About the Program

The Excel! Research Scholars Program is an academic enrichment program that prepares undergraduate students who are first-generation and/or low-income and/or underrepresented in research-based, graduate school programs for graduate school admission and success in their programs. Excel! uses a living and learning community and cohort style approach to teaching students by working with students collectively and individually to provide effective and tailored mentorship designed to help each student successfully prepare for the next steps in their education process.

Students admitted to the program will begin their experience in the Summer Research Institute (SRI), an eight-week program where they will gain invaluable experience:

  • learning how to conduct research,
  • being mentored by a faculty member in their field of study,
  • learning how to professionally present their research, and
  • gaining in-depth knowledge on the graduate school admissions process

At the end of the eight-week SRI students will have started a research project and will complete it through to the methodology. They will present at the Excel! Research Scholars Summer Symposium their research up to the methodology. Students will continue to work on their research during the fall semester and will conclude it by December.

To be an Excel! Research Scholar means you are signing on to be among a selected group of students who have a sincere and collective goal which is to learn and continue to develop their scholarship in preparation for graduate school admission, to be competitive for funding and to succeed once you begin your graduate school journey. This means, part of your preparation will include presenting your research at national conferences and scholarly meetings and attending Director’s Seminars throughout the academic year to keep your goals and scholarship engaged. 

Senior Year

Your senior year is a critical time in your life. Amidst the many celebrations, your classes, your job(s), and personal responsibilities, applying to graduate school comes with its own set of experiences. You will fill out applications, take the GRE, LSAT or whichever test is most appropriate, you will visit graduate schools and then in January wait to see and celebrate the results. Most importantly, what you do, academically, during your first three years of college, will be critical to preparing you for the graduate school application and educational experience. If you are thinking about graduate school, applying to the Excel! Research Scholars Program, is a great first step; and the sooner you do it the better. 


To help you cultivate your scholarship and prepare you for immediate addition into graduate school upon successful completion of your baccalaureate degree the Excel! Research Scholars Program provides the following:


  • $4,800 in a merit stipend
  • free housing in the residence hall during the SRI
  • be reimbursed up to $1,000 in the senior year to visit a graduate school program of their choice
  • receive free GRE training
  • dedicated writing assistance for papers and personal statements.
  • research will be published in the Annual Excel! Research Scholars Program Journal


Through the University’s Conference Travel Program, participants will receive up to $750 to travel to scholarly conferences and meetings (with matched funding of no less than $250 from the student’s academic department. Without the match students will receive no more than $500.)