URF Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should the one page personal statement for the application be single or double spaced?
Either is acceptable
Q: I would like to apply for the fellowship, but I am not an Oregon resident. Could I apply and receive partial funding equal to the amount an Oregon resident would receive?
No. Students who are not Oregon residents are not eligible for this fellowship. Students' residency status is determined by the Office of Admissions when the student is admitted to the UO (See http://admissions.uoregon.edu/freshmen/residency/FAQ/ for more information about residency. The URF funding structure does not allow us to provide a partial or reduced fellowship award to non-resident students.
Q: Is it possible to see examples of applications that won fellowships in previous years?
No, this would violate the privacy of the applicants.
Q: I am interested in research in a particular area, but no "research site" currently exists on campus that would support my interests. I would like to develop my own research project, and have found several professors who would be willing to direct me in various aspects of this project, according to their area of expertise. Does the URF program allow for this type of independent project, or must I be associated with an existing project?
A "research site" is less important than a faculty member who is willing to sponsor you and work with you on the project. The URF program does accommodate students who wish to pursue independent projects. However, the research question and subject must be of substantial interest to the professor.
Q: Could the fellowship be available for summer/fall/winter rather than the typical academic year?
No, the fellowship must be for the regular academic year.
Q: The URF application asks for transcripts from recently attended universities. What is considered recent? Is five years recent?
There is no specific time frame that is considered recent. Applicants must determine for themselves what is appropriate to include. Five years might be considered recent if you attended a university five years ago, then were out of school for the last four years, and only began attending the UO this term. In this case, we would like to see the previous transcript because your transcript from the UO would have very limited information. However, if you have been attending the UO continuously for the last three years, transcripts from your first year at another institution are not as relevant. Applicants should use their best judgment as to what they feel accurately reflects their current status as a student.
Q: The URF information I read stated students needed to have some research experience in the past. I was wondering what that entails exactly and how necessary experience is as opposed to the interest in beginning.
While prior research experience is desirable, it is not as important as having a clearly defined program of research to pursue if you were to receive a fellowship. One of the program requirements is that students identify a faculty mentor and research project to work on. A successful application would identify a faculty mentor who can make a clear commitment to provide guidance and resources throughout the year. In addition, the applicant should describe a specific research project with clearly defined objectives that will serve as their research placement throughout the academic year.
Q: Does the research that I am planning to do if I am accepted need to be something that I design myself or can it be designed by someone else? Do I need to do the data analyzing and write up as well as running the actual experiment or can I just do parts? Does the research need to be all mine or can I be a part of someone else's research if I am a URF recipient?
The research can be designed by someone else (such as your faculty mentor), but we expect that students are aware of and understand all stages of the research. A student may work on a specific, small part of a larger research project that is being undertaken by the faculty mentor. It is important that students recognize the purpose and goals of both their own assignment and the larger research project. Students must have a clear and functional role within the research team and should have a specific research assignment with definite and appropriate objectives to work on throughout the year.
Q: What kind of audience should I address when I talk about my research experience and plans?
You should write your application to address an audience of professional people who have college educations, but may or may not be in your field. You should talk about your project in terms that someone who is not in your field can understand (i.e., avoid the use of jargon and technical details). It is generally not necessary to include figures and references, unless you have one or two that you feel are particularly helpful in terms of explaining your project. It is also recommended that you include some larger context for your research project, such as how your project fits into a larger program of research and the ways in which that line of research is useful or beneficial to individuals or society as a whole. It is important that you make it clear that you understand both the method and the purpose of the research you are proposing.
Q: What should be included in the personal statement?
The personal statement is the part of the application that gives you an opportunity to provide the reviewers with a glimpse of who you are as an individual, and how that fits in with the mission of the URF program. Important points to address might include your past research experiences, why you are interested in research in general and your topic specifically, and your post-undergraduate plans and career goals.
Q: How do I find a faculty mentor? Can you suggest someone?
One of the requirements of the program is that students find their own research experience. If you would like to apply for an URF, you will need to identify a faculty mentor to work with and a project to work on. Students usually find faculty mentors by talking to professors who they know from course work or other departmental relationships. If you want to find a faculty mentor, the best place to start is to ask your instructors if they or anyone they know within the department would be interested in serving as a mentor for an undergraduate research project. You could also consult with your academic advisor to see if they can give you any ideas. The mentor must be able to commit to serving as your research advisor for the academic year. Your research project can be part of your mentor's research, or an independent project that your mentor is willing and able to support you on, but must be substantial enough to allow you to put in the 10 hours of research per week that the URF program requires.