Pathways Undergraduate Researchers Application Tips

Education & Training

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers Application Tips

Due to the competitive nature of the Pathways Undergraduate Researchers program, the following suggestions should be taken into consideration when preparing an application; however, adhering to these recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

  • Give yourself adequate time to complete the application. 

    Before you begin your application, you should set aside additional time to learn about Fred Hutch. Browse the Hutch’s faculty page at: to learn more about the investigators who work at the Fred Hutch and the types of research conducted.  This will allow you to submit a more well-informed application.

  • Request informative recommendations.

    Our program requires recommenders to complete and submit our recommendation form. We do not accept free-form recommendation letters. This is good information to give your recommender as soon as you ask him/her. Nevertheless, an informative recommendation should come from someone who can highlight the strengths you have that are relevant to the program, your quality as a student compared to other students, accomplishments achieved, and how this program will further your academic and/or career goals.
    When requesting a recommendation, the applicant should:
    1. Choose your references wisely – recommendations from individuals familiar with your interests, history of commitment, and abilities may be viewed more favorably than a recommendation from a person who doesn't know you as well. Additionally, one recommendation from a science teacher or similar can address your interest in and commitment to science. Your recommendations should come from teachers, school staff, or supervisor at a volunteer or paid position. Recommendations from people who haven't been in a position to evaluate your work and contributions within an academic or professional environment, such as sports coaches or family friends, are discouraged. 
    2. Give your references at least two weeks to submit a recommendation on your behalf. We do NOT accept late application materials or recommendations. If you ask your recommender just a few days before the March 31 deadline and s/he doesn't have time to submit it, you may find yourself in a bind since we will not accept late recommendations.
    3. Ask for your recommendation in writing or email in addition to in person. This helps ensure that it won't fall off their "radar". Give your references a copy of your resume and/or the following information:  a) the name of the program to which you are applying and a brief description of what the program entails (a link to the website can be helpful); b) the name of the sponsoring institution; c) a brief description of how the program fits in with your goals; and d) a brief description of what you will contribute to the program and how you will benefit from participating.  e) The last and possibly most important information to convey is when the recommendation is due and how it should be submitted.  You will provide contact information for your recommenders when you complete the Summer High School Internship Program application. Once you submit your application, our system will automatically send your references an email message with further information, including submission instructions.
    4. Consider sending your recommenders a copy of your short essay responses. This may help them give the strongest recommendation possible.
    5. Send your reference a friendly reminder – preferably one week prior to the application deadline.  Confirm that they submitted the recommendation.
    6. The last and most important gesture to consider when requesting a recommendation is often the most overlooked.  In short; send your reference(s) a handwritten NOTE OF THANKS!
  • Your short essay responses should be a thoughtful and carefully-written.

Start early! The short essay responses provide an opportunity to share your experiences and perspectives. It's also the primary place where you can elaborate on your personal qualities and attributes that will help you suceed in this program. The essays should be written with full sentences and should be composed paragraphs. Ask a friend(s), teacher(s), and/or advisor(s) to review your short essay responses for content, clarity, and grammar. The prompts for the short essay responses will be available when the application opens.

The short essay response have 1000 character limits (which include spaces), but we do not expect you to  use all the space. Questions for the 2018 application are:                                               

  1. Please list your previous jobs, internships and/or volunteer activities. Use the following format to include  duration and time commitment: examples a) Cashier, MacDonald’s, June 2016 – Aug 2016, 20 hours/week  b) Weekend Greeter, Science Museum of the Pacific, Sept 2016 – May 2017, 4 hours/week.
  2. There is no doubt that internships are valuable to undergraduates, regardless of background. Explain how  the Pathways Undergraduate program will help you specifically. What are your academic and/or career goals? How  does this internship fit into those goals?
  3. The Pathways Undergraduate program consists of mentored research and group activities with other  interns. What qualities do you have that will allow you to succeed in these two settings? How will your host lab and  the other interns benefit from your participation? 
  4. Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself that sets you apart from other applicants? In  other words, use this space to share something about you that is important for us to know. You might consider  sharing any significant family responsibilities you have and how they impact who you are and what you do. Do not  use this space to circumvent the character limits for the other questions.
  • Proofread your application thoroughly for accuracy and completeness before submitting.