Identifying and Selecting Students for Programs

Several Capstone Institutions expressed an interest in sharing information about how the various programs identify and select students for the limited number of program "seats" available.

  • Often, the students who will be most successful are self-motivated and already looking for research opportunities and science programs in general. The key is to make them easy for the students to find. Advertisement/promotion strategies include flyers, emails, classroom announcements, and searchable Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) listings.
  • It is important to make different programs available to students in order to direct them to a program that fits their current level of knowledge and experience in a STEM field. Many students are undecided about their major and career paths, and others discover new interests and change their paths as a result of their participation in a program.
  • It is important to encourage and facilitate the submission of applications from a diverse population, particularly under-represented minorities, women, and/or educationally disadvantaged students. Specific and targeted recruitment efforts may be required in order to ensure participation of these under-represented groups in STEM programming.
  • Selection processes vary from program to program, but often require some type of recommendation or nomination from a science professional and some demonstration of interest (e.g., essay, interview with professor).
  • You may want to form a diverse (by discipline, social identity, etc.) selection committee to review the applications.

Barnard College
For Barnard's ICP program, the program director holds several recruiting sessions at the community college to inform students about what is offered and what the expectations are for participation. Community college faculty encourage their best students to apply. Once students apply (with a form on their background, transcript, recommendation, and personal essay), the selection process is straightforward. The biggest challenge is that the students lead very complicated lives with family and work responsibilities, and many cannot walk away from those responsibilities for five weeks in the summer.