Undergraduate Students

Tips for Submitting a Quality Application

Given that the demand for summer research experience exceeds capacity at the Fred Hutch, the following suggestions should be taken into consideration when preparing an application for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program; however adhering to these recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program.  To increase the likelihood of securing summer research experience, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply to a minimum of 5 - 8 different internship programs.

  1. Give yourself adequate time to complete the application.  Responses to open-ended questions should have a thoughtful, detailed response that shows the applicant is: 1) interested in gaining research experience in a specific area, e.g. molecular or cellular biology, public health, etc.; 2) concerned about a particular technology or methodology, e.g., cell culture, structural analyses, flow cytometry or specific biological model system, e.g., C. elegans or Drosophila; and 3) has reviewed the Labs/Projects page to learn more about the specific research interests of Fred Hutch faculty.
  2. Proofread application materials.  Students should thoroughly review their responses and supporting materials for accuracy and completeness before submitting their application.  Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late or revised materials.
  3. Ask a friend(s), professor(s), and/or faculty advisor(s) to review your statement of research interests and career goals.  When preparing this document, the author should consider incorporating the following key points:
    • What are your research interests and career goals?
    • What prior research experience do you have?
    • Why are you applying to the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Fred Hutch?
    • If you don’t have prior research experience, please describe a position of responsibility that would lend itself well to this program.
    • How will this opportunity further your academic and career goals?
  4. Request an informative letter(s) of recommendation.  An informative letter will highlight the courses you have taken, your quality as a student compared to your peers, accomplishments achieved, and how this program will further your academic and career goals.
    When requesting a letter of recommendation, the applicant should:
    • Choose your reference(s) wisely: a letter(s) of recommendation from an individual(s) in a department or field similar to the program for which you are applying is viewed more favorably than a recommendation letter(s) from an individual in a non-related field.
    • Give your reference(s) at least two weeks to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
    • Submit your letter of recommendation request in writing. Giving your references a copy of your resume and/or the following information:  a) the name of the program you are applying to and a brief description of what the program entails; b) the name of the host institution; c) an explanation as to how the program supports your academic and career goals; and d) a brief description of the ways in which you will benefit from participating in the program.  The last and possibly most important information to convey is: e) when the letter is due, to whom the letter should be addressed, and submission methods, i.e. online, email, fax, or mailing address.
    • Send your reference a friendly reminder – preferably one week prior to the application deadline.
    • The last and most important task after requesting a recommendation letter is often the most overlooked: send your reference(s) a handwritten note of thanks!