Interviewing Students

Fall 2021 Internship Application Schedule


  • September 30 - October 18: Round 1 interview period
  • October 21, Midnight: Submit online Internship Preference form for Round 1 (preference form will be available by October 15)
  • October 29: Notification of Round 1 matches
  • November 1- November 12: Round 2 interview period
  • November 12, Midnight: Submit online Internship Preference form for Round 2
  • November 21: Notification of Round 2 matches

Scheduling Interviews

A large number of students may contact you. You are not obliged to interview them all. Some faculty choose to limit the number of students they interview, or use various techniques to manage large numbers of interview requests. Some tips you might consider: 

  • Conducting interviews virtually rather than in person
  • Conduct group interviews
  • Pre-screen applicants (e.g. ask for additional information by email, schedule preliminary meetings with others in your lab)
  • Interview only those students who contact you prior to a given date (if you plan to do this, be sure to note the date specifically in your online project description)
  • Consider having students meet with other members of your research team, particularly if they would be working closely with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow, for example 

For students you choose not to interview, encourage them to broaden their search by exploring scientific disciplines that they might not have initially considered.

During the Interviews

Be sure the student understands the project and what she would be doing.

  • Summarize the basic concept of the project.
  • Describe some of the tasks the student might be doing.
  • Explain whether the student will be working independently, in collaboration with you, supervised by someone else in the lab, or working as part of a group.
  • Note specifically whether the student would need to be available during specific times (e.g. weekly lab meeting), would need to commit blocks of time (e.g. to complete an experimental process), or whether the time commitment is more flexible.

Topics to discuss

  • Time commitment: how an internship fits in with their academic and extra-curricular commitments. Students may underestimate study time, x-hours, office hours, and sport time commitments.
  • Academic and career interests: they are unlikely to have specific plans at this point, but it is valuable to hear about what is important to them and what they hope to gain from the experience.
  • Advice from peers: you may want to suggest that they contact past interns to hear what the experience was like from a peer.

Faculty Online Preferences Form

Consider which student(s) might benefit most from the experience. Some students may impress you with their stellar science backgrounds, previous research experiences, and ability to clearly articulate their academic and career goals. Many students, however, have not had access to previous opportunities. These may be the ones who benefit the most from your internship and mentoring.

Factors to consider when submitting the online preferences form:

  • Enthusiasm for the project and for science in general
  • General scientific background and relevant coursework
  • Compatibility with others in your research group (if possible, get their feedback on the candidates)
  • Personal qualities: motivation, dependability, ability to communicate.

Online Preferences form

Matching Process

WISP staff match students with faculty research mentors based on input from the submitted online preferences forms and other factors (e.g. funding availability).

WISP only funds students who are matched with faculty mentors through the WISP matching process. Students who find their own faculty research mentors outside of the WISP matching process are not eligible for funding from WISP (students may apply for the URAD program).