UGRA Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! We welcome applications from all disciplines.
Yes, many UGRA recipients work in a lab or research group. It is fine if you are working on part of a larger research project, but you should have some ownership over an aspect of the research. When you apply, you should write your proposal about the piece of the research that you are working on. Your Background & Introduction section should address the overall questions or problems that the group is studying, but most of the explanation should be written with the goal of helping us understand the work that you are doing.
You can both apply for UGRAs. In order to do that, you each need to submit your own proposal describing 1) the overall project, 2) how each of you will contribute to the project. For example, are you both collecting field samples and analyzing them together in the lab, or will one of you do the field work while the other does the lab work?
These proposals should not include identical language and should be written separately. Each student should gain experience in writing their own proposal. Reviewers will use your proposal to evaluate whether you as an individual have a good grasp of your project and have a feasible plan in place. Therefore, the reviewers need to see a proposal that is your own work in order to decide whether to award you as an individual the UGRA.
Yes, past UGRA recipients may apply again for a UGRA. However, please keep in mind that we require that you do not just submit the same proposal. You must describe the progress you have made on the project and explain the current and proposed next steps of your work. Reviewers will compare your new proposal to your past proposal, so make sure you have updated it. If you're taking a new direction in the project, make sure you also update your literature review or background section to reflect any new information that reviewers will need to know to understand your project.
Applicants must be currently enrolled degree-seeking undergraduate students. Once you have graduated you are no longer eligible for a UGRA. For example, if you graduate in May, you cannot receive a summer award unless you are considered a degree-seeking student for another undergraduate degree. If you graduate in December, you cannot receive a spring award unless you are a degree-seeking student for another undergraduate degree.
No, applicants submitting a proposal for the March deadline must choose to apply for either a summer award or a fall award.
No, students can only submit one proposal for each UGRA competition. If you are working on more than one research project, decide which one you want to devote more time to during the award period and write your proposal about that.
The most common critiques of UGRA proposals are:
It's not clear that the student understands how their project fits within the bigger picture of what research has already been conducted on the topic. Make sure to attend our workshops and work with your mentor to improve this section.
Unclear project description:
After reading the methods and timeline, it's not clear what the student will actually be doing. To test whether yours is clear, have someone else read your proposal and try to tell you what you'll be doing.
Student is not prepared:
The qualifications section is not detailed enough so it's not clear that the student can do the project. The student has not made it clear that they have access to important resources. The proposal is lacking details, suggesting a lack of preparation. You don't need to be an expert to apply, just be sure to address how you'll get the necessary training and skills to complete your work.
Scope of the project is not feasible:
The project is not doable in one semester or at the skill level of the student. The student needs to work with the mentor to narrow the focus of the project and make sure the timeline is realistic.
No budget is necessary.
It's important to note that the UGRA is a scholarship. Therefore, your UGRA will be deposited in your Financial Aid account. If you have a balance due on your account, the UGRA will be credited towards that balance. If you have already paid your tuition, the funds may be refunded to you and you may use the funds in any way you like. Many students receiving a refund use these funds to pay for their time; they are able to spend time working on their research rather than taking a job to cover living expenses and tuition. Some students use the funding to contribute to travel that is necessary for their research. Others use their funds to purchase supplies.
Students planning to study abroad may apply for a UGRA to fund the research they are conducting abroad. Keep in mind that you will need to make a strong case for why this work is best done abroad. For example, are there special resources that can only be found at a specific location: a specific set of survey participants or interview subjects, a particular archive, works of art, a technical expert to consult, or historical sites? Reviewers will want to see that you are not just seeking an avenue to pay for your study abroad or a fun summer trip, but that you have a well-developed research or creative project that you are eager to pursue abroad.
No, we are very strict about our deadlines when we are giving out monetary awards. Extending the deadline by even a few hours can make a very large difference in the quality of the proposal, so we do not make exceptions to the deadline. If you experience technical difficulties in filling out your UGRA application online, email your final UGRA proposal to email@example.com by the application deadline; in this case, we can work with you the following day to troubleshoot any technical problems so you can complete your application.
No, none of these things count toward your 2,000 word limit.
If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.