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Application advice
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Dear BRIDGe program applicant,

As you prepare your application, we would like to give you some information about how we make the (frequently difficult) decision regarding admission to the program, in hope that this information will help you develop a strong application package.

First, some general information about the program. Our primary goal is to give students an opportunity to participate in research projects in the broad field of computational biology. We are excited about helping you develop your research skills and also hope that you will like our research and work with us, and may eventually join our group as a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or faculty colleague. We are deeply passionate about our research and look forward to sharing this passion with you.

With this background in mind, here is what we are looking for in an application.

We would also like to know from you how this internship will benefit you and your career goals. What do you hope to gain by participating? Do you seek to develop certain skills necessary for the next step in your career? Are you using this opportunity to help decide between potential future careers? We know it may be difficult to answer such questions, particularly if research opportunities are not available at your college or you have not been exposed to research previously. If this is the case, please let us know. Everybody has to start somewhere.

As we evaluate you as a candidate for our program, we want to make sure that you have skills that will ensure that your summer experience will be productive. Thus, your application should include a description of your technical skills, especially your level of familiarity with the UNIX command line and any programming languages (e.g., Java, Python, R, C/C++).

In addition, research involves collaboration, as well as the ability to work independently. We hope your application will include information about your skills in these areas, for example project organization and communication (i.e., sending/responding to messages, writing reports, and giving presentations).

A great application will not only outline your skills but will also highlight specific examples of applying them in coursework, past internship experiences, and/or personal projects. For team projects, it is helpful to make a clear distinction of work you did independently and how this work furthered the overall project goals.

As a final consideration, we are deeply passionate about our research and are looking forward to working with someone who is, or is willing to become, equally passionate about the subjects we study. Please describe in your application why you are selecting computational biology as a focus for your summer research.

Ideally the various points described above will be addressed in multiple places in your application, including in the reference letter. If possible, try to select a reference writer who knows you well enough to be able to comment on a number of these points, particularly on items that are not immediately apparent from your curriculum vitae or personal statement.