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Summer research awards - prestige?


soporific

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How much does the prestige/perceived difficulty of a certain undergraduate summer research award matter? I can choose between accepting an award from my university, or declining it. If I decline it, best case scenario I'll get an award that's quite a bit more prestigious and $500 more; worst case scenario, I'll get a slightly more prestigious award (than the university one) but $800 less.

 

More money is always nice but it isn't a deal breaker....

 

What do you think? Should award prestige even be a factor, considering that what comes out of the research project is much more important? What would you do?

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I am not sure I follow your situation. How many potential (or, in some cases, guaranteed?) awards are you speaking about. Perhaps I'm tired, but it sounds like:

 

Accept award -> University award. Mid range $, Mid range prestige.

 

Decline the above award -> Eligible for one of (and guaranteed not to get neither of): high prestige, high pay OR low pay, mid+ prestige.

 

In the end, it's a summer project. Having any award to go along with it will look nice, and I'm not sure how much you need to worry about which one you get. I don't know much about summer research programs (I went the honors thesis and then technician route)I'd say unless one of these is going to really stand out to everyone in the field, I wouldn't be too concerned about how the admissions committee is going to respond to which exact award it is. Though it could very well look better coming from a source outside of your own university.

 

In the end you should probably just do what you would do if you weren't applying for grad school. Do you think you stand a good chance for the better award if you turn down the university one? Enough so that it's worth the risk of losing $800? It sounds more and more like a game show, the more I think about it. :)

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Accept award -> University award. Mid range $, Mid range prestige.

 

Decline the above award -> Eligible for one of (and guaranteed not to get neither of): high prestige, high pay OR low pay, mid+ prestige.

 

Yes, that is exactly it! :)

 

I was thinking that it is like a game show, haha... I think my chances at winning the best award are about 60%, so will have to think about it :wacko:  You are probably right though that the prestige won't matter much, so I am leaning towards taking the university award. If I do win the more prestigious award I can always list it on my CV as declined!

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Yes, that is exactly it! :)

 

I was thinking that it is like a game show, haha... I think my chances at winning the best award are about 60%, so will have to think about it :wacko:  You are probably right though that the prestige won't matter much, so I am leaning towards taking the university award. If I do win the more prestigious award I can always list it on my CV as declined!

At least this contestant won't walk away empty handed.

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At least this contestant won't walk away empty handed.

 

I had to chuckle at this. I do realize that I am fortunate to have won any summer research award.

 

Thanks for your advice. :)

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