As a first generation college student from New York, I was very hesitant to move out of state and attend a university far away from my home, my family, and my comfort zone. As one of the first in my family to attend college, I had no idea what college life was like and the mere thought of transitioning from high school to college terrified me. However, I came across the Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRADS) when I was trying to learn more about the University of Michigan and was amazed by the smaller, more inclusive community that it offered. In comparison to the entire 30,000 undergraduate student population, MRADS’ community is smaller, friendlier, and less intimidating. In MRADS, I knew that I could not only be part of a community that would help me transition into college, but be part of a community that could also help me immerse in undergraduate research as a first-year. 

I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field—either through clinical exposure or medical research. My dream is to work side-by-side with the University’s most notable researchers to explore potential cures for grave illnesses like cancer. Knowing that I value a close-knit community and the opportunity to conduct research with prominent scientists, MRADS seemed like the perfect match for me. All I had to do was show my passion through my application!

When preparing my MRADS application materials, I made sure to keep the application deadline in mind and to prioritize the quality of my application rather than trying to submit the application as soon as possible. This mindset allowed me to not only make time prior to the deadline to brainstorm and self-reflect, but encouraged me to also attend as many virtual MRADS events and information sessions as possible. By attending MRADS events and office hours, I was able to connect with current students and to gain a realistic perspective on what the program was actually like. All of these combined allowed me to build a strong, compelling application because I could explain why MRADS was a great fit for me and, similarly, why I was a great fit for MRADS.