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Important Information for Parents of Applicants to the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP)

My child is in school all day long (or very busy). Is it appropriate for me to call or e-mail the OITE for information on his/her behalf?
The staff of the Office of Intramural Training & Education requests that you NOT contact us on behalf of your child. Seeking and arranging the internship is an important part of the process; let your child take responsibility.

How can I help my child increase her/his chances of finding a research training position at the NIH?
The best thing you can do is to encourage your child to read all the information that is posted the OITE Web site ( In particular, the description of each of our programs includes a video that discusses how to apply and a comprehensive collection of FAQs.

How can I help my child with his/her application?
Encourage your child to submit an application that represents his/her own best work and is as organized, thoughtful, and grammatically perfect as possible. Remind him/her to include in the cover letter descriptions of his/her research interests, career goals, and reasons for applying for training at the NIH.

What's the most important thing my child can do when seeking a research training position at the NIH?
Your child should do TWO important things. (1) After submitting the application, your child should contact NIH investigators whose work is of interest and explain, in a thoughtful way, why she/he is interested and what she/he would bring to the project. These e-mails should be individually tailored to each investigator. (2) Your child should apply early. Analysis of the application data for 2015 showed that applicants who submitted their materials during the first two weeks after the application opened had a success rate for finding positions 3 times greater than applicants who submitted during the two weeks just before the application deadline.

My child does not have any specific research interests at this time.  What should I do?
Many of us think that lots of areas of science are interesting. If your child has no specific research interest, suggest that he/she list multiple areas he/she would be excited to explore.  Focus on qualities, like motivation, persistence, creativity, and problem solving skills that will contribute to his/her ability to do good research.

My child is extremely focused on a tiny area of biomedical research.  Might this be a problem?
If your child has an extremely narrow interest, suggest that, after she/he describes the interest, she/he then expresses a willingness to work in other broad areas as well.  This will help your child avoid the pitfall of appealing to only a handful of NIH investigators.

How else can I help my child?
Please encourage your child to explore multiple research training opportunities. The NIH has far more excellent applicants for each of its programs than it has spots. Only one in seven SIP applicants will be able to participate in the program. Similar research training experiences are often available through NSF-supported programs at colleges and universities or through colleges/universities in your area.

My child will only be 15 in summer 2017, but she is extremely  mature and intelligent; she has a 4.0 GPA and has completed multiple college-level courses.  Can she please apply?
For both safety and legal reasons we are unable to consider applications from any individual who is not 16 by June 15, 2017.

I work at the NIH and have access to the online database where applications to NIH training programs are stored. Is there any problem with my looking up my child's application to make certain that all the fields have been completed?
Accessing the application of a relative, friend, or child of a friend for any reason is considered unauthorized access and is a violation of the terms of use agreement you accept each time you login to the system. It is viewed as a serious offense.