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REU or research at home institution?

  1. Jan 31, 2013 #1
    I was just wondering which people generally prefer to do and which is usually more productive if one has both options. I'm guessing that research at one's home institution is more productive because you can work on the project for a longer period of time, but REUs seem to be good for networking and learning new techniques. What to people think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2013 #2
    I would say REU if you can. You get payed and every professor that I have talked with has said they look great on apps. Plus you get to have your own place for a while if you currently live with your padres.
  4. Feb 1, 2013 #3


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    It's usually a good idea to start with research at your own school, and it helps you get an REU the year later if you can show you've taken advantage of the resources your own school offers and did well. I did that, and had my choice of great REU programs the next year.
  5. Feb 2, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the advice :) I've applied to a very, very small number of REUs because I'm doing some awesome research at my home university, and if I stay on for the summer, there's a very good chance of publishing in a prestigious journal, or at the very least, being able to present at professional conferences. I've applied to REUs primarily for the purpose of getting a change of scenery and exposing myself to new fields, but I'm not sure if I should apply to more REUs or whether I should continue my research over the summer... has anyone been in this situation?
  6. Feb 2, 2013 #5
    I'm basically in your situation now, I had the chance to continue my project over summer (through my school's own REU, so I would have gotten all the amenities) but I'm applying to a lot of other REU programs instead. For me, I'd much rather work with a new professor on a different topic, especially since my school doesn't have much variety with our research. I think the networking aspect is worth a lot, not to mention another letter of recommendation. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to go somewhere where I'd like to go to grad school, and make some connections for that as well. When I return to my own school, I plan on continuing my project and hopefully writing a paper (assuming I get an REU that is).
  7. Feb 4, 2013 #6


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    I am actually in a similar situation. I am currently deciding between staying at my home institution or going somewhere else. The reason I am applying elsewhere though is because I have spent the last two summers at my home institution. If you are a rising sophomore or junior I would definitely recommend staying at your home institution as you will be more productive and can continue your project as an independent study (what I am doing right now) and apply to REUs and other programs later on. It's hard to get a lot done at REUs, especially if you don't have any previous experience. I actually had to the opportunity to do one at my home institution, and from what I observed, it seems like productivity really varied by how much time the student put and also by their specific project and their mentor.
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