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Division of Intramural Research

Hints for Applicants

The Summer Programs are highly competitive. About 1 of every 8 applicants to the Summer Programs is selected. In the NHLBI, the selection process is initiated by the scientists themselves. They typically select students whose research interests and skills are of relevance to their ongoing research. Some investigators will select students based on key words in their application, while other investigators will select only from students who contact them directly. It is thus highly advantageous that applicants contact individual investigators to explain their interest and aptitude for the ongoing research.

Hints on How to Apply and Compete

  • Take some time to identify areas of research that interest you. You should identify several researchers or laboratories whose research interests you most. Listings of researchers and their interests in the NHLBI and within all of NIH are available on-line.
  • Also visit the web sites of NIH Institutes and Centers.
  • Write a good cover letterimage of external icon describing your interest in health-related research, future academic plans, and reasons for seeking an internship at the NIH. Use this cover letter in your on-line application. 
  • Send an e-mail to investigators whose research interests you that tells them why you are interested in their research and how your research skills will be useful to them with a copy to the NHLBI Office of Education at: direducation@nhlbi.nih.gov. Correspondence with NIH Investigators and the Office of Education is most effective if it comes directly from potential summer researchers.
  • Include information in your application and in the e-mail to investigators on past research experience, science awards, honors, student programs and participation in scientific meetings and poster sessions—attach copies of abstracts and scientific papers.
  • Carefully proofread your application.
  • The best recommendation letters are from science faculty, preceptors, etc. that have direct knowledge of your scientific interests and abilities. Letters from family friends are less useful.
  • Graduating seniors should include information that you have been accepted to an academic institution at the next educational level, e.g., acceptance letter to college, professional school, etc.
  • Be mindful about application deadlines. Apply early (before January 1)  electronically on the NIH web site. If you have an interest in an internship in research going on at the NHLBI, select THE NATIONAL HEART, LUNG, AND BLOOD INSTITUTE in item #9 on the application.
  • Selection of students by individual laboratories begins early in the year, well before the application deadline. Students who have been selected will be contacted by investigators and will receive notification of their selection from the Office of Education. Those who are not selected will receive notification during the month of May. The Office of Education will not be able to respond to inquiries about the status of a particular application.

For further information about the NHLBI DIR Summer Internship Program, including help on choosing a mentor, please contact the Summer Program Coordinator at the NHLBI DIR Office of Education, Building 10, Room 6N248, Bethesda, MD 20892-1754, or Tel: 301-451-9440, Fax: 301-594-8133 or e-mail: direducation@nhlbi.nih.gov.

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Last Updated December 2012

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