Maintaining Mentee/Mentor Relationships

    Communicate regularly. Whether you are serving as a mentee for a semester-long project or are pursuing a long-term independent study under their guidance for your thesis, communicate about what is going well and what is not.

    Be respectful of time and come prepared to check-in meetings. Know that both you and your mentor may have only a limited time to discuss progress, goals or other concerns. It can be helpful to prepare a short list (2-4 items) that you’d like to discuss or ask for guidance on.

    Be flexible. There...

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    Director's Welcome

    Harvard College works diligently to cultivate substantive and transformative opportunities that augment and enhance the intellectual life of undergraduates. Collaborating pedagogically with faculty across the University and guided by principles...

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    Principles and Policies for Researchers

    Your responsibilities as a researcher: Ethical Conduct and Academic Credit

    Ethics and Compliance with Research Policies

    Ethical conduct underlies every aspect of research, from conceiving the question to collecting and analyzing the data, to sharing the results. Harvard undergraduates are expected to become familiar with their discipline’s ethical standards and to conduct their research activities with the highest level of integrity and commitment to excellence. Research is governed at both the institutional and federal level. As an undergraduate, you are...

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    Harvard Resources

    There is a great wealth of opportunities available from Harvard – opportunities to stay here at Harvard and opportunities to go elsewhere! Harvard’s decentralized environment can be difficult to navigate, though, so here are a few databases and lists to get you started. Don’t limit your search to just those opportunities posted here, though. Many research opportunities, for example, are formed in collaboration between a faculty member and a student. So, in addition to educating yourself about what opportunities you can find online, be sure that you have talked to the people in your...

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    Principles and Policies for Applicants

    Your Responsibilities as an Applicant

    Throughout the entire application process (from research to submission), you must conduct yourself in an ethical way. As there are, at times, different understanding and interpretation when it comes to personal morals and ethics, we have highlighted some key points below. Any URAF staff member is also happy to discuss anything that you read on this page, especially if you would like further clarification or explanation.

    Please ask questions first so there are no issues later on!


    All URAF...

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    Preparing a Resume

    Many applications require that you submit a resume. Typically, the resume will be either one or two pages; it is important to adhere to this page limit. Even though you have achieved some incredible things during your time thus far at Harvard, it is important that you tailor your resume to the opportunity at hand. This does not diminish all of your varied experiences, but rather it shows that you really understand the opportunity and can highlight your most relevant qualities and experiences. For example, if you are applying to a high-level research program (ex. Herchel Smith), make sure...

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    Preparing a Budget

    Budgets are typically required for independent research opportunities as well as some post-graduate fellowships. It is important that you think about your whole proposed project and break it down into specific budget items (food, lodging, transportation, etc.) that you expect to pay.

    Questions to consider

    • What do you envision your daily routine to look like?
    • What expenses are necessary for you to complete your project — before and during your experience?
    • Have you already been awarded other funding to cover parts...
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    Writing Application Essays and Personal Statements

    Some applications ask that you write an essay that draws on more personal reflections. These essays, sometimes called Personal Statements, are an opportunity to show the selection committee who you are as a person: your story, your values, your interests, and why you—and not your peer with a similar resume—are a perfect fit for this opportunity. These narrative essays allow you to really illustrate the person behind the resume, showcasing not only what you think but how you think.

    Before you start writing, it’s helpful to really consider the goals...

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    Writing Project Proposals

    Some applications will ask for an essay outlining a proposed project, including details of the design and plan for carrying it out. Remember that your essay is essentially an exercise in expository writing, but with a twist—it also needs to be persuasive.

    As you get ready to write, think about the following questions:

    How will you demonstrate the match between yourself and a particular project?

    • What inspired or motivated you for this project?
    • How are you prepared?
      • Language proficiency?...
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    Writing Research Proposals

    The research proposal is your opportunity to show that you—and only you!—are the perfect person to take on your specific project. After reading your research proposal, readers should be confident that…

    • You have thoughtfully crafted and designed this project;
    • You have the necessary background to complete this project;
    • You have the proper support system in place;
    • You know exactly what you need to complete this project and how to do so; and
    • With this funding in hand, you can be on your way to ...
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    Recommendation Letters

    Recommendation letters are a critical element of every application. They validate the claims you've made as an applicant, providing specific examples and details of your academic accomplishments, personal endeavors, and character. Selection committees rely on them to impartially evaluate your performance and potential to be successful in the opportunity you are pursuing. Good letter-writers are those who know you well enough to provide these assessments with enthusiasm and authenticity.

    Academic letters are typically written by faculty,...

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    Resources for Going Abroad

    For most students, traveling to perform research, study, or for personal growth is a new experience. Whether this is for a short stay or a longer period of time, you'll be facing new challenges and adventures wherever you’re headed.

    Here are some suggestions for getting advice and resources for preparing your time abroad:

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    Study Opportunities

    What is a scholarship?

    As the cost of education rises, many students seek out scholarships to help offset the financial burden of attending graduate school. "Scholarships" are awards that offer funding to cover tuition, living expenses, and sometimes travel and other fees. Most scholarships require a written application, which may include a proposal or essay(s), letters of recommendation, a resume, transcript, and other supplemental items. "Need-based" scholarships include the applicant's financial need as a criterion for selection, while "merit-based" scholarships consider...

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    Service and Education Opportunities

    If you have strong ideas, plans, and passion for protecting the vulnerable, helping people meet their basic needs, or are interested in some form of civic engagement, there are a number of opportunities to undertake meaningful service and education projects.

    Through two unique summer programs, URAF supports current undergraduate students who want to combine scholarly research with community engagement. This is done in partnership with the Mindich Program in Engaged...

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