I'm a second year physics undergrad getting ready to apply for a summer research program at my school. These positions are very competitive so I'd like to ask for some advice. The main component of the application is a 500 word essay stating why I want to participate in the program and what I hope to learn. I'm looking for advice on writing this essay. I'm not at the top of my class in physics. I'm slightly above average on my best days but I have a practically obsessive relationship with my interests. I'm also majoring in math. How do you stand out with these types of essays?