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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in apply to STAR-PREP, but cannot locate the application. How can I access the application?

Once the application is available, there will be a button on the homepage called, "Apply to STAR-PREP." If you do not see this on that page, the application is not available yet. 

What is the application deadline? 

The tentative deadline will be Sunday, February 16th, 2020. If the application deadline is extended, it will be posted on the application page. 

What if my letters of recommendation are received after the deadline?

The deadline for all materials is Sunday, February 16th. If applications or other materials are received after that date, applications will be reviewed as space allows. 

When will the start date be for the next cohort?

The start date for the 2020 cohort is estimated to be around June 22nd, 2020. This is just an estimate and will be deteremined by Human Resources.

I received my first baccalaureate degree (BA) more than three years ago. I returned to school for a second baccalaureate degree and will be graduating with a BS in May. Am I eligible to apply to your program?

If you obtained your first baccalaureate degree more than three years ago, you would not be eligible for the program.

Will this program prepare me to apply to MD,  DO, or MD-PhD programs?

This program is not ideal for people who are interested in applying to MD or DO programs. The goal of STAR-PREP is to prepare applicants who want to go into careers as research scientists. Therefore, the focus throughout the program is on skills related to research training, quantitative skills, professional development, research courses, and taking the GRE. We are not able to provide any additional funding to assist with preparing for or taking the MCAT. We are looking for students who are interested in obtaining PhDs.

In some cases, the program may be appropriate for students interested in MD-PhDs.

I would prefer to submit all of my information early in the application cycle. However, my Fall grades will not be available until January, should I wait until January to apply?

Since we will accept unofficial transcripts for the review process, there isn't a problem with submitting all of your application material early in the process and following up with your updated unofficial transcript once you receive your Fall grades.

I'm having difficulty locating a faculty member with my research interest(s). Where should I look for this information?

There is a link for faculty research in the application. This same link can be found at the top of the Current Mentors section. You're able to search by both the name of faculty member or you can search for mentors by research interest. If you're still having problems locating a potential mentor, please contact our program at starprep@som.umaryland.edu .

Does my undergraduate degree have to be in a biological science to apply to the program?

Having an undergraduate degree in biological science would be beneficial for entry into PREP, since the program is designed for students who want to pursue a career in biomedical research. However, having an undergraduate degree in a biological science is not a requirement. It is necessary to have adequate course work in physical sciences (biology, chemistry, and/or neuroscience) for entry into the program. It is possible for a student to have an undergraduate degree in another area and also have sufficient course work in physical science. If you have specific questions about your academic coursework, please contact the grants coordinator.  

What do you look for in a competitive applicant?

Applications are reviewed in their entirety. This includes courses taken, grades, research experience, essays, letters of recommendation, and any other information the applicant provides. The leadership team primarily looks for applicants who have a passion for science, which should be evident through your prior research experience, courses, letters of recommendation, and essays.

Am I able to visit labs before applying to the program?

Generally we are unable to accommodate requests to visit labs before applying to the program. However, applicants are encouraged to review all information on the STAR-PREP webpage, visit the GPILS faculty pages, and review recent faculty publications. The STAR-PREP grants coordinator is able to answer any additional questions about the program and able to assist applicants with picking potential mentors for the application.

Who should write the letters of recommendation for my application?

Your letters of recommendation should be written by a research mentor or someone who is familar with your research interests. If you have not had a lot of research experience, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member who taught the lab portion of a physical science course and is familar with your research interests would be appropriate as well.

I'm not sure if the program is a good fit for me. How do I make that determination?

If you have questions about if this program will help you to meet your goals or if you are unsure if you meet the eligibility requirements, please e-mail starprep@som.umaryland.edu and a staff or faculty member will follow-up with you.