MITACS Globalink Research Internship: Application tips and strategies

In this blog, I will try to cover my pre-internship experience with MITACS regarding the Globalink Internship and will also share some of the application tips and strategies for future applicants.

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Please note, these are my personal opinions and based on my own journey so far, there are endless ways to reach a common point so your pathway may be different than mine, The sole purpose of this blog is to help future applicants and give a fair idea of the whole procedure. 

What is MITACS Globalink Research Internship?

Because you are reading this blog on the application process I assume that you already know what MITACS Globalink Research Internship is, if you don’t know please check out the official website.

Application Tips and strategies

Before jumping into the application the most crucial part according to me is choosing projects. Here are some instances which I followed during my pre-application process.

Choosing the projects

Each year MITACS gives a wide range of projects (a big number of projects which you can’t sort in one go — yes I mean it).

I have used the keyword search tool and properly configured the metrics like language preferred — English, background preferred — Engg-electrical etc to choose a good set of projects. By thoroughly going through the descriptions, student roles, and required skills I narrowed down a list of approx 20 projects (which consumed approximately 14 days * 1.5 hours = 21 hours).

But again to select 7 projects (because MITACS instructs to select 7 projects from 3 different provinces of Canada) out of these 20, I developed a ranking system on my own which is given below.

Fun fact: I have been allotted to the first project by MITACS which was at the top of my list in the above picture shown.

Note: This ranking system is developed by me and I am not an expert in these, so I will suggest you make your own, but this thing worked for me, but may not work for you.

In this, I have defined some of the metrics to judge a project (like shown in the below picture), and I have graded them out of 10 and the final marks I used to rank the projects. The top 7 projects are the final ones to which I have applied in the MITACS portal.

After the project selection is done, you have the arrange the following documents to apply in the portal.

The main documents needed for the application are

  • At least one (maximum two) reference letter written by professors with whom you have worked before.
  • All transcripts (official or downloaded from your university website) till date.
  • Your current CV.

Some key points to remember for reference letter

  • MITACS has already given some guidelines regarding writing reference letters on their portal, please have a look at them.
  • Try to convince your professor/faculty guide to upload the letter directly to the MITACS portal for authenticity purposes (Ok, so here MITACS gives you two options to request your professor via the MITACS application system to upload the letter or upload the letter yourself).
  • Try to incorporate some points why you want to be in Canada for a summer? How it is relevant to your future academic goals? Whether you are planning to pursue your master/PhD in Canada after your graduation.
  • Try not to use a general reference letter given to you by your faculty at an earlier point in time, always try for a customised letter only and only written for MITACS application purposes.

Some suggestions for the CV

  • MITACS provides a template for CV but if you want to submit your own you are most welcome. (I have submitted in my own format, here you can see my cv which I have submitted to MITACS).
  • Use a neat and clean template to write your CV, there are plenty of templates available in overleaf, Here is my CV which I submitted to MITACS.
  • Always try to jot down all major skills required for the chosen projects and include the union of all skills in the resume.
  • Don’t forget to add your past projects (highlight the major skills used in each project), and embed the Github/Youtube/Website links of the projects for validation.
  • Add your previous publications (if any).
  • Add your position of responsibilities which shows you are a good team player (because it may happen that you will become a large group of students in the internship).

Tips for Transcript

  • Try to make a single pdf of all official transcripts (arranged in reverse order,i.e. most recent should be on top).
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have all the hard copies, you can always submit the online version of grade cards which are available on college ERP/websites.

Apart from the above documents, there are 3 essays (2 mandatory + 1 optional) that are needed to be included in the application. Here are some common tips for essay writing.

  • You can use Google Docs with Grammarly extension to prepare the essays beforehand and proofread them again and again to minimise errors. After your final version is ready just copy-paste it to the portal.

Tips for writing the “General description of skills, background knowledge, research interests and experience” paragraph.

