The REU Program (overview)

Advertising your REU

Application process and participant selection

Sending Accept/Reject Offers


The REU program:

  • Most REU programs last 8-10 weeks. The timing depends on the projects and program goals. Some have found that having a 10-week period is ideal for completing research projects to a better extent and help students learn more about research, while 8 weeks is a reasonable compromise for students to learn and getting exposed to research while still making a contribution.
  • Coordinating the entire summer requires a lot of careful planning. As shown in the REU CALENDAR, REU program planning is often a year-long activity, with lots of logistics that should not be underestimated.



Advertising Your REU:

  • There are many different approaches you can do in order reach a diverse audience:
    • Visit local universities around the area and talk to different departments about your REU program.
    • Email department chairs and academic advisors at your university and other universities across the country.
    • Advertise when you are accepting new applications through your university, your department, social media groups, and your own REU website. This can be done through emails, flyers, and other similar approaches.
    • Directly speak with possible applicants whenever the opportunity is given; this allows applicants to ask questions, get excited to apply, and spread the word to other possible candidates.



Application Process and Participant Selection:

  • During the selection process:
    • Review your applicants by sorting and categorizing them by the different pools you’d like to include in your REU program:
      • Gender
      • Status
      • Experience
      • REU project interest
      • Other
    • Have a ranked list of your top # applicants to help you move quickly with new offers if some decline. You should also have a plan for mentor input; this could affect who they think is more appropriate to work on their project.
    • Once sorted, make a reject and accept list to notify the applicants.
  • Use the CISE REU common application and applicant pool to recruit and recommend applicants that did not meet your REU program criteria but could be recruited into another REU program.
  • Use the Google doc of REU sites who are still looking for applicants to also recommend applicants you rejected for your program.
PRO TIP:  Always keep your particular goals in mind (have a gender-balanced REU, include more underrepresented students, etc.). Some have found that talking directly to their top applicants, in person or through a video call, helps narrow down their top candidates.



Sending Accept/Reject Offers:

  • Ask accepted students to make a decision within 5-7 days (you could negotiate deadline if they need more time, but you shouldn’t keep others waiting).
  • Offer letters should include information such as:
  • Once a student has accepted an offer, send them the student contract and all the required information and documents for the program.
    • Refer to LOGISTICS: “Getting your students ready” and “Student documents and paperwork” sections for specific documents.
PRO TIP:  Make contracts as warm, welcoming, and congratulatory as possible, while emphasizing the need for them to commit and program expectations.