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Frequently Asked Questions 

Application Questions

Can I edit my application?
Yes, you edit your application and save the progress. However, you will not be able to make any changes once you have submitted the completed application.

How should Letters of Recommendations be submitted?
You will be asked who your Recommenders are in the "Recommendations" Tab of your STARS Application. Once you add Recommenders to the STARS Application portal they will be sent an email requesting a Letter of Recommendation and will be given submission instructions. This email will be sent to your Recommender within a few minutes of being added and does not require you to submit your application.  Please ask your recommenders to submit their recommendations by February 9, 2023.

Who can write my recommendation letter?
They can be written from a counselor, faculty member, research mentor, principal investigator, etc. but your recommendations should speak to your ability and academic potential in the field of study you are interested in.

Can my STARS Application be submitted at a different time from when my Letters of Recommendations are submitted?
You may include your Letter of Recommenders before you submit your STARS Application. You cannot add Letter of Recommenders after you submit your STARS Application.

How do I choose which faculty to work with?
Prior to beginning your application please check the Research Projects 2023  page for the most up-to-date information on research opportunities this summer. You can choose from the list provided to you.

Can I choose the faculty member I want to work with even if is not on the list?
If you are part of a graduate school preparation program (such as MARC, LSAMP, HHMI, McNair, UC LEADS) that has funding and that recommends you reach out to faculty directly to secure a research spot you may do so. Otherwise, please choose from the list provided in the Research Projects Page

Can I apply as an international student?
Unfortunately we are not accepting International students. 

Can I apply even if I’m a US Citizen living out of the country?
Yes, but STARS will only book domestic flights within the Unites States.

Am I guaranteed to be matched with at least one of the faculty I request to be matched with in my application?
No. Students are not guaranteed to be matched with the faculty they list in the application. We will try to match students to faculty related to the students listed major.

If I include a faculty member I really want to work with in my personal statement or recommendation letter, does that increase the chance of getting paired with the faculty member?
We do not recommend listing faculty in your Personal Statement or Letters of Recommendation. We recommend that you list the faculty you are interested in "STARS Additional Information" tab of the STARS Application.  Faculty matching is not guaranteed. 

What if I need to arrive to the program late or leave early? Am I still eligible?
Students must commit to the full length of the program. Extenuating circumstances (i.e. classes beginning close to program end date) will be evaluated on a case by case basis.


What will the format of STARS 2023 be in?
UC San Diego STARS will follow campus guidelines on its format in Summer 2022. If campus permits In-Person summer research experiences, we plan to host students In-Person.

How might COVID-19 influence STARS 2023?
Updates on COVID 19 may be found here. UC San Diego STARS will follow campus guidelines for our summer planning. In summer 2020 and 2021, STARS successfully moved to a completely virtual format.

What was the STARS virtual summer like in 2020 and 2021?
The STARS virtual experience moved many of the activities that typically occured in person into a virtual format. Participants were matched to faculty, did their research virtually, participated in graduate school preparation activities, presented their research, took GRE intensive courses, and partcipated in community building activities.

What will a typical day during STARS entail?
Research, research and more research! In addition to research, students will attend a STARS Conference; GRE courses in the the first week; Graduate Advocate meetings on Wednesday evenings; GRE courses; and educational /social activities. We will provide the full schedule at orientation.

Is Orientation on June 26th, 2023 mandatory?
Yes, each student is responsible for showing up on time and participating.

Are the Graduate Advocate meetings and STARS Conference mandatory?
Yes, all of these events are mandatory.

Are the GRE courses mandatory?
GRE Courses are not mandatory. GRE courses are optional for students who are juniors and above. Students who have not yet reached junior level are not required to take the GRE Courses. Students who are not planning to take the GRE or who have already taken the GRE are not required to take the GRE Course.

Can I take summer school classes and work?
No. Students will be busy doing full-time research during the day and have activities planned in the evenings. Students may not go to summer school or work while in STARS. 

Can I take vacation during STARS?
No. Students will be expected to participate in STARS activities for all eight weeks.

Can I leave campus during the nights and weekend? Will there be any free time to explore the city?
Yes, many evenings and weekends will be free for students to enjoy social activities.

What is the weather like in San Diego? (i.e., what should I pack?)
Perfect! According to Wikipedia, "San Diego is categorized as semi-arid climate. It enjoys mild, sunny weather throughout the year." You will not experience the heat, humidity or thunderstorms typical of the East during the summer! We recommend bringing shorts, tank tops, and sandals. However, you should also bring a few pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, closed toed shoes and a light jacket because it can get cold at night. You should also bring close toed shoes if you are working in a laboratory.

Are there any events that will require me to wear something formal?
The only occasion where something a bit nicer should be worn is your research presentation at the STARS Conference and the UC San Diego Summer Research Conference. We recommend wearing business casual. This includes nice pants, khakis, skirt, nice shirt, blouse, optional tie or jacket, and dress shoes.

