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A friend asked me to post this.

I am an Egyptian undergraduate student who is considering attending graduate school programs in statistics. I studied for a year abroad in the US at the University of Chicago and, during my time there, I realized that many US undergraduate students engage in research outside of their course work. This research can then be listed separately on their resumes in addition to their classes and provides evidence of their competency not only in classes but also in working in a research setting.

However, curriculums in Egypt are not designed this way. During my undergraduate studies, I engaged in research as well but this research is built into our coursework and is not separate. Therefore, unlike a US candidate (or perhaps other international students) applying, I have not had the opportunity to hold a research position because it is assumed in Egypt that our research experience comes from our courses.

My Question

I plan on applying to Ph.D. programs in the US. How should I present my research experience in my applications? What steps will I need to take to demonstrate that I have had significant research experience through my coursework that will make me a valuable researcher in programs that I apply to?

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Research experience in classes should show up in recommendation letters from the corresponding faculty (and in your personal statement, but the former is much more impactful). If you've done high-quality and nontrivial research in your classes, then you should make sure to pick recommenders that can talk about and vouch for it.

In fact, research experience at dedicated RA positions shows up in pretty much the exact same way. Just listing an RA position on a resume does very little; the real value is getting a good recommendation letter from someone who knows you well and is familiar with your work.

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