and adapt to new programming languages and how you plan to do so through your introductory programming course.

It is also worth mentioning any transferable skills or experiences you have gained through your research in education, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication, which are highly valued in scientific research.

Overall, I would encourage you to confidently showcase your strengths and enthusiasm for physics, while also acknowledging your areas for growth. Your determination and passion for the field will undoubtedly make you a strong candidate for REU programs.

Best of luck with your applications!

Sincerely,
 

Related to REU Application: Recent major change

1. What is an REU application?

An REU application is an application for an undergraduate research experience program, also known as a Research Experience for Undergraduates. These programs provide opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research in various fields of science and engineering.

2. What is the purpose of a recent major change in an REU application?

The purpose of a recent major change in an REU application is to provide an update or modification to the application process or requirements. This change could be due to program updates, funding changes, or other factors that may affect the application process.

3. What are some common examples of recent major changes in REU applications?

Some common examples of recent major changes in REU applications may include changes to the application deadline, new eligibility requirements, changes in program focus or research areas, or updates to the required application materials.

4. How can I stay informed about any recent major changes in REU applications?

To stay informed about any recent major changes in REU applications, it is recommended to regularly check the program's website or social media pages for updates. You can also reach out to the program coordinators or mentors for any updates or changes to the application process.

5. Do I need to make any changes to my existing REU application if there is a recent major change?

It is important to carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the program for any recent major changes. If the changes affect your existing application, it is recommended to make the necessary updates or modifications before submitting your application. If you have any questions or concerns, you can also reach out to the program coordinators for clarification.

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