  • Write point-wise and adhere to the word limit.
  • Avoid complete sentence writing to minimise the total number of words.
  • Keep the information concise and to the point.
  • Don’t bluff, remember professors are experts in their field and they can catch you simply.
  • Don’t add skills that are wide apart from each other. This created ambiguity in the judgement of your background.

Tips for writing the “Notable Achievements” paragraph.

  • Write point-wise and adhere to the word limit.
  • Avoid the information which is not relevant to MITACS or the concerned projects (like you become the best dancer in a college dance event, you are elected as president of some club etc).
Here are mine, please have a look to get an idea of the content

Tips for writing the “Have you completed any research outside of your degree coursework?” section. (this is an optional section if you mark “yes” then only you will be required to write a paragraph)

  • You don’t have to possess a publication to mark this section yes.
  • Write about your project, and justify the skills which you have used in this project.
  • If there is any direct relation between this research work and your applied projects try to add that.
  • Try to write if this project has any impact on people’s lives, if it is a software project or if you have anything to showcase just add the link to the website/Github etc.
After you complete all the requirements of the application your application status will be updated to complete and you will receive one email confirming that your application is complete.

What after your application is complete?

Wait, wait and long wait !!

In the first week of November (Nov 9 in my case), all the students got this type of email regarding the next stage of application.

There can be any one of the three statuses of your application.

Candidate under consideration 🚀

  • It means at least one professor from your project list got your profile and currently, they are reviewing CVs and other documents.
  • Professors can nominate a student directly in their portal or can take an interview to find the best student for his/her project.

Waitlisted 😌

  • It means your profile has not been transferred to any professor and if there is any vacancy left in the second round of selection then MITACS will forward your profile.

Rejected 🥲

  • It clearly means, your profile is rejected and you will not be considered anymore in the application process.

Some tips for the “Candidates under consideration”

  • Well if you got CUC that means at least one of the professors got your profile and you might or might not get interview calls based on this.
  • If you got an interview call, that’s great. Try to gently ask the professor if there is anything specific required to be prepared beforehand by you before the interview.
  • Try to be as professional as you can in the interview, wear formal (if possible).
  • Some professors even give some tasks to be completed, try to submit your tasks as soon as possible.
  • Based on your interview experience, try to re-rank the projects.
  • Try to schedule emails (if any) to the professor in the morning (of his/her local time).

If you don’t get an interview call, in spite of being a CUC then there are three possibilities

  • There are a number of good candidates than you.
  • Your profile is outstanding among the other applications, and your professor wants to directly nominate you.
  • Professor is not interested in taking interviews and he/she will scrutiny the applications based on the profile submitted.

Some common questions which I had in my mind before acceptance into the program?

Q: I have never published anything, is MITACS for me? 🙋‍♂️

Ans: Well, I haven’t done any publication before applying to MITACS, still got selected.

Q: What should I prefer more in project selection between good college or alignment of the project with my skills? 🚀

  • I would suggest preferring your background to match the project.

Q: Is a great CGPA (9.5+) required to get selected? 🙏

  • It depends from case to case.

Q: Should I contact the professors beforehand? Will it increase my chance of selection? 🥲

  • No just don’t. MITACS clearly discourages contacting professors at any point before selection. You may face negative consequences on your application due to this.
  • And secondly matching (i.e. allocating a student to a project) is the sole discretion of MITACS and host professors can not directly select a student for his/her project, so contacting professors beforehand is a waste of time for him/her as well as you.

If not selected, then what? 🏂

Don’t feel disheartened, academics is a vast place to explore and MITACS is just a summer research internship that will last for only 3 months, so apply to as many programs as you can. And there are a lot more opportunities that will come in your future, it may be a good PhD offer, maybe a good on-campus placement offer and many more.

Here are some of the resources for other opportunities that you can check out.

N.B. The above links are not maintained nor owned by me, please try to contact the original owners for any clarification regarding the data contained in the links. 🚀

Thanks for reading my blog, Have a good day. 🎉

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