Randall Research Scholars program- thoughts/ experiences welcome!

I’d love to hear any information on the collective experience with RRS at UA. DS20 has his application in, but I have to admit that we aren’t fully versed in the merits of the program. We have Googled and searched CC. From what we can tell, it is a competitive program, it doesn’t come with merit aid, but it is an opportunity to get involved with research from Day 1. Are we missing any key elements or benefits to the program? I don’t mean the question to sound dismissive in any way, we just aren’t familiar enough with the program to know if it is a highly desirable opportunity, or more of a ‘nice to have’ while attending.

My child has had a very good experience with it. He did get a several thousand dollar per year scholarship, but I don’t think everyone did.

One benefit was the like-minded peer group. There is a lot of “peer advising” going on, where students encourage other students to take advantage of opportunities.

Another benefit was that he was forced to be proactive and find a research mentor early on. Depending on your kid, if they are really proactive anyway, that might not matter.

If your S is interested in UG research and going to graduate school, but not sure how to accomplish that, then I would classify it as “highly desirable” rather than “nice to have.” Otherwise, I would put it into the “nice to have” category. (Of course, the money is always desirable…)

Decisions for finalist weekend are posted in the Crimson emails for applicants. Good luck to all who applied!

my son loved his time with CBHP (the former name). the opportunities, the research, the private lab, etc. he went to UA as a shy student and emerged a confident person who can give excellent presentations.

When do they tend to find out if they made it in? My dd is applying this year.

Hi bandmomof3,
I realize you posted this quite a while ago, but in case you were still wondering (and to bump this thread for others who might be interested), I thought I’d jump in and reply.

RRSP applications are typically due mid-December. In late January/early Feb., select students receive invitations for a finalist visit (not sure if they’ll be in person or online this year), and students are notified of their selection for the program in either late Feb. or early March. According to their website, it looks like this year they have a priority application deadline of Dec. 13th with a second application deadline of January 31st.

My daughter is currently a junior at Bama and is in RRSP. She absolutely loves it. As a freshman, she appreciated that it immediately gave her a group of highly motivated, like-minded peers. Freshman RRSP members are matched with an older RRSP member who mentors them, which is helpful with everything from navigating campus life to course selections (dd found her mentor to be very helpful in deciding which semester she should take different courses). RRSP very quickly became dd’s home away from home, and it’s not uncommon for her to hang out in the RRS lab between classes (well, except for this past semester due to Covid). Dd has enjoyed the research she’s been doing through RRSP. Students have quite a bit of flexibility in terms of picking the project they work on, which she has appreciated. In addition to research, RRSP also puts a great deal of emphasis on professional development. As part of that, each semester (starting their sophomore year) students give presentations on the research they’ve been working on. You can watch this semester’s presentations live at https://live.rrsp.ua.edu . Presentations run Dec. 2nd - Dec. 4th from 4 pm - 9 pm.

Anyway, all of this is really just to say that I very much hope your dd applied (or applies - it’s not too late!) to RRSP. If she has any questions, or would like to speak to someone who is currently in RRSP, please let me know and I’ll try to connect her with my dd.

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Spoilerofdogs, thanks for responding. Is RRSP a separate application? I thought it was part of the Honor’s application.

Randall’s has a separate application that students complete after they’ve applied to the Honor’s College. There’s some info here: https://honors.ua.edu/admissions (scroll down to the RRSP section). The year my daughter applied, the application consisted of an additional essay, which if I recall correctly, was on why they were interested in doing research. I don’t know if they’ve changed the process for this year; they might have more essays or essay options since not all students will have test scores to submit. I will say that I believe that (at least in the past) they used both the Honor’s College essay as well as the one specific to the Randall’s application in their decision process, so both are important.

Thank you spoilerofdogs.

D is is working on the finishing touches of her essay today. Will submit before midnight. This program would be perfect for her. She will get Prez Elite and major in EE or Comp E. She is introverted and academically focused and would flourish with like minded kids.

TVBingeWatcher2 - My daughter is a junior Computer Engineering major at Bama and is in RRSP (she’s actually one of the lab managers for Randall’s). Let me know if your daughter has any questions on Randall’s or Comp E - I’d be happy to put her in contact with my daughter!

That is awesome. Thank you so much. We are touring in March when D is on spring break. Would love to meet your daughter if she is still there.

She’ll be there & would be happy to show your daughter around the lab and/or campus! I’ll send you a message with her email so you can get in touch with her before your visit.

What is your daughter’s major? I have a daughter who is considering majoring in engineering (undecided), and I am not sure how she would have the time/room in her schedule for engineering and RRS. I would love any advice or insight you have. Thank you.

My son is currently participating in the RRSP, as a Bio/pre med major. His actual research started this year, and he is very busy but he loves it. Highly recommend this program!!

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My daughter is majoring in computer engineering. She’s currently a junior. She’s also one of the lab managers for the RRS computer lab. She’s very busy, but she loves RRS and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I know there are quite a few engineering majors in RRS, so it is certainly doable.

If you or your daughter would like to talk to her, please let me know & I can send you her email. She’d be happy to answer any questions you have. And if you end up in Tuscaloosa for a visit, she’d be happy to meet up with you and show you around.

Thank you so much for your offer! I am going to take you up on it, and I will message you later today. We will definitely be in Tuscaloosa at some point. Thank you again.

I got an email today that I’m a Finalist, with an invite to a virtual interview “weekend” on the 21st-22nd. I’m more interested in UFE (though I think you can do both?), which has a weekend the two immediately preceding days, since I’m more into history & polisci than STEM stuff. If anyone here knows about humanities and social science research opportunities w/RRS though, I would love to hear about that.

Congratulations on being selected as a finalist for RRS! I look forward to meeting you over finalist weekend. I am a Junior in RRS majoring in Computer Engineering (and I am spoilerofdogs’ daughter). To be honest, it is highly unlikely that you will be invited to both RRS and UFE. RRS is an interdisciplinary program and there are plenty of research opportunities in history and polisci. I know one person who, for his research project, did a semantic analysis of 21st Century Presidential Debate rhetoric. STEM majors may be the most common in Randalls, but there are still a bunch of people who are not STEM majors. I would definitely ask more about it finalist weekend or even the week leading up to finalist weekend.

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Thanks! That’s very helpful. And yeah I’m planning to ask more about that during the weekend