How to Apply

The EEB REU program is designed to support students in their pursuit of a career in science. Admission will be offered to qualified students who can demonstrate that the program will substantially benefit their education. The essay is the most important part of the application. We are looking for students who can tell us how the program will benefit their career, and who can choose a project with their science career goals in mind.

Minimum requirements for admission are:

  1. USA citizenship or permanent residence status.
  2. A 2.5 GPA.
  3. At least one term of college-level coursework completed before enrolling in the program.
  4. Continued college-level enrollment after the program. Students who graduate before the start of the program are ineligible.
  5. Majoring in a biology related discipline, mathematics or computer science.

Steps for Applying

  1. The relationship between the mentor and the student is essential for the success of the student, so choice of mentor and project are important. Review the projects listed on the project page. Choose 1-3 projects that interest you, and be prepared to explain how your choices will aid your scientific development. (A passion for an organism since childhood, although helpful, is not grounds enough for choosing a project). You can learn more about projects from the background papers provided, and you can learn more about the mentors through the mentor page (click on the links with the mentor’s name). Check carefully for prerequisites, because not all projects are suitable for all students.
  2. Write your essay. Please see the instructions below.
  3. Ask a professor who knows you well to write a letter of recommendation for you. Tell him/her about the program, show them your essay and request that he/she send a letter to by February 15. Letters written on school letterhead and attached as a pdf to the email are preferred, but the text of the letter within an email is also acceptable. Choose someone who knows you well enough to comment on your work ethic and the benefit you may receive from the experience. The letter writer must be a faculty member; letters from graduate teaching assistants will not be accepted.
  4. Fill in the application form. Read it carefully before starting so that you prepare all necessary information before you start; you will not be able to go back and change your answers after you submit the form. Attach your essay when instructed to do so.
  5. Send a copy of your transcript(s) to Unofficial transcripts are sufficient.  Please include your name as part of the file name (for example, Smith.transcript.pdf).

Complete all of the above by February 15. Review will start on February 16; late applications, although accepted, may not receive full consideration.

Personal essay

The essay is an essential piece of your application. Your ability to convey your thoughts coherently is very important. Have at least one person critique your essay before you submit it. Although we do not have a word limit, try to be concise. You should aim for one to two paragraphs for parts 1 and 2, and aim for one paragraph about each research project you choose for part 3.

Besides the instructions below, that you should read carefully, we have written advice about how to write your essay. Please read the attached document, which has examples and explanations about why we have chosen these questions.

The essay has three parts that should be treated separately; label each of the three parts with the number and header below:

  1. Why I want to participate in research this summer.
    In this section, explain why you are interested in doing research this summer
    For example, you could answer some of these questions:
    • Do you have a passion for science?
    • Do you wish to experience research to determine if it is a possible career for you?
    • Do you want to try a different field of research than you have experienced before to see how it fits with you?
    • Why is now the time for you to do research?
    • What are your career goals, and how will the program help you attain them?
  2. What I can contribute to the program.
    Diversity in all dimensions is necessary to make scientific progress. What can you bring to this program that might be different from other students?
    For example, some questions you might address are:
    • This is a biology program; if you are math or computer science student, what could you contribute?
    • If you are a biology major, what could you bring to the program that’s different from what a math/computer student might bring
    • Have you had life experiences that might influence your participation?
    • Does the type of institution you attend makes you different from many REU students?
    • What makes you unique or unusual in science?
  3. Why I want to work on the projects I have chosen
    Pick 1-3 projects and rank them by your preference (1 = most preferred). Please be aware that competition for admission is affected by how many other students choose the same project(s). Students are admitted to work directly with a particular mentor, and each mentor will have only one REU student researcher. Thus, it is to your advantage to select three potential mentors. Please address the following questions for each project selected:
    • What is your intellectual reason for choosing this project? For this question looking at the background paper and the webpage of the mentor may help.
    • How will this project benefit your development as a scientist?

A new systematics project was added on February 8, 2018

Applications are closed for 2018.

Follow us on Twitter @KUEEBREU for program announcements.


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