Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project
Tips for Submitting a Quality Application
Due to the competitive nature of Summer Undergraduate Research 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. 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 or flow cytometry or specific biological model system, e.g., C. elegans or Drosophila, and 3) has reviewed the FHCRC’s Faculty Page to learn more about the investigators who work at the FHCRC and the types of research conducted. Students should proofread their application thoroughly for accuracy and completeness before submitting.
- Ask a friend(s), professor(s), and/or faculty advisor(s) to review your statement of research interests and career goals. When writing a personal statement, the author should respond to the following key points:
- For what are you applying and why?
- What are your educational and/or career goals?
- Why are you applying to the FHCRC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program?
- What qualifications do you bring?
- How are you prepared to make a contribution to the prospective lab and/or your own professional development? If you don’t have prior lab experience, have you held a position of responsibility or previously worked in a team setting that would lend itself well to this program?
- How will this opportunity further your educational/career goals?
- Request an informative letter(s) of recommendation. An informative letter will highlight the courses you have taken, your quality as a student compared to other students, accomplishments achieved, and how this program will further your educational/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 a former employer or teacher 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 to which you are applying and a brief description of what the program entails; b) the name of the sponsoring institution; c) a brief description of how the program fits in with your career goals; and d) a brief description of what you will contribute to the program and how you will benefit from participating. The last and possibly most important information to convey is: e) when the letter is due, to whom the letter should be addressed, and the options for submitting the letter, i.e. via email, fax, or mailing address.
- Send your reference a friendly reminder – preferably one week prior to the application deadline.
- The last and most important gesture to consider when requesting a recommendation letter is often the most overlooked. In short; send your reference(s) a handwritten NOTE OF THANKS!