Will I have a UC San Diego ID?
Student will receive a UC San Diego Affiliate ID. Student accepted into the program will receive instructions for receiving an ID Card.


Am I guaranteed to work with at least one of the faculty I request to be matched with in my application?
No. Students are not guaranteed to be matched with the faculty they list in the application. We will try to match students to faculty related to the students listed major.

Can I choose the faculty member I want to work with?
If you are part of a graduate school preparation program (such as HHMI, McNair, UC LEADS) that has funding and that recommends you reach out to faculty directly to secure a research spot you may do so. Otherwise, please choose from the list provided in the Research Projects Page and list who you would like to work with in the application. 

Will I have Library access?
Yes.  STARS students who register for library privileges at Geisel Library will be able to check out books using their campus Affiliate ID card. STARS students can access online databases from computers located in our campus libraries.

Should I bring a lab coat and goggles, or are they provided?
Your laboratory will most likely provide a lab coat and goggles. If they do not have any available, loaner lab coats and goggles will be available through Environmental Health & Safety.


Will there be Housing in STARS 2023?
If STARS is In-Person, Housing will be included in the program. If STARS is in a Remote format, Housing will not be included.

The following questions relate to STARS if it is In-Person:

Where will we be living?
Housing information will be sent to students prior to program start.

When is check in and check out of campus housing?
Check-in will be all day on Sunday, June 25th.  Check out will end at 3:00 pm Friday, August 18th.

Where do I go to check-in?
Housing information will be sent to students prior to program start.

Is there any furniture or appliances in the apartments?
The apartments come furnished with beds, couches, end tables, trash cans, desks, lamps, stoves, refrigerators, tables and chairs.

What items do I need to bring?
Linens (1 sheet set, 1 blanket, 1 pillow, and 1 set of towels per person) will be provided. There is a full kitchen but you may want to bring dishes, eating utensils, pots, and pans. We recommend students bring their laptop computers, if you have one. Otherwise, computers are accessible from campus libraries. We will also provide housing assignments the week before you travel so that you can coordinate with your roommates.

What services are provided at the student dorms?
A general cleaning service is provided. Custodians will clean your bathrooms and kitchen area once per week. However, they will not wash your dishes. They will also change your linens once per week.

Will I get my own room?
No. There are no single dorm rooms this summer. If there are special circumstances that requires you to have a single room please let us know.

When will I find out who my roommates are?
We will provide housing assignments within one week of arriving to UC San Diego.

Is there Internet and cable connection in the apartments, and is it free or provided by housing?
All UCSD housing is wired with high-speed wireless Internet and Ethernet lines. Both cable and Internet are free to use in the apartments, but you are required to bring your own cable and television. For wireless Internet access STARS students will have to log onto the UCSD GUEST wireless network.

What are the laundry procedures?
Students will be responsible for doing their own laundry. Laundry facilities are located at the dorms. Machines operate using Triton Cash.

Lock out fees/procedures?
If you are locked out of your apartment or lose your keys, please visit the conference desk at the dorms. The fee for replacing a lost set of keys is $150. This fee will not be reimbursed by STARS.

If I have someone coming to visit, are they allowed to stay overnight?
No. Because the STARS program covers housing costs only for STARS students. Overnight guests are not allowed to sleep in the dorms. There are a number of hotels in the area where visitors are welcome to stay.

Do I have to live on campus?
Although we highly encourage you to live on campus for convenience and to interact with your STARS cohort, students who live in San Diego may choose to live off campus and commute to UC San Diego for STARS events and activities. If you choose to live off campus, please understand that your attendance at STARS activities is still mandatory. Also note that you will need to pay for parking if you plan to bring your car.  Let us know as soon as possible if you choose to commute.

Can I bring my car to campus?
Yes. You may bring your car to campus. You will need to purchase a parking permit out of your own pocket. You may purchase parking through Conference Services on move-in day.



Are meal plans provided?
No. Meal plans will not be provided. The summer stipend is intended to cover meals for the summer. You can purchase groceries at our local groceries stores both on and off campus. The apartments have full kitchens with a microwave, stove, and refrigerator. Students may also purchase Triton Cash which can be used on-campus at marketplaces and eateries as well as off-campus at various restaurants that are in walking distance. The on-campus dining halls will also be open during the summer.

What is Triton Cash?
Triton Cash is a system that allows you to deposit money onto your campus card to make purchases at over 60 locations on and off campus. For more information and a tutorial video please visit the Housing Dining and Hospitality website.



Will STARS book my travel?
STARS will book travel only for those traveling by airplane within the United States, and from students' home or home campus. You are responsible for booking your travel if you plan to travel by train. STARS will not cover costs of car rental.

