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Thank you for your interest in the Medical Scholars and/or SCRIPS program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine! The following tips and directions will help you start the application process:

Tips for prospective Medical Scholars

What should I look for in my mentor search?

  • A mentor who spends at least half of the time doing research
    • Does the mentor have extramural funding (e.g. NIH, NSF, DOD, AHA, other societies)? If the mentor is a junior researcher, consider adding a more seasoned co-mentor.
  • A mentor whose research expertise complements your proposed project
  • A mentor who has the desire, time, and resources to support your research
    • Consider finding a different mentor or adding a co-mentor if your mentor has limited time for you or your project.
    • A good mentor will help you craft your research proposal. If you will join a larger project, the mentor should help you carve out a specific role.

Do you have advice for the application itself?

  • Don’t wait until the last minute! Developing a strong research proposal takes time.
  • Make sure your mentor helps you develop the research proposal. It will be obvious to the Executive Committee if your mentor did not read your proposal.
  • Do not submit a copy of your mentor’s (multi-year) grant. Your research proposal should be tailored so that you can “own” a project, even if it is a small piece of a much larger project.
  • Be realistic about your research aims. One year seems like a long time, but it will go by quickly. Work with your mentor to ensure that you can realistically accomplish your aims during the year.
  • Work with your mentor to create a structured mentoring plan. Be specific. For example: When will you meet? Will you join a standing lab meeting? Will other team members play a role? Will you have professional growth opportunities?

How will the Executive Committee review my application?

Applications are scored by the Executive Committee holistically, according to a standard NIH protocol (e.g., an expert panel receives primary, secondary, and tertiary assignments and later meets to review applications; all panelists score applications from 1-9). To reach your highest possible score, be sure to demonstrate that you and your mentor(s) have carefully planned your research project and roles.

Ready to Apply?

We are delighted that you will apply to the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program and/or the Vanderbilt SCRIPS Program! The first step in the application process is completion of the the Intent to Apply form. This is a brief REDCap survey that should only take 3-5 minutes. Please complete this form as soon as possible but no later than Jan. 1. All other application materials are due Feb. 1.

Please reach out to our Medical Student Research team if you have any questions.

Step 1 (by Jan. 1)
Intent to Apply Form

Step 2 (by Feb. 1)
Student Application
Mentor Application
Co-mentor Application (if applicable)
Letters of Recommendation