I want to do an REU in chemical engineering this summer (between soph and junior years). However, the applications don't open up for them until February. Should I apply for an internship before then, even though I don't want to go into industry (if I do, it would be R&D). I plan on getting at least a master's degree. Also, how competitive are REUs at top schools (MIT, CalTech, UCLA, Duke, etc.) in the field of nano or biomolecular? I will have ~3.8 gpa and one year of research completed. If I don't have a shot at these, what are some other ones I can look into? Thanks.