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REU Statements and what???

  1. Sep 21, 2015 #1
    I really want to start doing some undergraduate research (Physics major, Math minor, 2nd year of Physics classes starting now) and I have no idea what they want to hear from me in any personal statements. For example, one of them just asks "How do you think this research experience might further your education or professional goals?" There is no hint as to how long your response should be. Also, the real reasons I want to do research is to figure out what I enjoy doing with physics and if I even enjoy doing academic research at all (although I think it will be really fun) - so basically in order to help figure out what my goals should be. What should I be saying??? What are they actually looking for??? Why does everyone else seem so much more qualified than I do???
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2015 #2
    Sorry this question is so vague just having a mid-degree crisis. Please help.
  4. Sep 21, 2015 #3
    See this: http://www.carroll.edu/files/files/students/careerservices/writing%20personal%20statements%20.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Sep 21, 2015 #4


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    I'm not sure they're looking for any specific answer.

    Generally when people hire for such things they want to know a few things about you like:
    1. Do you know what you're signing up for? If they're taking on a student to assist with a research project they want to know that the student is aware at least in a rough sense of what the job entails, and that you're not going to get upset because you don't have a PRL publication after two weeks.
    2. When they ask about career goals the point is usually that they want to give the project to someone who has an idea of where they're going and how that position might help them. I think it's fine to say more-or-less what you've said in the thread. You're a physics major and you want to get involved with a research project to gain some experience doing research. No one expects you to have a perfectly outlined career path. But are you planning on going to graduate school? What areas of physics interest you at this point? What skills are you hoping to gain from the position (which should align with question one).
    3. What has attracted you to this specific program or project? Lots of people are just looking for "something" but it counts in your favor if you have some specific reasons for wanting to get into this specific project.
    If no length of answer is specified then (1) contact the department and ask what they want, and failing that (2) they probably don't want a novel. Keep it to a paragraph or so.
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