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Similar to most REU programs, the Harvard Forest Summer Program receives many more applications than available funded positions. Overall, the pool of students hired will come with a wide variety of experience and educational backgrounds. A small but significant portion of students hired are rising sophmores who show an interest in ecology but of course do not have significant course work or experience. The majority of students hired are rising juniors and seniors who have a background in relevant science courses. We actively recruit students from small colleges, minority serving colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, and schools with limited opportunities to get "hands on" research experience. The most competitive applicants have demonstrated an ability to take initiative and responsibility, whether by work or volunteer experience. We do NOT have any minimum GPA requirement or specific courses that are prerequisites, and many students hired do not have previous field experience..