Feb 16, 2020
21
3
United States
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi! I'm currently a freshman at Hopkins studying virtually from home. I've looked into so many summer research programs/internships and am wondering how I can really build my skillset in order to get into a research program like this for one of my summers. So far, I haven't been on campus so I haven't gotten the chance to get involved in Hopkins research, and I am not able to do research near me since I'm about an hour away from the nearest university, nor did I do research during high school.

I was wondering how it's possible to build up a skillset to apply to a summer program like at the NIH or any of the other SURF programs. I haven't had exposure to professional research and my lab experience has been focused on chemistry labs for three years in high school, which obviously did not encompass any hardcore lab techniques as used in biochemistry and biology labs. How can I make a plan to be able to do this? Since I haven't been involved in professional research, I'm also not even sure what my research interest even is: I know what kind of research I want to do, but I don't know a specific issue I'm interested in.

Obviously I know it's limited to do things like that now, but what can I work on? I've been maintaining my GPA, so far my grades are good. I've gotten involved in clubs and have taken leaderships in organizations so I've been building leadership. I haven't built extensive relationships to warrant a strong letter of recommendation.

Is it just a matter of waiting to get on campus, getting into a lab, and then waiting for after sophomore year for a program? When is the best time to go to a program like this?

Would love to hear all of your thoughts on this. Thanks!!
 

lull

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2018
220
213
When is the best time to go to a program like this?

Summer after sophomore or junior year is when a lot people will do it.

I was wondering how it's possible to build up a skillset to apply to a summer program like at the NIH or any of the other SURF programs. I haven't had exposure to professional research and my lab experience

You don't have to have research experience for these kinds of programs. It could be a class that had a research focus. For example, I took a topics course on neurodegenerative therapies and we read a lot of research papers so I was able to talk about that in my personal statement. I noticed clinical research focused programs really like people who have clinical volunteering/employment.

which obviously did not encompass any hardcore lab techniques as used in biochemistry and biology labs

This isn't necessary. I couldn't even use a pipettor starting out. If you're interested in bench research, they will likely teach you these things if you express strong interest. It is more important to go in having strong organizational and communication skills, knowing how to use excel/powerpoint, taking detailed notes, having good writing skills, being on time, and having a willingness to ask questions and learn.
 
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Orims

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2013
260
497
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Just a word of advice, many of these programs have a mission of increasing enrollment to PhD programs. As a result, many of them actively screen against students who will use them as a way to boost their research experience for MD applications. The way you write out your application will be very important!
 
Nov 8, 2020
14
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Summer after sophomore or junior year is when a lot people will do it.



You don't have to have research experience for these kinds of programs. It could be a class that had a research focus. For example, I took a topics course on neurodegenerative therapies and we read a lot of research papers so I was able to talk about that in my personal statement. I noticed clinical research focused programs really like people who have clinical volunteering/employment.



This isn't necessary. I couldn't even use a pipettor starting out. If you're interested in bench research, they will likely teach you these things if you express strong interest. It is more important to go in having strong organizational and communication skills, knowing how to use excel/powerpoint, taking detailed notes, having good writing skills, being on time, and having a willingness to ask questions and learn.
How are you supposed to get hundreds of hours and a few publications before you apply, if you join that type of program as late as in junior year?
 

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