Application Guidance

Applications are through the NSF ETAP page:

Click on the blue ‘Apply Now’ button.

Application steps

  • Create an NSF ETAP account
  • Prepare the application materials (described in more detail below)
  • Submit your application through the NSF ETAP  page

Once you have an account, the UConn application asks for the following information; below we provide some additional information and advice on each part of the application:

  • Your CV or resume
  • Unofficial transcript(s)
  • Answers to 7 short-answer questions (labeled A-G below); this information should be split into 2 documents for uploading.
  • Some ‘check box’ type questions to allow us to learn more about your interests
  • The name and contact information for one person who can serve as a reference.

CV or resume

This does not need to adhere to any particular length or format guidelines.  It is helpful to the review committee if you share information about the following.  If there are other things you’d like to include, please do!

  • Career/educational aim
  • Education (degree pursuing, expected degree date) or Academic Background. Some, but not all, students include their GPA. This section usually comes first in a C.V.
  • Research experience (if you have any; it’s not expected)–give some basic information: title of the project, program research done in (if applicable), lab advisor, brief summary of what you did, skills acquired.
  • Academic awards/grants/fellowships/honors/scholarships
  • All employment and internship experiences, with information about hours and responsibilities
  • Relevant coursework
  • Lab, computer, and field skills (e.g., that you may have gained from a class)
  • Other relevant skills
  • Extracurricular activites/leadership
  • Volunteer/Service/Outreach experience

Unofficial transcript(s)

If you have attended multiple schools, please include transcripts for every one you attended for at least 2 semesters.

Short answer questions

Rather than a traditional essay, you will be asked to respond to seven prompts (A-G below). You should prepare your answers in two separate documents. Document 1 should answer questions A-D. Document 2 should answer questions E-G.

Aim to be concise in your responses. The suggested length for each response is about 100 words, unless otherwise indicated. This is a guideline, but it should not be routinely exceeded. It is fine to write less, or ‘not applicable’ when that’s the case.

Studies show that many personal traits are better predictors than classroom performance (e.g., GPA) of success in research. Personal traits that contribute to success in research include resilience, grit, a willingness to fail, creativity, an ability to analyze problems, independence, and comfort with uncertainty and risk. In addition to learning more about your academic experiences, we would like to learn a bit more about you as a person.

For document 1:

  • A) Why are you interested in pursuing a postbac program and how would participating in this RaMP program help you prepare to meet your future goals?
  • B) Briefly describe your academic experience in college. Why did your major appeal to you? What is one important thing you learned about yourself as a student?
  • C) What course(s) or experience did you find most rewarding academically in college and why?
  • D) (Optional question): We do not expect applicants to have any research experience, but if you do have any (e.g., as part of a course or an internship), please describe the length and type of research experience, the topics studied, your role in the research, and the skills and perspective you gained.

For document 2:

  • E) Give an example of a time that you took a risk that paid off or learned from doing something that took you outside your comfort zone.
  • F) Research has become highly collaborative. We would like to know about one trait you would bring to the team that you think will help it succeed. (It may help to think about how a friend or mentor would describe you.)
  • G) We appreciate that most students have substantial time commitments beyond their coursework. We are interested in knowing more about what you were balancing with your college coursework (e.g., jobs, care-giving responsibilities, campus activities, or significant health issues if you are comfortable sharing those). Similarly, if you have already graduated or took time off before college, please briefly describe your work and life responsibilities in that time period. (up to 150 words)


Check box type questions

There are three questions with specific response to select.

All projects provide some training in molecular biology and some training in computer coding, but many of them emphasize one or the other. Which do you prefer? Select one of the following answers:

  • I am more interested in a project that emphasizes wet lab training in molecular biology.
  • I am more interested in a project that emphasizes training in computational biology.
  • I do not have a preference.

All projects address questions about evolutionary novelty, but they do so in different ways. Rank your interest in the following three kinds of projects. Rank in the order of your preference (1=most preferred)

  • How new genes function in organisms
  • How new organismal traits evolve or develop (the genetic basis for novel phenotypes)
  • How rapidly evolving non-coding regions function

The participating labs work on many different kinds of organisms and many of the research questions can be asked in different species. Please check boxes next to all of the kinds of organisms you would be interested in working on.

  • Plants
  • Insects
  • Invertebrates (other than insects)
  • Vertebrates
  • Cell lines


Reference information

Please provide the following information for one person who has known you in an academic or work setting in or after college and has agreed to serve as a reference. (References will only be contacted for individuals who advance to the final round of the selection process. They will not automatically receive a request for a letter.)
relationship to you