Many questions about the LUROP Fellowships are answered throughout the LUROP website, particularly in the LUROP Fellowship Application Info page. But to give you a better sense of these programs, we have compiled a list of some of the most common questions we get about the 15 LUROP Fellowships below, along with answers.
Please note that you can find answers to more general questions like "what is research?" "why conduct research?" "what will I learn from research?" and "how do I know if research is right for me?" on this page.
- Are there any eligibility requirements for applying to a LUROP Fellowship?
The only requirement for applying for a fellowship is that you are a current undergraduate student at Loyola and will be an undergraduate at Loyola next year. However, each fellowship also contains its own requirements so check out each individual program on the fellowship app info page.
- Am I eligible to apply for a LUROP fellowship if I am graduating this spring?
Unfortunately no. LUROP fellowships are only available to current undergraduate students at Loyola. Check out the fellowship office to find post-baccalaureate research opportunities.
- Do I need previous research experience to apply for a LUROP Fellowship?
No. Programs that match students with mentors (CURL, CCIH, Molecular & Computational Bio, RMP, WISER) are more likely to welcome such applications, but no program will reject you simply because you do not have previous research experience. Previous experience can certainly help you, and individual professors may require previous experience just to work for them, but you should not let a lack of research experience dissuade you from applying.
- Can I apply to more than one LUROP fellowship?
Yes! You are allowed to apply to as many fellowships as you qualify for and we encourage you to do so. Please note, though, than you can only hold one LUROP Fellowship at a time. So you can have a summer fellowship and an academic year fellowship, but not two academic year fellowships at the same time. Students cannot hold more than 3 LUROP fellowships throughout their undergraduate careers.
- I'm working in a lab that already has an abstract and project proposal. Can I just use those in my application?
No. You should write your own abstract and project description. Many people are working in labs with ongoing projects, and you should read over any existing abstracts and/or project descriptions to get a better sense for the bigger project and your place in it, but you need to write your own application materials. There are some key reasons to do this.
First, any existing abstracts and/or descriptions were probably written with an audience of other people in your discipline in mind, but the people reviewing your application may not be in that discipline, so if it’s too technical and the reviewer can’t understand it, it will hurt your application. Check out the guides to abstract writing that you can find on this page, and you may also want to read through sample abstracts in last year’s symposium program, which you can find at the bottom of this page or the sample abstracts of these Provost Fellows (click on the names to find abstracts).
Second, any existing research proposals will be about the project overall, but your description should specifically address your role in that larger project. If you just turn in a description of the project as a whole and the readers don’t know what you will do and what others will do, your chances of winning one will definitely go down.
Ultimately, this is an award for you, not for others, so you should do the work that determines whether you’ll win. In the process, it will also help you get a better sense of the project as well, because you’ll be putting it into your own words and focusing on your role in the project.
- Does my letter of recommendation have to come from a Loyola professor?
All fellowships that do not match you up with a mentor also require your letter of recommendation to come from the professor who will be your mentor on your project, and those mentors need to be at Loyola. However, for the programs that match you with a mentor (CURL, CCIH, Molecular & Computational Bio, RMP, WISER), there are circumstances in which the letter can be from a non-Loyola source who can attest to your abilities. In particular, this is acceptable if you are a first year student or a transfer student.
- How competitive are these programs?
The level of competition varies depending upon which LUROP fellowships you are applying for. Last year, about 50% of applications were awarded a LUROP fellowship. These percentages vary from program to program and from year to year, and some of the more lucrative, two-year fellowships tend to have lower acceptance percentages. Nonetheless, you can’t win if you don’t apply!
- How do I find a mentor? How do I approach a possible mentor?
First, note that some programs match students up with mentors (CURL, CCIH, Molecular & Computational Bio, RMP, WISER). For the other LUROP programs, you are encouraged to find a mentor in a range of ways, through department websites, taking classes with research professors, and much more. Check out our finding a mentor page to learn more. Before approaching a faculty member about joining a lab or asking them to mentor you, make sure you have read all about their work, can explain how you would be a benefit to them, and explain how working with them may benefit your career plans given your interests.
- Should I find a mentor first and then work on research related to their work, or pick a research topic of my own and then go find a mentor for that topic?
Outside of the fellowships that match you with a mentor, both of these methods are used. Finding a mentor and working as part of their overall research, usually by getting a volunteer position in a lab, is much more common in the sciences. In the humanities and some professional schools and social sciences, there is a little more freedom for students to develop their own research topic and question, and then approach faculty who may mentor them, although usually these projects are somewhat related to the professor’s research. Developing your own project often requires more work and autonomy, and the fewer students who have done this often report these experiences are both more challenging and rewarding. There is really no right or wrong way, as long as you have a mentor and a research project with a question, methodology, and outcome that you’d like to produce.
- What does undergraduate research look like on a week to week basis? How many hours, which days, what kind of work, etc.?
This is largely up to you and your research mentor. Other factors include whether you’re working in the summer or academic year and which academic discipline you are doing work in. Summer researchers tend to work more hours per week, sometimes as much as 20 hours or more depending on the mentor, work, and program. Academic year researchers tend to work fewer hours per week, 4-8 is common, but for a longer duration, obviously. Some projects can also require a lot of work some weeks, and not much work during others. Be sure to talk with your mentor (or your LUROP Fellowship program, if you win one) about what they may require.
- Can I get course credit for research supported by a LUROP fellowship? And can I get fellowship support for a research project that I am doing as part of a course?
Yes! There are many research courses offered at Loyola that can get you credit in conjunction with your LUROP-supported research, and all will fulfill your engaged learning requirement. Some courses are simply a way for you to get credit for your research outside of class, while others have regular meeting times even though your main project will be your research project outside of class. Some of these courses can count towards your major. Check out your department to see if this is an option.