Now is the time for your student to begin making plans for summer 2010. Despite the current economic conditions, participating in a summer research opportunity is a viable alternative for summer employment. There are summer research programs throughout the country sponsored by colleges and universities. For example, the Purdue University (West Lafayette) Summer Research Opportunity Program provides participants with a $4,000 research stipend for eight weeks, transportation to and from West Lafayette, free housing, travel to conferences, and workshops and seminars. These research opportunities are open to students even if they do not attend the sponsoring institution. Students are paired with faculty mentors who possess expertise in the discipline in which they are majoring. Moreover, students who participate in summer research opportunities are able to form meaningful relationships with faculty members who become champions for their academic success.
Prior research experience by your student is not required in order to be considered for summer research opportunities. Many programs have a minimum cumulative grade point average as low as 2.50 on a 4.0 scale. The deciding factors for selection for participation are based on letters of recommendation and the student’s statement of purpose that is included in the application. While most of the programs are geared toward students continuing on into graduate study, employers have viewed a student’s summer research experience as evidence of an employee who is focused and disciplined.
Deadlines for summer research are quickly approaching; most have January or February deadline dates. You and your student should start his/her alternative summer experience search now, instead of waiting until April or May! In order to find summer research opportunities for your student, google using the following term: “summer research programs for undergraduates.”
Best wishes for a successful academic year and fruitful summer.