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Research...?

parkeppuparkeppu 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
Hey guys,

I’m a junior from Southern California looking to apply to some extremely selective colleges next year (probably Stanford REA and two or three other schools of similar caliber for my “reaches”), with a strong STEM spike, and stats that are at or above the 50th percentile (1590 SAT, 36 ACT, 4.0UW/4.6W, etc.). As someone who has been an aspiring researcher for around two years, I thought it would be great to apply to some summer research internships for high school students (not for college, obviously, but because it’s something I’ve been interested in for an extremely long time). My list of research internships closely resembled what some would call a “typical” college list: I had RSI and JAX SSP as “reach”, three matches, and two safeties.

However, I ended up getting rejected from all of them, and it looks like I won’t be spending my summer in a lab, doing what I really wanted to do. I know that there’s so much else to do besides research during the summer, but I’m dealing with hardcore feelings of rejection and sadness, especially because my attempts to “cold-call” researchers (I was extremely courteous and polite, I swear) have amounted to nothing but a stack of forty or fifty declined phone calls and an even larger amount of unread emails. I’ve conducted research at home, but it’s a far cry from what I wanted to do.

Does anyone have advice? Is it time to give up research, knowing I lack the so-called “foot in the door” people familiar with the field tell me I need? And, as a side note, to people familiar with college admissions (because I sure am not), does spending a so-called “nonproductive” summer doing what you love help your application?

Sorry for this long-winded rant… Anyone who can help, thanks! Appreciate it.
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Replies to: Research...?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9830 replies110 threads Senior Member
    I think it's going to be very hard for high school students to have an opportunity for research this summer because of C-19. My D's school has suspended all non essential research and if they resume, there will be college students with cancelled internships lining up for those jobs.

    The vast majority of HS students do not have research to put on their college applications. It's OK! There will be plenty of colleges happy to have you with your stats and experiences.


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  • parkeppuparkeppu 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Thank you so much! It means a lot :)
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  • eldonjacob177eldonjacob177 14 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Have you thought of doing online research summer programs?
    Everything's affected due to the virus, but depending on your interest or field you can possibly check out Horizon summer programs.
    You can work with instructors and teaching assistants from top-ranked universities like Harvard, Oxford to churn out a research paper, possibly getting a recommendation letter that will increase your chances of getting into the colleges you want.
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  • JollyJane14JollyJane14 1 replies0 threads New Member
    That program costs like $6,000 though, so it might not be worth it. I know I wouldn't spend all that money.
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  • parkeppuparkeppu 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @eldonjacob177 thanks for your suggestion! I did just go onto their website, but it looks like it's too expensive and (imo) a little.... idk how to say it but it looks like they monetized the research experience - exactly what @JollyJane14 was saying.

    I feel like I'm going to be either breeding tomatoes in the garden again or producing music in the garage this summer 😂😂. Thanks for your input! Love yall 😍😍
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  • eldonjacob177eldonjacob177 14 replies2 threads Junior Member
    That program costs like $6,000 though, so it might not be worth it. I know I wouldn't spend all that money.

    Really? Who tells you it's 6,000? Get your facts right :)
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  • whas5upwhas5up 26 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @eldonjacob177
    how much does it cost?
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  • blossomblossom 10335 replies9 threads Senior Member
    1- Most students do not have research experience when they get to college
    2- Most "research" done by HS kids is either administrative work, or very junior, grunt level stuff
    3- Faculty can barely figure out how to get their post-doc's back in the lab right now what with Covid, limits on the number of people gathering in a building, etc. let alone worry about what to do with a HS student.

    Come up with another plan. Get a job- any job. Find volunteer work with an organization helping folks who are unemployed, or providing services to first responders. Do yard work for elderly neighbors. Take an online course in something that fascinates you that you don't have time to learn about during the year (astronomy? Renaissance Art? Russian literature?)

    You'll be fine. Nobody is working their plan A right now, time to pivot to plan B.
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