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Summer Research Dilemma


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So I am currently a third year molecular bio undergraduate student. Still have one year left (it's a 4 year bachelor).

This summer I did a summer research in a lab of very renowned institute. I got along perfectly with the PI and the rest of the group, made a great team with them - even got a publication out of it. Long story short - PI invited me to come work with them next summer as well.

On the other hand, there is another renowned institute (almost the same rank as the one from this summer), offering summer research (similar thing as the one I did this summer), that I would like to apply to for the next summer. I love competition and it would be a great satisfaction and privilege for me to get accepted for that one.

Unfortunately, applying for that one and if I get rejected settling with past summer's placement is not an option for me - simply due to the deadlines. I won't get decision for the new one before March 2013, and for this one I have to let PI know around January at the latest so he can prepare stuff for my project.

So, what do you recommend? Should I just keep working in the same lab I worked in this summer, since I was so lucky with the PI I can learn a lot from or just risk and apply for another institute?

I know flexibility is very important, and I would like to do the 'rotations' at this point of my career and see where I fit better - it would definitely make my graduate school decision easier. On the other hand, I have no guarantee that in a new lab I would have such a stimulating environment - it would be the risk I already took this summer (and it turned out well thank god).

Thank you!

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Did you get to work on a project (e.g. do real research) in your last lab? If it is a good training lab and you want to apply to graduate school, I recommend staying in that same lab again. Strong letters of rec go a long way in this field, and your letter should be stronger if you spend more time there

if you have strong letters already, I would consider another program if it will allow you to work in a field that you are interested in but have no experience in.

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