Frequently asked questions about BSSP

What is the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard?
The Broad Institute is a non-profit biomedical research institute in Cambridge, MA. The Broad brings together faculty and scientists from Harvard, MIT, and Boston's leading hospitals to tackle ambitious problems related to human disease, such as cancer, psychiatric disease, infectious disease, therapeutics, and more.


How are applicants chosen to participate in BSSP?
Each application is reviewed holistically and evaluated based on factors such as strength of coursework, extracurricular interests, excitement for science, teacher recommendations, and ability to contribute to the Broad and BSSP communities in a meaningful way.


How will I be paired with a mentor?
Before matching students with mentors, we look closely at their skills and background knowledge to think about what type of research project would suit them. Although we try our best to place students with mentors based on their application responses regarding areas of interest, it’s not always possible. However, we strongly believe that any research experience at the Broad is going to be a positive one, and will expose students to the possibilities of biomedical research.


What kind of research project will I be working on?
Students conduct a research project under the guidance of a mentor, and will present their results in a scientific poster session at the end of the program. Mentors develop the projects before students arrive at the Broad. The projects are well thought out and truly benefit the lab group students are part of. This is not a program where students are assigned “busy work” or unrelated tasks to complete. Some BSSP students choose to submit their research projects to various science competitions.


Will I be working independently or as part of a group?
Students are paired one-on-one with a mentor or group of mentors who will help guide their research. Although students are assigned to a specific mentor, they will be sharing a lab space or office with many scientists and will have the opportunity to become part of their community, attend lab meetings, and attend other events to learn about what members of their lab (and other labs at the Broad) are working on.


Will I get to interact with the other BSSP students often?
We make a big effort to create a unified cohort of BSSP students. Although students spend most of their day doing research with their mentor, we do plan a number of program activities for students, including social events like bowling or kayaking, team-building activities, workshops, special talks and panels, a college fair, and more.


What kind of academic support is provided for participants?
An on-staff instructor meets one-on-one with students every week to help bridge the gap between what students already know from their high school classes and what they need to understand in order to do their research projects. During the first week, the instructor also runs a wet lab training exercise to help students learn some useful lab skills. Our staff also provides support related to creating scientific posters and preparing for presentations. We have an open-door policy if students need anything and remain actively engaged in each student's summer experience.


I have to be away during some period of the summer. Can I still participate?
BSSP is a 6-week research program. Students are required to attend all program activities daily from 9:00am-5:00pm. Students will also attend occasional evening activities, such as public lectures or optional social gatherings. Additional evening work, such as background reading or preparing for presentations of your work, is also expected. Students should discuss any scheduling conflicts with our staff prior to submitting an application.