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The Value of REU Programs

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Shirafune

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I was thinking of applying to the REU summer programs, but was wondering if I should even bother with them. I mean, by the time I start these programs, I will have had 2 full years of research, summers included. I intend to continue doing research for another 2 years, one of which will be during my application cycle.

Another concern is that I will most likely need major surgery next summer and will require about 3-4 weeks of rest before I can resume lab work.

I plan on applying for MD-PhD.
 

pluto101

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If you are eligible for REU programs, that means you're still in undergrad, I suspect no more than a sophomore. If so, I'm skeptical that you have had 2 years of meaningful research experience.

REUs are excellent sources of high quality, hands-on research experience. OTOH, if you're already running projects in your current lab, it might be better to stick with them.

There's no prestige inherent in an REU. All that matters is the quality of the work you do. An REU is an excellent chance to get into a top-notch lab and take charge of a small project. In addition, you are working full time in a lab over the summer. There's an immense difference between the quality of part time work and full time work. If you're already getting this kind of experience, don't bother.

Of course, if you anticipate taking 3-4 weeks off of your work, then you shouldn't be applying for any kind of commitment like an REU.
 

Shirafune

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If you are eligible for REU programs, that means you're still in undergrad, I suspect no more than a sophomore. If so, I'm skeptical that you have had 2 years of meaningful research experience.

REUs are excellent sources of high quality, hands-on research experience. OTOH, if you're already running projects in your current lab, it might be better to stick with them.

There's no prestige inherent in an REU. All that matters is the quality of the work you do. An REU is an excellent chance to get into a top-notch lab and take charge of a small project. In addition, you are working full time in a lab over the summer. There's an immense difference between the quality of part time work and full time work. If you're already getting this kind of experience, don't bother.

Of course, if you anticipate taking 3-4 weeks off of your work, then you shouldn't be applying for any kind of commitment like an REU.

Thanks for the reply. I am doing meaningful work right now that has resulted in authorship, though the paper has yet to be accepted. I am hopeful that I may be able to get another 2nd author publication out before I apply. I plan to put in at least 8 hour days next summer, whatever the program. I could not put in that time these past summers due to summer classes and studying for my MCAT. And given my surgery, I think I will just stick with my home institution and try to push out data as quickly and as high quality as possible.
 
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