Successful personal statement for summer research programs

Nov 24, 2019
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Quick question- when writing a personal statement for a summer research program, do you write about how that specific program will contribute to meeting your goals/exploring your interests? Many of the internships require personal statements but do not specify specific points to address in it or even if they ask for specific points, they usually include past research experience, academic and career goals, etc. but do not ask anything about how the program will help you or why that program is a good fit for you. What is the best thing to do in these cases? Also, when asked about research interests, do you try to find faculty and match up your interests to a few research areas or are you honest about what you are interested in? (some programs do not even provide a list of participating faculty so it is difficult in these cases to know if they provide any opportunity that matches your interests. I'd appreciate any advice!
 

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Quick question- when writing a personal statement for a summer research program, do you write about how that specific program will contribute to meeting your goals/exploring your interests? Many of the internships require personal statements but do not specify specific points to address in it or even if they ask for specific points, they usually include past research experience, academic and career goals, etc. but do not ask anything about how the program will help you or why that program is a good fit for you. What is the best thing to do in these cases? Also, when asked about research interests, do you try to find faculty and match up your interests to a few research areas or are you honest about what you are interested in? (some programs do not even provide a list of participating faculty so it is difficult in these cases to know if they provide any opportunity that matches your interests. I'd appreciate any advice!
i'd say it depends on the program. If it is an internal program from your school, its ok to focus more on your professional growth. If the program is outside of your school, i'd suggest writing about both your interest/growth/career plans, but also what you can do for them, and why you are a good fit (without sounding too arrogant).
If you do not have a specific faculty or a PI that you know is already requesting you, and you will be later matched with someone, i suggest mentioning several general directions that you are interested in. If you are too specific in your essay it would be harder to sell yourself later. For example, lets say you are interested in non-small cell lung cancer research, and you are very much invested in it. If you know that your school/this program is famous for it, i say mention it. But if not, it is safer to keep it general with "cancer research", if it makes sense.
Also, dont forget, some projects will be clinical, some basic science, some social aspects of medicine. So think, - are you comfortable with doing all of those? Is there something you would not do? For example, i was not ok with experiments with animals, so i knew i needed to exclude that. This doesnt go into your essay though, there is usually space in the application for questions like that. But something to think about. For example, if you know that all the labs in your school/in the research center test on animals, i would focus essay more towards clinical research or social sides of medicine if it is more important for you to get into this program, rather than find a certain cancer project that doesnt test on animals. For example. Basically, think abou things like these.
 
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