Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions below are intended to assist with the Regeneron STS application process. To support all entrants and make information accessible, this page will be updated throughout the application process as we identify new and common issues. For questions regarding the history of the program, awards, or other information, please visit societyforscience.org/regeneron-sts/.

  • The Society recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted high school grading systems, opportunities for students to take tests, and opportunities for students to pursue activities and research. The Regeneron STS 2021 application includes questions for high school counselors to share how individual schools adapted, and encourages students to let us know about changes to other activities within their application responses. Test scores are not required (Regeneron STS has been test-optional for many years). The Society will train evaluators to consider the many changes high school students have faced this year in our review process.

  • Who can enter the Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS)?
    • Any student who is enrolled in and attending their last year of secondary school in the US and its territories may apply. Also, students who are US citizens living abroad may qualify. Please read the Regeneron STS Rules and Entry Instructions document for more information.
  • Can students who have completed team research enter Regeneron STS?
    • No; only independent, individual research is eligible. Even if students performed different parts of the experiment with another high school student, or if one student was the primary investigator, this is still considered team research. Students may not “split” a team project and enter it in Regeneron STS as individuals. Students also may not within the time between submission to the Regeneron STS in November 2020 and May 2021 combine individual research submitted to Regeneron STS and present it as team research in competition, publications, or any forum.
    • Research conducted alongside adult researchers in a research institution is permitted, but clarity and adequate acknowledgement of an individual’s role and independence versus work being done by the collective laboratory throughout the application is vital. Consideration should be given to the extent to which the research qualifies as independent research, given the student and adult responsibilities.
  • Can students who have worked with scientist mentors or with college students enter Regeneron STS?
    • Yes; these students are eligible to enter Regeneron STS, but students should consider if the work is substantially their own. Judges understand that sometimes scientists cannot allow students to choose their own topic or sometimes the main part of a procedure is already known. Students should consider what portions of the research they can take credit for and if they believe it shows their potential as a scientist. Students must attest within the application that they have presented their own work and have permission to share their research publicly.
  • Can homeschooled students enter Regeneron STS?
    • Yes. Homeschooled students should contact the Society to have their school added to the high school lookup function, just as other new schools are added. They will also need to provide a document indicating what courses they have completed and their success in those courses, and submit that as a school transcript through their High School Report Recommender.

  • How can I apply?
  • What’s required to enter Regeneron STS?
    • All entrants must submit their applications online. The application consists of essay questions, questions about your project, a maximum 20-page original scientific paper, recommendations, transcripts and optional test scores. You can learn more about these requirements in the Regeneron STS Rules and Entry Instructions document.
  • Can I preview just the application questions?
    • Yes, you can read a PDF containing the Application Questions 2021, but you must complete an application through our online system. We do not accept hard copies or any version sent to us outside of the system.
  • I am a teacher/mentor/curious adult/future entrant who would like to see the application questions. What should I do?
    • We recommend you download the PDF of this year's application questions here. If you would also like to open an account to test the functionality of the site, we ask that you identify yourself in Task 1 as a non-applicant (multiple choice question). You will still be able to explore the actual online system, but this allows us to keep a true count of open applications and potential entrants.
  • Can you show me how to edit or make changes?

  • I don’t have official copies of my test scores. What should I upload?
    • Test scores are optional, and superscoring is permitted. If you would like to submit them, official copies of test scores they are preferred, but we prefer that they are not purchased for this application process. Entrants may print unofficial scores from the CollegeBoard/ACT/other test administrator’s website, scan and upload those copies. Entrants are responsible for uploading their own test scores into the application. 
  • How should I format my research paper?
  • Do I need to complete my application in one sitting?
    • No, you may work on your application in pieces and save your work until you are ready to submit. We do recommend saving your essays in a Word document for safe keeping in case you experience problems with your internet provider.
    • If you try to save a page that has required fields, and have not yet completed the required fields, you will receive a message warning you about the required fields. You will still be able to save the page. You will not, however, be able to submit the page or Task without completing the required fields. When a Task is fully submitted, you will see a green check mark next to the task number. 
  • I don’t see my school listed in Task 1. Help!
    • Never fear. Just email us at sts@societyforscience.org with your school's full name and address and we are happy to add your school to the site.
  • I think I completed all required tasks, but the system says I have only completed a few.
    • To complete a task, you need to click the green "mark to complete" in the bottom right corner within the task. It is very likely that you have completed all the required questions, but have not hit the green button. Once you do so, you will see a green check mark by the task number, which means it's done!
  • When can I submit my application?
    • You will see the option to submit your application after you have completed the required tasks. When tasks are fully complete (and you have clicked the green "mark complete" button in each task), you will see a green check mark next to the task. Before you submit, you will also need to sign the Ethics Statement. The option to sign the Ethics Statement also appears after you have completed the required tasks.
  • Can I continue to edit my application after I hit "Submit"?
    • We encourage applicants to submit as soon as they have completed most of the application, preferably well before the deadline. This will give you peace of mind knowing your application has been submitted. You should receive a confirmation email to let you know that your submission has been received.
    • You may continue to edit your application after you hit submit, up until the November 12, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time deadline. As long as you save the section, your changes will be implemented. You can confirm your changes were made by downloading your submission. We recommend that students download their submissions for their own records. Students will not have access to download after November 13.
  • Why do I need to upload a photo of myself in "My Accounts"?
    • You do not need to do this, and we do not encourage it. Unfortunately, it is a function of the application system we cannot remove. Our evaluators and judges will not see photos that students upload in this section. 
  • Help! I'm locked out of my account.
    • If you are locked out of your account after multiple failed password attempts, you will need to wait one hour before attempting to log in again. Unfortunately, we cannot override this security setting.

