Undergraduate Research Experience
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQs address eligibility, the application, and the URE experience. If you have questions not answered below, please email email@example.com.
Q: What majors can apply for the Undergraduate Research Experience?
A: Project RAISE works directly with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton. The Undergraduate Research Experience offers lab placement within the departments in these colleges, which are listed below. Lab placement for selected participants is based on project availability and may not match your current or intended major.
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Biological Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geological Sciences, Mathematics, Physics.
College of Engineering and Computer Science: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering.
Q: I took AP courses in high school. Does getting placed in Calculus I or higher satisfy the URE math requirement?
A: Students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics are strongly encouraged to take math courses as part of their core curriculum before transferring. Therefore, students applying to the Undergraduate Research Experience should have completed at least one math course in college. To review our minimum math requirement for your college, please click below.
Q: I am not a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, or a recipient of DACA status. Can I volunteer for the Undergraduate Research Experience?
A: Project RAISE prioritizes placement for students who meet all eligibility criteria. However, there may be limited opportunities for students who wish to volunteer for the experience. In the past several years, we have only had two volunteers.
Volunteers are unable to receive the stipend, will be required to participate for at least 40 hours per week in their assigned lab, and must forgo work and school for the duration of the Undergraduate Research Experience.
If you would like to request the volunteer application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: Who should I ask for a recommendation?
A: The Undergraduate Research Experience application packet requires one recommendation. The recommender should work at your community college and serve as either a professor or a counselor.
Q: What will be asked of my recommender?
A: Recommenders will need to answer the following questions, so please ensure they know the following about you:
- How long they have known you.
- What they know of your future educational and career plans.
- Your potential for academic success and your strengths and weaknesses.
- Your qualifications and merits for conducting research and solving problems as part of a team.
- Why you may be a good fit to participate in the Undergraduate Research Experience.
Project RAISE encourages applicants to speak with their recommenders about the topics listed above.
Q: What is the best way to ask for a recommendation?
A: If possible, take the time to ask for your recommendation in person. Ask the individual directly, “Can you write me a strong, detailed letter of recommendation for the Undergraduate Research Experience?”
Project RAISE strongly encourages you to request the recommendation for URE at least one month before the deadline . If it is less than one month before the deadline, make sure to have a conversation with the recommender as soon as possible and explain the situation as well as you can so they can write a strong letter in the time they have available.
REQUESTING A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION AND FOLLOWING UP IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3!
- One month before the deadline (or earlier): request the recommendation and share your materials
- Two weeks before the deadline: follow-up with your recommender
- Three days before the deadline: confirm that the recommendation was/will be submitted!
Whether you requested the recommendation in person or by email, make sure to provide as much information about the request as possible. You should email your recommender with the following, so they can write you a strong recommendation:
- Your resume
- Your personal statement
- An outline of your education and career goals
- Information about URE and instructions on how to submit the recommendation
Follow-up with your recommender to ensure that your recommendation is submitted. It is your responsibility to make sure all application components are submitted on time. We suggest the following:
- Two weeks before the deadline: Follow-up and ask your recommender if they have any questions about you or the opportunity and remind them of the deadline and link to submit the recommendation.
- Three days before the deadline: Follow-up to remind them of the deadline and link, thank them for agreeing to submit a recommendation on your behalf, and ask if your recommendation has been submitted.
- After submission: Remember to thank the individual who submitted your recommendation for the Undergraduate Research Experience! An emailed thank you is always appreciated. Please keep your recommender updated with any URE decisions – recommenders like to know what happens after they write a letter.
Make it as easy as possible for your recommender to submit the letter of recommendation and clarify the deadline for submission. The letter of recommendation for the Undergraduate Research Experience must be submitted online.
Q: How can I make my application stand out?
A: Project RAISE recommends the following for strong applications:
- Prepare for your application by reviewing the Application Checklist , the Guide to the Short Answers and Personal Statement , and the Application Preview .
- Draft, review, edit and revise your written components. Share all written components with your peers and professors so that you can make sure the submitted responses are free of spelling and grammatical errors. Your submitted application should not be your first draft.
- Provide examples whenever possible that demonstrate your interest, passion, and dedication for your field of study, and for research.
- Ensure that your application and the recommendation are submitted on time.
We look forward to meeting with you during your URE interview! We will be conducting URE interviews in person at CSUF.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for your interview:
- Feel free to dress as if you were going to class (formal business attire is highly discouraged).
- Prepare to talk about the lab(s) you find most interesting.
Interviews can be added up to 24 hours in advance of the start time.
If you need to reschedule within 24 hours of your interview or are running late on your interview day, please contact Project RAISE at email@example.com.
Parking & on-campus instructions:
- Check-in on the fifth floor of McCarthy Hall in room 525. Click to view the CSUF map.
- Plan to arrive 25 minutes early for your interview to complete paperwork. With paperwork and the interview, expect to be with us for around an hour.
- Program paperwork will require your social security number.
- You will need to provide proof of stipend eligibility, so please bring any of the following original documents for us to review: U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. certificate of citizenship, U.S. naturalization certificate, a U.S. permanent resident card, or DACA Employment Authorization Document.
- Daily permits may be purchased from permit machines located in all levels of the Nutwood Parking Structure. Daily permits are valid in student lots and parking structures, unless restricted. See parking for additional information.
- The cost of a daily permit is $10.00. You may opt to purchase hourly parking at a rate of $4.00 per hour. If you are going to purchase an hourly pass, we strongly encourage you to select 2 hours ($8 total). Permit machines do not accept cash; they only accept Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards.
- CSUF will be on spring break the first week of interviews, which will allow for easy parking.
- Click to view additional parking information.
The URE Experience
Q: What are the typical hours for the Undergraduate Research Experience?
A: Students can expect to be with us on the first day of URE from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for orientation followed by a kickoff dinner with faculty and other student researchers. Lab hours vary, but students can expect to be at CSUF between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. most weekdays during URE. Biology students may have more irregular hours to collect samples or monitor experiments. The Undergraduate Research Experience is a full-time, 40 hour a week commitment, and participants are not able to schedule additional work or attend summer classes.
Q: How is the $5,000 stipend distributed?
A: Students receive a stipend check upon successful completion of URE milestones. Checks are $1,000 each and are disbursed in Weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8 of URE, and the final stipend check is disbursed after URE is complete. Typical URE milestones include, but are not limited to, regular attendance in lab and at Project RAISE meetings and the completion of all assignments by their deadlines. Checks will only be distributed once required activities are complete.