Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The Physics Department recommends that Sophomores and Juniors apply for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). This is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored program where research institutions around the country hire undergraduate students to mentor them in research in the summer. As an REU participant you will gain experience in how research is conducted. You will also make good contacts at potential graduate schools.
The REU program is a great way to see how research in your chosen field is really done. You will learn some new information. Most of our students that participate in these experiences report that they have learned a lot and helped to narrow down their career goals.
The NSF REU website is devoted to searching for available programs and is a good tool. These programs are competitive so it is a good idea to prepare your application with care so that you improve your chances of being selected. It is also a good idea to apply to several different programs so that you increase your chances of success.
You should watch for postings of potential programs. You should also plan to apply in the fall or very early in the spring. It may take some time to acquire recommendations from faculty so be sure to give them as much time as possible to write the letters.
There are other research programs that different institutions run during the summer. You may want to open up your search beyond REUs. The more applications you put out there the more likely you are to get a good result. One such program is called SURF.