SROP Application Process and Guidelines
The first step in completing the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) application is to gain an overall understanding of the process. Please read through all application instructions before beginning your application. The SROP application is web-based and is not available in paper form.
Completing the Application
You must register for an application account, create a username and password, and provide an email address in order to apply. The email address you provide will be used for all U-M SROP communications regarding the status of your application. You are advised to monitor your email account regularly (including your spam folder). In order to submit your letters of recommendation, you will need to send your username to your recommenders, so choose an appropriate username. Your recommenders will upload letters to the application portal.
You will need your account information to return later to either complete your application or check its status. The application consists of 4 sections that will be completed online:
- Student background information
- Academic program(s) and faculty research projects
- Personal and academic statements
- Faculty letters of recommendation (2)
- Unofficial undergraduate transcript(s)
Your transcript(s) must reflect all earned undergraduate credits and grades through December 2018.
Preparing Your Written Statements
The Personal, Academic, and Diversity Statements help prospective faculty mentors to develop a sense of your personality, background, and goals. They also help to establish whether there might be an appropriate match between student and faculty research interests. You are encouraged to prepare and edit your written statements prior to initiating your online application. The written statements are crucial components of the application. Be sure to proofread and edit your responses. Visit the writing center on your campus if one is available to you. Share your drafts with an advisor and/or professor. When you complete the online application, you can copy and paste your statements into the appropriate sections on the application form.
Please prepare a personal statement of up to 600 words. This statement should address:
- Your graduate school, academic, and career goals;
- How your background has influenced those goals—you may include family, community, education, as well as obstacles that you have overcome and other relevant life and work experience;
- How participating in U-M SROP will help you achieve those goals;
- The reasons for your interest in pursuing graduate studies at the University of Michigan.
Please prepare an academic statement of up to 600 words describing:
- The specific field(s) of your research interest(s);
- Why you are interested in that field of research;
- Relevant coursework you are taking this year;
- Relevant research experience in an academic or work setting.
Please prepare a diversity statement of up to 600 words that addresses the following:
- How will you contribute to the diversity of the community of SROP scholars?
- Since graduating from high school, have you pursued any volunteer opportunities, work experiences, or leadership of student organizations that were specifically related to reducing social, educational, or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity, or gender, or to improving race relations in the United Sates?
- Are there additional factors in your background or life experiences that would help you benefit from this program? Discuss social, economic, educational, or other obstacles, if appropriate.
Requesting Academic Recommendations
Your faculty recommendations are vital to the selection process. These documents provide the selection committee a glimpse of who you are as a researcher. Recommendations carry more weight if they are from professors or instructors who know you. We may contact your references directly to confirm their recommendation information.
Here are a few tips to assist you when determining who will be your recommender and the steps you should take to assist your recommender.
- Ask for recommendations from someone who knows your academic work, can comment specifically on your performance, particularly in the fields of study related to your desired research area and how you will contribute to the diversity of the University of Michigan community of scholars.
- Advisors and program directors can comment on your overall achievement. Generally, they cannot evaluate your experience in your field of study. If you have a recommendation from someone like this, you will need to have a strong academic reference that can speak to your research potential and knowledge in the field to supplement it.
- You should not ask a neighbor, religious leader, employer (unless related to your research area), or anyone else who may know you outside of an academic or research context.
- Early in the application process, visit your recommenders during office hours or schedule an appointment to discuss your SROP plans and your graduate school goals.
- Give your recommenders a short resume of your experience and areas of interest. Remind them about a project or paper you completed in their class. What grade did you get? Was there something about that project that stood out?
- Once you FINALIZE the online application, give your recommenders the instructions for completing the online recommendation. The instruction email will have a website address and your application ID number which your recommender will need in order to submit their recommendation.
- Monitor your application status and email to ensure that the recommendations are submitted on time.
Submitting the Application
Complete and submit the application and upload all documentation:
- Personal, Academic, and Diversity statements.
- Identify faculty research of interest.
- Two complete Letters of Recommendation. Recommenders submit this to the application portal (no paper copies). Letters must be received by the deadline for program consideration.
- All unofficial transcripts which reflect all earned undergraduate credits and grades through December 2018. Students accepted to the program will be required to submit all official transcripts as well.
Only application materials submitted online (application, personal and academic statements, faculty mentor selection, and letters of recommendation) using the U-M website will be reviewed. Documents submitted via email or as paper copies will not be accepted. Incomplete and late applications will not be accepted or considered.
Selecting SROP Institutions
Participation in SROP is an excellent opportunity for you to become familiar with a place where you might like to pursue graduate study. SROP also gives you a chance to become acquainted with professors, graduate students and staff in the departments where you might apply.
The University of Michigan has a separate application from other Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) institutions; the centralized BTAA application cannot be used for admission to U-M’s SROP. In the BTAA application, you can select any or all of the institutions that are part of the BTAA. Do not apply to universities where no one is doing research in your desired area. Program staff will not be able to match you with a research mentor, and you are unlikely to be accepted there.
Receiving an Offer
SROP staff at the University of Michigan will begin contacting applicants in the spring. If selected, you will receive an acceptance offer from a program via email. Monitor your email inbox (including your spam folder).
It is possible that you could receive offers from multiple institutions. Once you have accepted an offer from a university, you cannot accept an offer from a different institution. Acceptance decisions are final.
How to Handle Multiple Offers
We encourage you not to hold onto multiple offers while waiting to hear from every institution. For example, let’s say you applied to A, B, C, and D universities. You received an offer from B and C. You know that A is your first choice. Given a choice between B and C, you definitely prefer B. We encourage you to decline the offer from C so that another student can receive an offer for the space that you declined.
To continue the example, let’s say that you received an offer from D. You are still holding out for A, but you know that B is still your preference over D. Decline your offer from D while you wait to see if A will accept you.
This courtesy will enable more students to receive offers for a great research opportunity.