  • I am curious if my research project is eligible for STS. How can I learn more?
  • I did not perform work in a wet lab. Is my research eligible? 
    • Absolutely! There are 23 categories of entry in Regeneron STS. Computational fields, bioinformatics, mathematics and many other fields of research can be completed right at home, too. Projects involving analysis of big data sets, either collected by the student or obtained from mentors or from public sources, are becoming more popular.
  • What type of approval paperwork do I need to share with Regeneron STS?
    • If you worked with vertebrate animals, humans and/or cell lines tissue, you likely will need to share some approvals and documentation within your application. This includes engineering projects or computer projects and surveys that involve human testing. Inside your online application, the third task will ask you a series of questions that determine what paperwork you need to share. You can also review this summary here.
    • If you are asked to share IRB approvals, IACUC approvals or wildlife permits, make sure they are signed and completed properly! 
    • If you are asked to share surveys and informed consent, make sure they are redacted or not completed by any participant. Do not share any participant data.
  • I have an idea for a project. Can I submit my idea to Regeneron STS?
    • A project must have data and results in order to draft a research paper. You are asked to discuss your results both in the paper and in the essays within the application. If you have not yet built your device and/or collected data, then this project is not eligible for Regeneron STS.

  • What type of recommendations do I need?
  • Here are a few tips for requesting your recommendations:
    • We suggest that you request your recommendations the day you open your application to allow your recommenders plenty of time.
    • Talk to or email your recommenders to ask them if they would be willing to complete a recommendation on your behalf. Let them know that they should anticipate an auto-email from our online system-- the sender name will be "Regeneron Science Talent Search."
    • It is your responsibility to remind your recommenders to submit their recommendations before the November 12, 2020 deadline. We cannot accept any portions of the application, including recommendations, post-deadline.
    • If you would like to replace recommenders after you have made your initial request, check with the recommender you would like to delete (or with the Society) before you delete them to add a new user. If the recommender has already submitted a recommendation, you will also be deleting their recommendation and we will not be able to recover this data.
  • My recommender did not receive their auto-email regarding my recommendation. What should I do?
    • First, ask them to check their spam folder. Most of the time they will find the email there and will be able to activate their accounts.
    • If they still cannot locate the message, double check the email address you entered for them in our application system. Sometimes typos are made that prevent the recipient from receiving the message. You will be able to correct this type of error in the system.
    • If this does not work, please ask your recommender to contact sts@societyforscience.org.
    • If you are using a school-based email address, it is also possible your school has blocked messages from us, and you might consider asking your IT team to “whitelist” the following email addresses: sts@societyforscience.org, sciedu@societyforscience.org and support@smapply.org, and the IP address 167.89.94.244. 
  • How will I know if my recommender has submitted their recommendation?
    • You should see their status updated as "submitted" in your application portal  within the appropriate task (2a-c) and you will receive an auto-email every time a recommender submits on your behalf. If you are unsure, or are afraid that your auto-email has landed in spam or was not sent, please feel free to email sts@societyforscience.org and we will be happy to check for you.
  • Should I wait to submit my application until after my recommenders have completed their recommendations?
    • No, do not wait. Recommenders will be able to submit their recommendations up until the Application Deadline even after you submit your application.
  • Should my High School Report recommender wait to submit my transcripts until my first quarter grades are listed?
    • No, first quarter grades are not necessary. Please request transcripts early in the process through the High School Report recommendation from your guidance counselor.
  • Do I need to ask the head of lab to complete my Project Recommendation?
    • No. The best person to complete your project recommendation is the adult who worked most closely with you and can speak to your research and knows you the best. This is most often a graduate student, teacher, etc. but certainly could also be the head of lab.
  • Who should complete my Educator Recommendation?
    • A teacher who knows you in a classroom setting should write one of your Educator Recommendations; ideally, from a science class. If you choose to request a second Educator Recommendation, you may ask another teacher from any discipline, or a supportive adult from another area of your life who can speak to your character and your performance as a learner—a coach, boss, band director, youth group leader, scout leader, etc.
  • Can the same person fill out more than one of my recommendations?
    • Yes. For example, if your research mentor is also your teacher, you may request one educator recommendation and one project recommendation from that person. In that case, students should consider requesting another educator recommendation from a different teacher, even if that teacher does not know the student as well.
  • Can a parent complete a recommendation?
    • Yes; if the parent fits the description of the recommender type. In these instances, students should consider requesting an additional educator or project recommendation from another person, even though that person may not have as much to contribute to the recommendation.
  • Can I request more than one of each type of recommendation? 
    • Yes; this is not required, but an applicant may request a second Project and Educator recommendation. The option to request a second type of recommendation appears at the bottom of your “task” list (above the “Submit” button).
  • My high school recommender is having trouble uploading my transcript. What should they do?
    • The Society no longer accepts mailed transcripts; all transcripts must be uploaded by the high school recommender in the online application. If your high school recommender is having trouble with our system, or has an issue with this new rule, please ask them to contact sts@societyforscience.org as soon as possible.
  • What happens if my recommender forgets or does not submit my recommendation before the deadline?
    • We cannot accept recommendations after the deadline, but your application will still be considered. It is difficult for our evaluators and judges to review your application without your transcripts and recommendations. Remember to remind your recommenders if the due date is near and you have not yet received an email from our online system notifying you that the recommendation is complete.
  • I have transcripts from summer courses or community college. How can I share these items in my application?
    • You can upload additional transcripts in Task 9 (test score section). This only applies to college transcripts. Your counselor must upload your official high school transcript via the recommendation form process.
  • I need to change one of my recommenders. What should I do?
    • In your "Task List" click to view the recommendation you originally requested. You will have the option to delete the recommender request. If you choose to delete this request, then the individual you originally asked will no longer have access to the online system, and you will be able to enter information for a new recommender.
    • Warning: do not delete a recommender in order to “swap” out another person or attempt to "reorder" the list unless you are absolutely certain that the original recommender you plan to delete has not submitted a recommendation. Please check with the Society first. If you delete the recommender, and it happens that the recommender has already submitted, then you will have deleted their recommendation and we are unable to recover it.
  • I did not have a project mentor, I worked independently. Do I still need a project recommendation?
    • Yes; you will still need to request a project recommendation in order to submit your application. We ask that you request this recommendation from a teacher or another type of adult who, while they may not know the ins and outs of your research, can speak to your abilities as a scientist.

