Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Excel! Research Scholars Program a scholarship?
No. This is a research-based program designed to prepare students who are committed to pursuing graduate school directly following the successful completion of their undergraduate degree. Students making this commitment are interested in learning and positioning themselves to be competitive for graduate school admission and funding.
How does the Excel! Research Scholars Program prepare students for graduate study?
Scholars participate in a rigorous eight-week summer research program where they develop strategies for and gain information about the graduate school admissions and funding process, prepare for graduate school entrance exams, and establish professional development and presentation skills. Each student will complete a research paper or a paper regarding their internship while working directly with a faculty mentor in their field of study. They will present their papers at the Excel! Summer Research Symposium. Upon successful completion of the summer program, scholars will set a course for next steps in their education.
Are there financial benefits for being in the Excel! Research Scholars Program?
Students earn a merit stipend of $3,500 paid throughout the school year beginning in the summer of 2013. Benchmarks are set, and as students successfully complete these benchmarks they receive their stipend payments. The program generously pays for each scholar's housing and meals during the eight (8) week summer program. Additionally, scholars receive receive graduate school exam training, a $3,000 per student charge, at no cost.
Will the Excel! Research Scholars Program help with admission to graduate school?
Yes. Although the program cannot guarantee graduate admission or funding, it is designed to prepare motivated scholars for the graduate admission process and to conduct graduate-level work. The research and internship experience gained through the Excel! Research Scholars Program are designed to teach the rigors and culture of graduate study. Each successful student will build upon their academic and professional portfolio, which may help them as they seek graduate admission. Excel! staff and faculty mentors offer a wealth of information and advice about graduate programs and funding sources.
Who is eligible for the Excel! Research Scholars Program?
Students must fit the following categores to be eligible for admission consideration:
1. First-generation college student OR
2. A student with U.S. Military status.
Students must also:
- Be entering their junior year in fall 2013 and have completed at least 60 credits by the end of spring semester 2013
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Must be a full-time, degree-seeking candidate at one of the following institutions: University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine University, Hamline University, Macalester College, or Concordia University-St. Paul
- Be in any major field of study except nursing, medical fields, pre-medicine, and technical fields that require post-undergraduate certificate completion
A first-generation student is one wherein neither biological parent or legal guardian has completed a four-year bachelor's degree or degree above an associate (two-year) degree.
Should I apply to the program if I am not certain about going to graduate school?
Students applying to this highly rigorous program are committed to the next steps in their education. The program is designed to work with students who are decisive about their field of study and understand the value of an advanced degree. They are driven to ensure their competitiveness for the admissions and funding process as well as success once in graduate school. If you do not feel as though you are decisive about your future plans, this program may not be appropriate for you.
Are all students required to live in the residence hall during the summer program?
Yes, unless special circumstances make it impossible for a student to do so. All students are required to live on campus during the summer. The room and board fees are paid for by the program. Students currently residing in apartments must move into the residence hall. Living on campus is meant to facilitate your research and help you more effectively utilize campus resources while also participating in your learning community.
Which graduate school entrance exams does the program provide training for?
GRE, GMAT, and LSAT tests are one of three exams you may be required to take for graduate school admissions consideration. Scholars will receive general training around strategies for success with standardized, high-stakes exams. Standardized testing seeks to assess your skills and knowledge with varying emphasis depending on the test required. Therefore, the first lesson the program teaches is that academic success is your best strategy for any exam.
Can I work and/or take additional courses while participating in the summer program?
No. This is a full-time commitment, requiring a minimum of eight (8) hours of commitment each day. Students are expected to make a full-time commitment to their research and all activities and requirements during the summer program. Students will be engaged in research, seminars, and training during each weekday and will be expected to spend evenings and weekends completing assignments and writing their research papers. Homework will be assigned and it will consume many evenings. The summer program is meant to give each student time dedicated to in-depth research and internship activities. Students will earn $2,500 of the $3,500 during the eight-week summer term.
What if I want to work for a year or two before attending graduate school?
Some graduate programs, such as the MBA, require or prefer post-baccalaureate work experience or internships for admission to their programs. With this in mind, the Excel! program meets with each student to determine their best path toward graduate study. Research-based programs, such as the M.A., M.S., M.S.W., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., etc. may not require post-baccalaureate experience, in which case the program encourages students to attend graduate school immediately upon completion of the bachelor's degree.