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In this section you will find frequently asked questions about the RECA mentoring program.


1. What does the program consist of?

<< The program has two approaches, one of mentoring for students who wish to apply for postgraduate programs and the other of advising students in the intermediate phases of their career. For the first program, you will be assigned a mentor with whom you can have regular one-on-one meetings. In these meetings you will receive advice to plan your application process to graduate degrees in astronomy. Additionally, there will be periodic meetings with the other students where we will discuss and answer general questions. For the advisory program, we will have periodic panels where different topics related to the academy (graduate degrees, scholarships, summer schools), education, outreach and industry will be discussed. >>

2. How long is the mentoring program?

<< Both programs have an initial duration of 6 months. After this time, an evaluation will be carried out to determine progress. If necessary, the program would be extended another 6 months. Applications for the programs are made at the beginning of August and begin in the middle of July and end in May. >>

3. Does the program have any cost?

<< No, the program is totally free. >>


4. Are there any requirements to be admitted?

<< For the mentoring program, you must be a year and a half away from finishing your undergraduate or master's degree. For the advising program you must be at least halfway through your undergraduate career. And preferably be studying physics, astronomy or related areas will have priority. >>

5. How and when can I join the program?

<< The mentoring program opens calls in August of each year, while the advisory program is open continuously. To register you just have to fill out a form that is published on the website . >>


6. I am interested in being a mentor, how can I apply?

<< All the time we are open to receiving mentors. If you are interested, please send us an email to >>

7. Are there any requirements to be a mentor?

<< Have a doctorate degree or be finishing a doctorate in astronomy or related areas. >>

8. As a mentor, how much time should I invest per week?

<< This depends a lot on the mentee and the time of year. On average between 0.5-2 hours a week. >>


9. What is the difference between doctorates in Europe and the United States?

<< In Europe doctorates are shorter between 3-4 years and in most cases you have to have a master's degree to be admitted.

In the United States, the doctorate lasts a minimum of 5 years, but the first two years are classes and the master's degree can be obtained during the doctorate. Therefore, it is not necessary to have a master's degree before being admitted. >>

10. What programs can I apply for in Colombia and abroad?

<< On this page we have compiled several postgraduate programs in astronomy in Colombia and abroad. >>

11. What papers do I need to apply?

<< This depends a lot on the country. Normally, a CV, motivation letter, undergraduate qualifications and letters of recommendation are required. Additionally, some universities ask for Toefl or IELTS, GRE general, GRE in physics. In some universities in Latin America there are entrance exams for a master's or doctorate. We recommend this video we made about the requirements to apply to postgraduate degrees in astronomy. >>

12. Do I need to speak English to do a postgraduate degree in astronomy?

<< It is very useful to speak and read English, it undoubtedly opens many doors. However, if you do a postgraduate degree in Latin America, you will not depend so much on knowing English. >>

13. Is it possible to receive a letter of recommendation from my mentor at the time of applying?

<< Probably not. The selection committees for postgraduate courses, schools and internships take the opinion of the tutor very seriously, as they are the person who has seen your performance working on a project. They also take into account the opinion of the undergraduate professors. However, the mentors have no way to justify that support before the selection committees. >>


14. How to choose a thesis supervisor.

<<Following the suggestions in Michael C. Loui's 2004 article, you could do the following:

Take a course with that potential thesis director: Having the opportunity to interact for at least a semester can give you a clue about the professor's work style. One could even raise the idea of doing a short project, in addition to the content of the subject, which would have an experimental (data collection and processing) or theoretical approach.

Search on the articles he has published: Contact current and former students: Knowing the current students will allow you to get an idea of the type and focus of the projects in which they are involved. Students who have already graduated under your mentorship are more likely to answer your questions (more candidly) than current students. Ask the potential tutor for the names and emails of former students who you can contact.

“Interview” the potential tutor: Before the interview or meeting, read some articles written by him/her so that you can ask “intelligent questions” about the professor's research interests. Remember that you should look for a thesis advisor who can help you meet your goals, and whose work style is compatible with yours.

Additionally, we propose some questions that, perhaps, are interesting for you to consider before choosing your future tutor: How quickly, generally, does the professor review the drafts of the manuscript and answer questions to the mail? How often are reports and progress required? Does the teacher encourage to improve writing and oral expression skills? Will the professor encourage the publication of your work? Have you historically helped your students get financial support to travel to conferences or research assistantships? Would it help you find a job or admission to the doctorate (the help could be a letter of recommendation)? Where have the former students gone? How often will you meet with the teacher?>>

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