Graduate Program Preparation and Application Strategies in the time of COVID

Whether your institution is fully online, or in-person, many students will not be able to engage in typical research and extra-curriculars that prepare you for graduate school and jobs after undergrad. What should you do?


  • Talk with your professors to see if you can get involved in their research, or if they have recommendations for research labs still conducting research (whether undergraduates can be involved varies widely based on the type of research, state and institution).
  • If you can’t conduct typical research in the lab, ask about opportunities you could pursue remotely such as:
    • Ask PIs if there is remote work you can do such as immunohistochemistry using ImageJ
    • See if there are data sets that need to be analyzed, or if there is data that needs to be mined that you could complete remotely
  • Check out our list of online conferences to present your research at this year (Midbrains and the FUN poster session will both be virtual in October).


  • If there is no way to get involved in research, check out online internships. Whether applying for graduate schools or jobs, you want to make your CV/resume “distinct” beyond classes and contribute to the field you want to go into. For many students, jobs such as medical transcription or certified nursing assistant (CNA), are terrific building blocks for the future.

Nu Rho Psi Chapter Activities

Many Nu Rho Psi events will have to be held online, or outside and socially distanced. What are some alternatives to your usual events?

Take brain awareness week/community outreach virtual! There are lots of worksheets and games on SFN’s website that could be taken virtual, and if K-12 is online, teachers and parents are likely searching for online educational opportunities!

DANA foundation Brain Awareness Week Resources

Neuroscience for Kids Resources

Put your neuroscience knowledge to the test and hold a virtual trivia night

Outdoor or virtual movie nights

Research data blitz (outdoor or virtual) or practice sessions for presenting
(What is a Data Blitz? A Data Blitz is a series of 5-minute talks, each covering just a bite-sized bit of research in as short a time as possible, by several different people during a single session)

Journal clubs (outdoor or virtual)

Q&A sessions with physicians, scientists (Skype-A-Scientist could be a great program to use here!!), industry folks, program/department alums

Virtual Conference Opportunities to Present or Watch Neuroscience Talks