Student at the University of Chicago

Students entering their last two years of high school, and who excel in biology, will find a great fit with the University of Chicago’s Research in the Biological Sciences summer program (RIBS). Students will learn how research is done and work with world-class faculty. This program has the potential to last not one, but two summers:

“During RIBS, you will be exposed to a broad range of molecular, genetic and cellular biological techniques currently used in research laboratories.  You will be trained in laboratory research; however, the emphasis is on the training rather than on the projects.  The main goals of RIBS are to teach you some basic lab skills and to give you the confidence to work in a research laboratory.  On a space-available basis, we will invite back students the following summer to carry out a research project in one of the faculty labs on campus.”

For those students who are truly passionate about pursuing a research career, this is a program worth investigating.

When does instruction begin?

RIBS, a four-week program, begins in mid-June. All students must have completed one year of high school biology before the program starts. Those who are currently taking a course are also encouraged to apply.

What is the curriculum like?

The University of Chicago’s program is hands-on, rather than theoretical. While high school biology courses have a few lab experiments each year, students will be in the lab almost every day while on campus. Here are the course objectives from an earlier sample syllabus:

“- Develop skills and confidence important for succeeding in a laboratory.
– Learn some basic lab operations and techniques.
– Learn how to design and carry out a research project.
– Learn how to present results clearly and concisely
– Develop skills important for productive collaborations (working in groups)”

The skills gained during RIBS are essential for succeeding in AP, IB, and other university-level biology courses. If they are planning on taking the AP Biology course, the accelerated pace of this program will be excellent preparation as well.

What is campus life like?

To create an immersion experience, students live on campus in the dorms. Summer students will also have the chance to experience outings and activities in the city of Chicago. Some past activities have included seeing fireworks shows at Navy Pier and attending White Sox baseball games.

Around what time is the application deadline?

Applications for University of Chicago summer programs must be completed by the beginning of March. Students and families will hear back about admissions decisions within one month of submitting their application.

What level of skill in the English language is required?

International students whose first language is something other than English will generally need to submit their TOEFL reports—not just their scores—with their application.

To complete the online application, you will need:

  • Two recommendations, one of which needs to be from a science teacher.
  • Student health insurance fee ($272)
  • High school transcript
  • Analytical writing sample in English (usually a paper that the student has already completed for another class)
  • TOEFL reports
  • One or two short essays (no more than 250 words each)
  • Application fee ($50)

The University of Chicago has issued several statements about the value international students bring to campus. Administrators and faculty are committed to ensuring that international students feel welcome on campus and that they have a positive experience in the United States.