Application Tips & Guidelines

Personal Statement
As you are completing your online application, you will be asked to upload a personal statement in a PC Word or PDF format. The personal statement is an important component of the application, and tells us who you are, why you want to pursue this research, and what impact you expect this experience to have on your future career. You do not need to have any prior research experience to apply to this program. However, if you have had prior research experience, you should discuss your research background and describe how it may have influenced your education. You are encouraged to share what you have accomplished so far in the field in which you wish to conduct research, including relevant coursework that you have completed. The personal statement should elaborate on the I-SURF research projects that you have selected, why they were chosen, your experience relevant to the projects, and how the projects will help you meet your long-term education and career goals. You may include any other relevant experience that you feel has helped prepare you for this program. The appropriate length for your personal statement is approximately 2-3 pages, double-spaced. 
  
Choosing Your Research Projects
Carefully read through each of the research projects and select those that are of the greatest interest to you. Within the Research Projects section of this site, details are provided regarding each of the projects, including an overview of the facilities you will be working in and the faculty mentor overseeing the project. You are also encouraged to seek out related publications and read faculty suggested pages to gain more information about the project’s background and goals. You will be asked to select and rank five projects that you are interested in being assigned to for the I-SURF program.
  
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required for your application. As you are completing your online application, you will be asked to list information for the two individuals who will be submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf, including their titles and e-mail addresses. After submitting your application, an e-mail will be sent to your recommenders, asking them to complete an online recommendation form. Your recommenders will have the option of uploading a PC Word or PDF format of the letter of recommendation or mailing the letter directly to the I-SURF Program. If your recommenders prefer to send your letters of recommendation directly, rather than submitting them online, they should e-mail the letters to urop@uci.edu. These letters must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline for your application to be complete; no positions will be offered to an applicant unless all supporting documents are received by that deadline. After submitting your application, you may revise or change your recommenders. Each time you register or change a recommender, an e-mail will be generated to that individual that provides instructions on how to submit a letter on your behalf.
  
Letters of recommendation are an important part of the selection process. They should be written by someone who has closely interacted with you and can effectively comment on your academic performance, research abilities, relevant skills, ability to collaborate with a team, and preparation for this program. Recommenders will also be asked to comment on the support and research opportunities that will be available to you after the conclusion of the I-SURF program to help you further pursue your research and career goals. Letters of recommendation should ideally come from professors who have worked with you as a research supervisor, academic advisor, or course instructor. You should choose your recommenders at least one month prior to submitting your application so that you can discuss the program in detail and give them time to prepare information on your behalf.
  
Submitting Your Transcripts
After submitting your online application, you will be required to provide copies of official transcripts. Request a transcript from your home school’s registrar, as well as any other colleges or universities you have attended. Your most current transcript should include grades from most recent term. You should request your transcript at least two weeks in advance to allow sufficient time for processing. Your transcript must be received no later than the Supplemental Document Deadline; no positions will be offered to an applicant unless all supporting documents are received by that deadline. Scan your transcripts and e-mail them to urop@uci.edu.
  
Submitting Your Passport
After submitting your online application, you will be required to provide a copy of your passport. This must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline; no positions will be offered to an applicant unless all supporting documents are received by this deadline. Scan your passport and e-mail the copy to urop@uci.edu.
  
Proof of Financial Resources
After submitting your online application, you will be required to provide proof of your ability to pay the program expenses. This may be provided by your sponsor or through your own personal resources, and must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline; note that, per the guidelines of the J1 non degree student visa category, more than 50% of the cost of participation must come from non personal sources. No positions will be offered to an applicant unless all supporting documents are received by that deadline. E-mail proof of financial resources to urop@uci.edu.
  
Paying the Program Fee
After you receive your visa, you must pay the program fee of $10,000. You will receive details on how to pay the fee along with your acceptance letter.
  
Application Deadlines 
Please note that there are two key deadlines for you to be aware of. The Application Deadline is the date by which your application and personal statement must be submitted online. The Supplemental Document Deadline is the date by which all supporting documents (letters of recommendation, transcripts, passport, and evidence of financial resources) must be received. 
  
Application Deadline: Monday, TBD

    Application (to be submitted online)
    Personal Statement (to be submitted online)
  
Supplemental Document Deadline: Monday, TBD

    Two letters of recommendation (to be submitted online or e-mailed by recommenders)
    Current transcript, including grades from prior year’s fall term (to be e-mailed)
    Transcripts from any prior colleges or universities (to be e-mailed)
    Passport (to be e-mailed)
    Proof of financial resources to cover the program costs (to be e-mailed)

Addresses for I-SURF Program:
  
I-SURF Program
c/o Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
Student Services II, Suite 2100
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-5685
urop@uci.edu

Back