Eligibility, Application, and Selection

The 2024 application will be available on November 7, 2023. Stay tuned!

Final Deadline: January 17th, 2024


Our funding from the National Institutes of Health sets certain eligibility criteria to participate in the program.

  • Applicants to the program must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate institution or community college. Rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, in addition to Seniors who graduate Spring of 2024 are all eligible.
  • Applicants must either be a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Aligned with the goal of the STAR U Program and NIH’s interest in diversity, eligible students may include students from any of the following groups:
    • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis.
    • Individuals with disabilities--a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
    • Individuals who have/have experienced certain disadvantages (e.g. first-gen students, rural or urban education, Pell grant recipients, free/reduced lunch, and more).
  • Students can explain how they qualify for the program in the STAR U Application.
  • For more information and to explore your eligibility for this program please reach out to staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu. We're happy to work with you and answer questions!
  • Priority given to: Students with clear research-career interests and students with graduate school ambitions

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form submitted electronically by January 17, 2024@ 11:59 PM EST
    • Application form consists of demographic questions, uploading your personal statement/resume/academic transcript, ranking your top 5 faculty mentor choices, and a short answer question about your research interests.
    • All applications must be submitted electronically in the online application form. 
  • Personal Statement (600 word maximum, save in PDF form):
    • Reasons for your interest in brain aging
    • Your academic and career goals
    • What has inspired or motivated you to pursue these goals? (Expand on community involvement, volunteer experiences, previous research, personal life experiences, etc.)
    • How will participating in STAR U help you reach your goals?
    • Any other information about yourself that you would like to share
  • Resume/CV (in PDF form)
  • Academic transcript (in PDF form; official or unofficial)
  • Visitor Registration Form (in PDF format) 
    • Top section of page 1, non-electronic signature, and date ("To Be Completed by Visitor") and page 6 (name, date, and non-electronic signature) 
    • Scan as one PDF and attach to online application  
  • Personal Information Form (in PDF format) 
    • We ask for these forms to accelerate the on boarding process in the case that you are selected as a final candidate for the STAR U 2020 Program. 
  • pieces of supporting documentation:
  • The first piece of supporting documentation must be in the form of a letter of recommendation. Letters should be emailed by your reference directly to the STAR U Program Coordinator: staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu.  by February 1st, 2024. A reference may include:  
    • an undergraduate professor
    • academic advisor
    • work/volunteer/community service supervisor
    • college teaching assistant
    • high school teacher
    • other community member who knows you in an academic or professional capacity
  • We recognize that students have interests and passions beyond this application. The second piece of supporting documentation is meant to provide students with the opportunity to share additional material that would help us get to know you better. This may include a writing sample, presentation/project, video clip, etc. Alternatively, you may request a second letter of recommendation for this category (emailed by reference to staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu). Supporting documentation can be uploaded directly to the STAR U Application in the "Supporting Documentation" section.
  • If you have any questions regarding supporting documentation, please email Program Coordinator, staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu.
  • Please note:  your application is not considered complete unless we have received your completed application form, which should include your demographic information, personal statement, short answer response, resume/CV, and academic transcript, short term visitor form, personal information form, and one letter of recommendation (two letters of recommendation are required if you do not choose to submit a second piece of supplemental material such as a writing sample, presentation/project, video clip, etc.) by the deadline of January 17, 2024. Reference letter(s) are due by February 1, 2024 and must be emailed directly to the STAR U Program Coordinator at  staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu.

Selection Process

  • Only complete applications, which include submission of all documents and online forms, submitted by the deadline will be reviewed.
  • Once the application deadline has passed, the STAR U Review Committee will begin review of complete applications.
  • If selected for an interview, applicants will be notified by February 2024.
  • If selected to participate in the 2024 STAR U Cohort, applicants will be notified by March 2024.


  • November 7, 2023: STAR U Applications released
  • Application Deadline: January 17, 2024 @ 11:59PM EST
  • Letters of Recommendations Deadline: February 1, 2024 (sent to staru_neurology@cumc.columbia.edu​​​​​​​)
  • Notification if selected for phone interview: February 2024
  • Program Starts: June 10, 2024
  • Program Ends: August 9, 2024
  • Applications Open November 7, 2023! ​​​​​​

Apply Now