Hey all! Some time ago I posted a question regarding Pre-IRTA internships at NIH. I got a very positive response and continued looking into them. Most people recommended that I apply for next year (possibly beginning immediately following my May 2006 graduation) sometime in December/January. December appeals, since I can include current semester classes in GPA calc, too. Questions are as follows: 1) Application asks for resume and for cover letter, but everyone keeps mentioning a personal statement. Is the cover letter a cover letter or a PS? I am not sure if they're looking for my life story or not. 2) What sort of things make an app stand out in such a large pool of applicants? Obviously, a good GPA is a must, plus research experience (presentation stuff a plus). But what else? This spot means a LOT to me, so any and all advice would be welcomed!! Some people have mentioned sending snail mail requests for spots directly to labs I am interested in. Thoughts? 3) Anyone leaving a lab (or knows of a spot available) in a lab with an environment they'd recommend? I would definitely be willing to talk; some PI's might appreciate a heads-up on a possible newbie from someone currently working in their lab. 4) Any other info you think I should know - things that you wish you had known when you applied/started an internship. Things I can do that you would recommend, things to watch out for, that sort of thing. If anyone has a cover letter that was especially good that you wouldn't mind my reading, it would be a great help. Thanks in advance for all of your help! If you want more info on me, I'd be glad to talk. I love the research that I am currently doing and find the whole precess fascinating - I want to jump in with both feet for a year and do some serious science before I switch to clinical mode in med school - I know I would rather do that than full-time science long-term. Thanks again!