Undergraduate Students

Frequently Asked Questions Among Applicants

Eligibility

Q: I will not be in the summer before my final year of undergraduate studies. Am I eligible to participate in the SURP?

A: No, we only consider applications from students who will be entering the summer before their final year of undergraduate studies, meaning the applicant is graduating in the spring or winter following completion of the SURP. Our program is tailored for students at this stage of their academic career. No exceptions will be considered. However, you can consult a list of research internships in science or medicine offered nationwide to high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students here.

Q: I will graduate six months after the Summer Undergraduate Research Program has concluded. Do I meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the program this summer?

A: Yes, you meet the eligibility criteria to participate in this program because you are entering the summer before the FINAL year (or semester or quarter) of undergraduate studies. It is essential that you explain the circumstances of your academic standing in the “Transcript” section of the application.

Q: I will be three credits shy of junior academic standing by the time I apply to participate in SURP, although technically I will be entering the summer before my final year of undergraduate studies. Do I meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the program this summer?

A: Yes, you meet the eligibility criteria to participate in this program because you are entering the summer before the FINAL year (or semester or quarter) of undergraduate studies. It is essential that you explain the circumstances of your academic standing in the “Transcript” section of the application.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen or green card holder, but I attend a college or university in the U.S. Am I eligible to participate in the SURP?

A: Yes, you are eligible to apply if you have a student visa.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen or green card holder and I attend an instiuttion in a country outside the U.S. Am i eligible to participate in the SURP?

          A: No, you are not eligible for our program at this time.

Q: Can you clarify definition of the term, "permament resident"?

          A: "Permanent resident" means the applicant is one of the following: 1) an F-1 visa holder (see the      
          regulations for employment under the F-1 Curricular Practical Training below) or 2) a J-1 visa holder
          (see the regulations for employment under the J-1 visa holder below). Both types of work
          authorization are issued and approved by the applicant's University. If there are any specific
          questions regarding employment, the applicant should contact their University for information and                       required steps.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training
An F-1 student may be authorized by the Designated School Officer (DSO) to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.  Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training.  Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training.

A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.

There is not regulatory limit on either the number of times or the length of time a student may engage in either part- or full-time curricular practical training.  This will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirements of the student's program.

F-1 students who engage in an aggregate of 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, however, become ineligible for optional practical training (OPT). Optional Practical Training is work authorization for post-completion of degree.

J-1 Student
J-1 Student students may engage in two kinds of employment: (1) academic training related to the course of study, and (2) other employment related to academic funding, on-campus work, or economic necessity.  Each kind of employment has its own criteria and limits.

(1)  Academic trianing - Academic Training is training related to a student's field of study. Academic training may involve suquential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers, provided the application and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity, and the time limits are not exceeded. A college or university student can participate in academic training as follows:  18-month general limit.  For undergraduate and pre-doctoral training, a student can engage in up to 18 months or the period of the full course of study, whichever is less.

The general procedures for granting academic training are as follows:
        a.  The student must present to the school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer a letter                 from the student's academic deam or adviser;
        b.  The school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer must evaluate the academic
             dean/adviser's recommendation, determine to what extent the student has previously participated in
             academic training, and make a determination of whether academic trainng can be granted;

(2)  Other Employment - J student employment can be authorized by the school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer for the following types of employment:

        a.  Employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship; or
        b.  Employment that occurs on the premises of the post-secondary accredited educational institution the
             visitor is authorized to attend; or
        c.  Employment that occurs off-campus, which is necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen
             economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status. (Also see 4.28.3.2
             Special Student Relief for J-1 students)

The school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer must authorize the student employment in advance, before the employment begins.  Authorization can be granted in periods of up to 12 months at a time, although sponsors are free to grant authorization for shorter periods.

The school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer must approve of the student employment before it begins.  If the student's DS-2019 was issued by a sponsor other than the school (a sponsoring agency), the sponsoring agency's RO/ARO must provide the required employment authorization. 

The school's J1 Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer must approve "the specific employment in advance and in writing."

Transcripts

Q: I transferred to the University of XX from XX community college.  The application portal only allows me to upload one transcript; which transcripts should I upload?

A: You should create a combined PDF file of both transcripts and upload it as a single file.

Program Dates

Q: My finals overlap the first week of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Can I still apply to participate in the program?