  • I'm a recommender. When I log into my account, I can see the names of students who have requested recommendations from me, but I cannot access the actual form. Help!
    • You will need to email sts@societyforscience.org to let us know. This issue arises occasionally if the recommender has opened a test application to see the content required of students. Our staff will need to remove your test account so that you have full access to the recommendation forms (we will need to do this for you, withdrawing your application will not resolve the issue). We still encourage you to explore the student application, but you will need to do so using a different email address.
  • I'm a recommender. I received recommendation requests from multiple students via email, but when I log into my account I can only see requests from some of them, not all. What's wrong?
    • There are two possible issues. First, check your email to see which email account(s) the students have contacted through our system. Sometimes a recommender will receive requests under multiple email addresses, and in those cases you will have separate accounts. The other potential issue is student-driven. Occasionally students will delete recommendation requests for various reasons. If you log into your account and do not see a request or a student listed, contact your student to verify which email address they entered for the request, and ask if their request is still active. You can also email sts@societyforscience.org for troubleshooting issues.
  • When are recommendations due?
    • All recommendations are now due by the student application deadline—Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8pm ET. No materials or recommendations will be accepted past this deadline. We recommend submitting early to avoid technical issues.

  • When is the deadline?
    • The deadline is Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time. No exceptions will be made. All parts of the application must be received by the Society by this date and time, including transcripts and recommendations.
  • The Technical Support deadline is Wednesday, November 11 at 8pm Eastern Time.
    • If you have technical difficulties, please contact the Society at sts@societyforscience.org. All requests for assistance must be submitted prior to the Technical Support Deadline in order to guarantee resolution.
  • I have a special exception; will you accept my application after the deadline?
    • Unfortunately, we cannot accept any application after the November 12, 2020 deadline at 8pm Eastern Time, no exceptions. You should aim to submit your application well before the Technical Support Deadline on November 11, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time in case you experience any problems; this way you have allowed yourself enough time to resolve them.
  • My recommender missed the deadline; can they still submit?
    • No. All pieces and parts, including recommendations, must be submitted by 8pm ET on November 12, 2020. We cannot make any exceptions. Please remind your recommenders.

  • If I submit my research to Regeneron STS, does the Society or Regeneron own my IP?
    • No. All judges and evaluators sign confidentiality agreements and must agree that all ideas and intellectual property contained in the applications belong to the students. Research papers are not shared with anyone besides the judges, evaluators and our science writers, who also sign confidentiality agreements. The public relations teams at Regeneron and the Society’s PR firm receive essays from the applications for story mining and pitching, but do not receive copies of the papers. Regeneron is not involved in the project review or student selection process.