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REU applications

  1. Jan 4, 2013 #1
    How many applications should I put out there? This is my 1st time doing an REU, so I'm not sure how everything works exactly. I know they want transcripts, but it cost money to get my official transcripts from my school, so do I just go until I have a few, or do you apply to atleast a dozen REU's?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2013 #2
    Most (if not all?) REU's only want non-official transcripts... which are free.
  4. Jan 4, 2013 #3
    I don't think very many REUs actually ask for a transcript and a lot of them just ask you to list your grades. But it obviously depends.
  5. Jan 4, 2013 #4
    What is it that these REU's look for? I noticed they all say ''minorities especially welcomed to apply''..does this mean I'll have a lower chance of getting in since I'm a white male?
  6. Jan 4, 2013 #5
    In my experience most have asked for an unofficial transcript. But there are a few that ask for an official transcript. It isn't too much to ask for considering what they are potentially offering you.

    Admission is very competitive, so I would apply to about 8 programs. Even if you have a strong application, I would still apply to a few lesser known schools, or schools in less than desirable locations to make sure you get a spot. The fact is that there are way more qualified applicants than positions available, so you'll be happy to get in anywhere.
  7. Jan 4, 2013 #6
    ? No. They put it there because there are certain underrepresented minority groups that don't have a lot of people majoring in whatever field the REU is in. People from these groups might be discouraged from applying because they feel isolated in a lot of the activities they participate in. Whatever influence this has is relatively insignificant. I think it's pretty clear as to what they are looking for: people who will make best use of the research opportunities that are available. Don't worry too much about anything other than what is relevant to that. Also, I don't think you should apply to like a dozen REUs (maybe more like 5 - 10) since that means you can't really put much time into each application. But then again, it's my first time applying to REUs too, so take this with a grain of salt.
  8. Jan 4, 2013 #7
    This depends. What they can use your race/gender for in an application varies from state to state, and I've never really quite figured it out. Some applications say they will not use your race/gender information to make admissions decisions, but for some programs this is obviously not the case. But it also helps a lot if you go to school that doesn't have a PhD program or offer many research opportunities for undergraduates. Other than that, you need good grades and good letters of recommendation, and a nice essay. Good luck!
  9. Jan 5, 2013 #8
    I'm also applying to REU's for the first time, and by looking at some alumni photos, I'm convinced that white and asian males (general math demographic) would have a hard time. http://math.illinoisstate.edu/reu/2009REU.jpg
  10. Jan 5, 2013 #9
    I honestly don't know much about how much race/gender/etc. factors into decisions. I just tried to understand why they would put statements like that on an application in the previous post. It could be something like affirmative action for college admissions, but I really have no idea. I don't think it would really help to think about things like this when applying and it would be better to focus on how you can help your own application. But I understand how it could be stressful.
  11. Jan 5, 2013 #10
    It is my understanding that the purpose of REU's (for the national science foundation) is essentially 3 fold. The primary two purposes are to provide undergraduate research experience for those who attend small schools without many research opportunities, and to encourage minorities to pursue PhDs. Secondarily, their purpose is to provide research experience and networking opportunities for talented students in general. Now, the NSF is not directly in charge of these programs, but they provide the money (largely), and so what they want has influence. However, individual institutions will give weight to these things differently. Some REUs are exclusively for minorities, some don't give a crap what type of school you are coming from, some get away with only accepting Asian/white males. *In general* I would say minorities have an advantage, but I would not say that this disadvantages others to the point that they should be at all discourage from applying (unless this particular program seems to have a history of only accepting minorities or something).
  12. Jan 5, 2013 #11
    With the letters of reccomendation, do I reuse the same ones for every REU that I apply to, or get a new one for each one?
  13. Jan 5, 2013 #12
    You use the same ones. Or else you would need ~16 letter writers.
  14. Jan 5, 2013 #13
    Yes, I think it does. I applied to 11 with a 4.0 in physics and ~3.8 total. I got no acceptances.
  15. Jan 8, 2013 #14
    Was getting into an REU designed to be a pain in the butt? They all have their specific requirements and ways they want everything sent, and usually it's not the most convenient way to go about doing it.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  16. Jan 8, 2013 #15
    What REUs want from you is an insignificant amount of work compared to what they are offering you in exchange.
  17. Jan 9, 2013 #16
    I'm not sure. I don't think it affected my REU last year.

    But, to give an example, there were 14 of us. 7 female, 7 males.

    Males: 4 white males (one was an older man around late 40s), 2 black males, 1 Indian (non US resident)

    Females: 5 white females (one was on a green-card here, but went to a US college), 1 Asian, 1 Latino

    So, I guess "whites" dominated, but I felt the group was pretty diverse.
    But I wouldn't stress out about getting into an REU even if you're not a minority. All of my professors have said that if you apply to enough, you'll get into at least one of them because quite a few of the non-popular ones (aka MIT, Columbia, etc) don't fill up.

  18. Jan 9, 2013 #17
    I'll be applying to mostly mathematical ecology/systems modeling programs (Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Bard College, Texas A&M, and a few others). Idk if it's any use though, since I'm first year.
  19. Jan 10, 2013 #18
    Not exactly helping answer your question, but I'll share my experience as another data point for w/e it's worth:

    The biggest two questions I can ask you are: how important is it to you to get into an REU this year, and how annoying do you find the application process?

    I hated the application process (all application processes, really) and thought an REU would be neat but wasn't sure I had the credentials.

    I applied to 4 and got into one after two years of college. In hindsight, I was surprised I got in having had minimal experience in what courses I could have had under my belt at that point to help me make sense of the research they had me doing. Perhaps I just got lucky, but never the less, I went to the one that I was accepted to. My dad advised me to apply to at least 8, but honestly, If I got rejected from 7 and only got into 1, I probably wouldn't have felt very confident going to the 1 that accepted me, and thus might not have gone.

    All that being said, I don't regret going at all. I got a rare opportunity to perform interesting research (whether it really made a difference is altogether a different story), networked a bit, and had fun with my roommates on down time.
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