A: We require accepted students to commit to the program dates in their entirety; our expectation is that you begin the program on orientation day.  You are welcome to apply to the SURP. If you are accepted to participate, we suggest that you negotiate with your professors to take your finals earlier than scheduled.  It is VERY important that you communicate your intention to reconcile your availability in your statement of research interests and career goals.

Mentor Selection

Q: Is there any way to know if the faculty whose research is of interest to me is willing to host an intern from this program?

A: All FHCRC faculty members are potential mentors. The process of placing interns in a host lab or research group is a reciprocal effort that is determined once a student has been accepted into the program.

Q: Do you recommend contacting specific faculty in advance of submitting my application?

A: No, we do not recommend contacting specific faculty about prospective opportunities within their group or lab as part of the application process.  In the 'Research Interests' section of the application is a question that reads, 'Please explain why you would like to work with the faculty member(s) listed above.'  It would be best if you could articulate WHY you are interested in working with the three specific faculty members you identified in response to that question, which will give us a sense for the particular areas of research that are of interest to you at this stage of your academic career.  If you are accepted into the program and the three faculty you list are not able to host an intern, we will approach other faculty members whose research interests match yours about the possibility of hosting you within their lab/research group.

Q: If I am interested in working with a specific faculty mentor, is it acceptable for me to list only that lab/research group in my application?

A: We cannot guarantee that a specific faculty member will be able to host an intern; therefore we advise you to list more than one faculty member whose research is of interest to you.

Q: When identifying the three faculty members whose research is of interest to me, should they all have the same research focus or can I select faculty with different research interests?

A: We suggest that you select faculty members whose research is of interest to you.  If you have broad research interests, it would be fine to identify faculty with varied research interests and/or within different divisions of the FHCRC.

Q: Does my selection of faculty whose research is of interest to me have any impact on my chances of being accepted into the program?

A: No, the availability of the faculty members you are interested in working with will not increase or decrease your probability of being accepted into the program.

Letter(s) of Recommendation

Q: Do you recommend both letters of recommendation come from professors or academic advisors, or is that up to the applicant to decide?

A: We recommend that your letters of recommendation come from a research supervisor and/or academic professor, but ultimately the decision is yours.  Please visit Tips for Submitting a Quality Application to reference some important considerations when requesting a letter of recommendation.

Technical Issues

Q: I have been having trouble loading the application on my computer; is there another way to view it?

A: To resolve technical issues with viewing or uploading the application, please contact Web Communications at: SURP@fhcrc.org.

Q: One of my recommenders did not receive the automated message with instructions to submit the letter of recommendation.  What should I do?

A: In the event that your references did not receive an automated request for a letter of recommendation on your behalf, you can provide the following URL: https://is-ext.fhcrc.org/open/surp/rec.php to them, along with your applicant code.  This URL and your applicant code can be referenced in the confirmation email you received following submission of your application.

The Application Process

Q: I want to send my applicant code to my references, but I don't have the code yet.

A: You will receive your applicant code once your complete application is submitted.  Your references will then receive an automated email with your applicant code and instructions for submitting their recommendation letter. Letters of recommendation are due one week following the application deadline; however we recommend that you give your references plenty of advance notice prior to submitting your application."

Q: One of my references will be on vacation and therefore not able to submit my letter of recommendation before the deadline. Can I have my reference email you a letter of recommendation directly?

A: No, all letters must be submitted via the online application system.

Q: Can I send you an updated version of my transcript?

A: No, additions to your transcript will not be considered following submission of your application.

Q: Can I send you additional information for my application, like a resume?

A: No, to ensure a fair review of all applications, we only consider the materials specifically requested via the online application system.

Q: I just learned about the SURP at the FHCRC, but the deadline has passed. Can I still apply?

A: No, we only review applications that are received by the deadline. We maintain a compilation of research internships in science or medicine offered nationwide to high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students, which can be accessed here.

Q: When can I expect to hear about the status of my application?

A: All applicants will receive notification of their application status via email by mid- to late-February.

Other Internship Opportunities at the FHCRC

Q: I am not eligible for the SURP, but would like to learn more about other internship opportunities at the FHCRC.

A:  If you are interested in other internship opportunities at the FHCRC, please visit this website.

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