Can I book by own travel?
If you are traveling by airplane it is preferred that STARS books your travel for you. If you are traveling by train you are responsible for booking your own travel. If you are driving you will be reimbursed for mileage to and from your home.  STARS will not cover costs of car rental.

Will STARS pay for checked luggage?
STARS will only pay for ONE regular size piece of luggage each way. Please keep your receipts and submit them to Hana Haddad after travel is completed.

Will STARS reimburse my travel?
STARS will reimburse travel for those traveling by car or train when the reimbursement (mileage or ticket) is less than the cost of coach airfare. If you are considering travel by car, when the distance is 250 miles or more one-way, you must obtain preliminary approval from STARS. If the round-trip coach airfare is less expensive than the mileage reimbursement, justification must be provided and approved before mileage reimbursement will be allowed. This would apply if you are driving from Phoenix, Las Vegas, Fresno or other locations further away.

How do I get from the airport to the campus?
We recommend using a shuttle service such as Super Shuttle, Uber, or Lyft to travel from the airport to campus. You may want to coordinate with members of your STARS cohort to ride on the same vehicle. To assist you with this effort, we will provide everyone with the arrival information of other students one week before the program starts. We do not recommend traveling by taxi from the airport to campus because it is expensive.

How is transportation from the airport to campus paid for?
STARS participants will have to pay for their transportation from the airport to the campus. However, STARS will reimburse this expense after the summer is over. Please keep your receipts and submit them to Hana Haddad after travel is completed.


If I drive, will I have to make arrangements to park my car?
Yes. Parking will be available at several Parking Structures around campus. You are responsible for purchasing your own student “S” parking pass from UCSD Transportation Services. When purchasing the parking pass you will need to provide your car’s license plate number.

Will STARS provide a parking pass if I live off campus?
No. If you will be commuting to UC San Diego, you will be responsible for purchasing your own student “S” parking pass from UCSD Transportation Services. When purchasing the parking pass you will need to provide your car’s license plate number. Please be aware that STARS will not reimburse this purchase.

If I receive parking violation citations, will STARS pay them?
STARS will not pay for any citations you receive.

If I do not drive my car to UC San Diego, what are other options for transportation around San Diego?
There are plenty of transportation options available on the UC San Diego campus. There are free UC San Diego campus shuttles or you can buy a pass to ride the city’s MTS buses and trolleys. You also have the option to rent a car (closest would be Enterprise), carpool with friends, or take Uber/Lyft. Prefer a greener option? You can also contact the UC San Diego bike shop about renting a bike for the duration of your stay for a fee. These are all out of your pocket expenses.




How quickly are reimbursements made?
Reimbursement processing receipts for all allowable expenses must be submitted to Hana Haddad <> no later than Monday, August 15, 2023. Receipts may be provided as paper originals or electronic as long as all purchase details are evident. Reimbursements processing will begin after it is confirmed that all of your receipts have been submitted. Delivery of reimbursement payment can take up to eight weeks after processing.

Is there computer access for me to use while I'm on campus?
Info Station Computers are accessible throughout the Geisel and Biomedical Libraries. Students may use them without having to log into the computer. You can also access publications databases and SPSS software at the Geisel Library from the 2nd Floor West Wing of the Library. You can go to the "Research Assistant's Desk" or the "Information Desk" and ask the librarian staff to log you in each day. You can stay logged in for as long as they like.

I like to exercise, is there a gym on campus or nearby so that I can work out?
RIMAC is a fabulous recreation facility. It is one of the largest university recreation facilities on this side of the Mississippi! Besides RIMAC, there are also the Main Gym, Canyon view Pool, and the Natatorium. To use these facilities, you will need to purchase a recreation card. STARS will not reimburse you for the recreation card.

Does STARS provide health insurance?
No. You are responsible for your own health insurance. Students must have health insurance to participate in STARS.

If there is an emergency, what hospital should I go to?
In the case of a medical emergency please call 911.  Hospitals that are close by and available to all students include Thornton Hospital and UC San Diego Medical Center. If you would like access to an Urgent Care, there are three locations all within 4 miles of campus.  The campus Health Center is accessible to UC San Diego students and students from other UC campuses.

Is UCSD Campus safe?
Community Service Officers and Residential Security Officers patrol the campus and residence halls. In addition, UC San Diego has its own police service on campus. Finally, if you would like to request an escort (perhaps if you are walking alone from lab late at night) you may call (858) 534-WALK between 5pm and 1am.

Are there places you suggest for independent and/or group study?
On campus, very popular study spots are Geisel Library, Biomedical Library, and Galbraith Hall. Generally, Biomedical Library and Galbraith Hall are preferred for independent study whereas Geisel Library is preferred for group study sessions since they provide many more study rooms. There are also 6 different Campus Community Centers on that provide open seating and study spaces. You can find more information on the Black Resource Center, Cross Cultural Center, LGBT Resource Center, Intertribal Resource Center, Raza Resource Centro, and Women’s Center at