I am currently applying to several physics REUs for this summer, in the hopes of being accepted into at least one of them! Since this is my first attempt at this endeavor I am a bit concerned as most applications include sections for "Honors and Awards" and etc. Currently I am a Junior with no outstanding awards, I mean I received several when I was dual enrolled between my HS and a local college, but after graduating from HS I had a series of personal problems (ranging from financial to otherwise, as I am sure you can imagine) that make me a lovely "average" student. Do I really have a chance at these programs? I hear being female and part Native American will help, but I want to be admitted on merit not some.... Affirmative Action thing. The main problem I feel as though I am having, "honors/awards" aside, is the "personal statement" section of the applications. I have no idea what to write, I don't feel like I have anything outstanding going for me. I know I have taken courses, done well in them, and so on and so forth. For the computer knowledge question I can enter the experience I have gained from working as a Senior Computer Tech Consultant for the past year which helps me there, but I don't know what to write (if that makes any sense). Help? Thoughts/Comments?