Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

REU Indecisiveness!

  1. Apr 1, 2010 #1
    Hey guys, ive been following the forum for some time,

    I am a sophomore, and I applied to about 12 REU programs this semester, since I have a 2.9 GPA and was not even expecting to get into any since they are so competitive.
    Turns out I got into two! and I have to make a decision by monday.

    On one hand I feel lucky that I have the ability to even choose, but at the same I still wish/hope that I get into my top choice REU program, but I do not think I will hear from them on monday. I already emailed asking for the status of my application, and they said they were still not finished.

    I am conflicted if to choose one of these REUs or take a chance and hope that my first choice or the other 8 accept me.

    what should I do? And does prestige matter when it comes to REUs

    thanks for your time
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2010 #2
    Personally I think taking a chance is stupid unless you have some kind of guaranteed back up plan that is at least as good as one of the two REUs you have been accepted to. A less prestigious REU is infinitely more valuable than a summer doing nothing.
  4. Apr 1, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Well, it sounds like you'll have to make a decision then. You have to weigh the guaranteed options that you have against the probability that you'll get into a more desirable program each mulitiplied by the desirability of the respective program.

    The one hint I have is that from my experience "prestige" is highly subjective and you should avoid making decisions based on it.
  5. Apr 2, 2010 #4
    My recommendation is to not take the chance. REUs in general are all really selective and "prestigious." I don't think you need to worry about how different REUs compare to one another in prestige.
  6. Apr 2, 2010 #5
    hey thanks for the responses

    the prestige question was mostly curiosity.

    The only reason I wanted to take a chance was mostly because my first choice is a little different since its CS/engineering research with an emphasis on engineering ethics. But I guess that If I do not hear from them, I should not risk it and I should make my decision on monday.
  7. Apr 2, 2010 #6
    I'd wait until the last minute to reply. If your top choices haven't made a decision by then, I'd probably go with what you got. Otherwise you may very well end up missing out on something good.
  8. Apr 2, 2010 #7
    Thanks, yeah. I actually got into another one today!which I have to reply by next friday. But still. The reason i applied to so many is because i did not think I had a chance, and now I am not even sure under what criteria to choose.
  9. Apr 2, 2010 #8
    I was sort of in the same boat, but my situation was slightly different. I have a pretty good GPA and letters of rec., but I am from a very, very small school that I can guarantee nobody has ever heard of. I applied to 9 and, to my surprise, got into 4 (one had the funding yanked by the NSF).

    My final decision was based on a series of emails that I had with the professor. I asked him some pretty specific questions about the program and he did a fantastic job of answering them -- basically he made me feel important. Ha! Some of the other programs treated my questions like a chore. Not cool.

    I also decided that I didn't want to gamble. I didn't want to give up this REU for a chance at my top choice. That later proved to be smart, since I didn't get into the other program. And, actually, the more research I did, I'm sort of glad I didn't get into my "top" choice. I don't know if it would have suited my interests as well.
  10. Apr 3, 2010 #9
    yeah thats very well true. Well at this point i would not be gambling anymore since I have a third choice which to answer to by friday. but i think I already know what I am going to do. What type of questions did you ask in order to decide, union68?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook