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I am a high school student and in grade 9 and 10 I conducted research for my science fair project at a recognized university under the mentorship of a professor and his PhD student. I designed and carried out experiments in the university lab during this time as part of my research. I think this would be beneficial for me to mention on my applications to universities, especially my first choice university (which is not the university I conducted research at). However, I'm concerned that mentioning another university in my application to other universities may harm my application. I really do want to mention this though because it is relevant to the programs I'm applying to.

Do you think this could harm my application and is it worth mentioning? Is there a way to mention it without harming my application?

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Definitely mention it. Any research experience will set you apart from your peers, regardless of the caliber of institution it was conducted at. In your application, you should focus more on highlighting what you did rather than where you did it anyway.

In general, no university should penalize you for doing work at other institutions, especially as a high schooler. Some individuals may automatically equate your work value to the caliber of the institution (an unfortunate reality), but this really only matters a little when applying to graduate school, and more so when applying to postdoc/faculty positions.

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People do research at other universities all the time. This includes whether as part of a high school program in affiliation with local universities or other research institution, or as part of a summer internship program or REU program (sometimes because they didn't have much opportunities for research at their home institutions).

Mention your research. It will definitely put you a leg up at any competitive university. In some cases, it can help provide a perspective in terms of why you may want to attend a certain university over another institution.

Note that this also applies to applying to graduate school (and potentially postdocs, as Davis mentioned). In general, it's a good idea to get different perspectives so you have a better idea of what you want down the road, so you should definitely go to different universities for undergraduate and graduate education, although in some sense this applies for undergraduate admissions as well.

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