Frequently Asked Questions

 The Regeneron STS 2024 application closed on November 8, 2023. The 2025 application will open June 1, 2024 and close in early November. 

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 cycle 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/.


  • Who can enter the Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS)?
    • Any student who is living in and attending their last year of secondary school in the US and its territories may apply, regardless of citizenship.
    • Students who are US citizens living abroad may also qualify. 
    • Students attending American schools abroad, but who are not US citizens, are not eligible. 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 2024 and June 2025 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 and take care to honestly explain 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?
    • You must apply through this website, https://sciencetalentsearch.smapply.org/. Entries are only accepted if submitted through our online application system by the established deadline. All parts of the application, including recommendations and transcripts, are due by the deadline - no exceptions.
    • Be sure to review the checklist for entrants available in the Regeneron STS Rules and Entry Instructions document.
  • What’s required to enter Regeneron STS?
    • All entrants must submit their applications online. The application consists of essay questions, questions about you and 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 2025, 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.
    • Note that on occasion, slight adjustments are made to the application and/or recommendation forms after the publication of the Application Questions PDF document.
  • 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.
  • Do you have a walkthrough of the application available?
    • Yep! Check out the Application Tour video for tips and tricks. You can view the full tour here, or view shorter videos by task on the Resource Page and through this playlist. Be advised that small changes are made to the application from year to year, and these may not be accurately reflected within the tour.

  • Can I use the option to register or sign in via Google?
    • We STRONGLY suggest that students do NOT create an account using the option to register with Google. Even if using a gmail address, we recommend manually filling out the complete registration form to create your account. Using the Google registration option has created account activation issues and other technical difficulties for students in prior years; our vendor is unfortunately unable to remove this feature.
  • 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 are preferred, but we prefer that they are not purchased for this application process. Entrants may take screenshots of unofficial scores from the CollegeBoard/ACT/other test administrator’s website and upload those copies. Entrants are responsible for uploading their own test scores into the application. 
  • How should I format my research paper?
    • Please read our Research Report requirements.
  • 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. After submission, you can still make edits to your application - as long as you save your changes, they will be applied to your submission; you do not need to submit again.
    • We recommend saving your answers in an external document for safekeeping in case you experience problems with your internet provider or the system experiences an outage. We are unable to recover unsaved content for you.
    • 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. Note that despite these warnings, the page will still save. 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. A task in progress is indicated by a circle half-filled with green.
  • I don’t see my school listed in the dropdown in Task 1. Help!
    • Please select "Add My School" from the dropdown. Please do not select a school you do not actually attend. Then, check the box next to "Please Add My School" beneath this question, and complete the new questions that will appear. 
    • After you Save & Close this Task, our team will be notified to add your school. Check back in 2-3 business days, and you will find your school in the feed. Please select your school, uncheck the "Please Add My School" box, and resubmit the Task. We typically add 100+ schools to this list each year.
    • These same instructions apply for those adding research programs to our dropdown in Task 6.
    • You no longer need to email the Society to have us add your school or research program. You should make this request within the application itself. If your school or research program has not been added in 2-3 business days, please then feel free to inquire at sts@societyforscience.org.
  • 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" at the bottom of each 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 to 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.
    • You can and should review the Ethics Statement here prior to beginning your application.
    • Please note that you do not need to and should not wait for your recommenders to submit to mark the recommendation tasks complete - they will still be able to access and submit their recommendations after you have completed the tasks on your end.
  • Can I continue to edit my application after I hit "Submit"?
    • Yes! 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 7, 2024 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 7.
  • 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.
  • Help! My answer to an essay question keeps disappearing.
    • The application does not permit the use of special characters or emoji in many fields. Typically, removing these characters will resolve the issue! For this reason and because of potential connectivity problems, we recommend keeping your answers to all essays in an external document, so you can access them later in the event they do not save.
  • Help! When I download my application, there's an X next to something I didn't select.
    • For any checkbox field, a checkmark means the box was selected. An X means it was not.

  • I am curious if my research project is eligible for STS. How can I learn more?
    • First, read our Regeneron STS Rules and Entry Instructions document and check out the eligibility requirements on page 6. If you are still unsure, email us at sts@societyforscience.org
  • I did not perform work in a wet lab. Is my research eligible? 
    • Absolutely! There are 20 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 PHBAs, vertebrate animals, humans and/or their data, cell lines or 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!  Remember, parents/guardians and close teachers cannot be members of the IRB that approves your project. Review our rules about a properly constituted IRB here, and our guidance for creating one at your school here.
    • 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.
    • Here is a list of common reasons a project might fail to qualify for Regeneron STS.
  • 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. Note that literature reviews are also not permitted for entry to Regeneron STS.
  • Can my parent/guardian be my mentor?
    • Yes! This is permitted under STS rules, but you are required to disclose the relationship, and any other type of familial or close family-friend or employment type of relationship between yourself and your mentor.
  • What if I can't fit my research into the 20-page paper limit?
    • We know it can be difficult for certain types of projects to consolidate findings into our 20-page limit. Please be assured that since this is required for all entries (including all computer science entries), our judges understand that you sometimes have to compromise on the amount of code, data, etc. you can include. We recommend sharing what is most important to your project and what best shows your thought process. You can utilize the text boxes within the application to explain what you could not include in the paper. You may not include links that lead to external websites; evaluators and judges are not permitted to click on them.
  • My project is multidisciplinary. What category should I choose?
    • Regeneron STS uses the category an applicant selects only to determine the expertise of the initial review; there are no category quotas at any level of the competition and no category is more or less competitive than any other. All categories are assessed by the same criteria. 
    • Students who are unsure which category to select are encouraged to consider what kind of scientist would be best equipped to review and understand their research. If a reviewer does not believe they have the necessary knowledge to assess a given research project, the Society has mechanisms in place during the evaluation process to obtain additional expertise — so don't overthink it!

  • What type of recommendations do I need?
    • You will need to request three types of recommendations. Click the links to learn more about each type:
      • Educator Recommendation Instructions (a high school teacher)
      • Project Recommendation Instructions (a mentor who is familiar with your research)
      • High School Report Instructions (a counselor who will upload your transcripts)
  • 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 to complete them. Recommenders experiencing difficulty within the recommendation system is our top customer service request, so plan accordingly!
    • Talk to or email your recommenders to ask them if they would be willing to complete a recommendation on your behalf. Let them know what this entails—a recommendation for Regeneron STS is NOT a formal letter and letters are NOT able to be uploaded within the system; recommendations for Regeneron STS require that your recommender answer a series of questions about you and/or your research in our online application system. 
    • Let your recommender 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 7, 2024 at 8pm ET 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 your recommender is using an institution-based email address and neither of the above solutions have worked, it is very likely that your school or district has blocked messages from us, and you will need to ask the institution's IT team to “whitelist” the following email addresses: sts@societyforscience.org, sciedu@societyforscience.org and support@smapply.org, and the IP address 62.13.146.63. This is a quick fix and resolves the issue in the majority of cases.
    • You can also ask the recommender to provide a non-school based email address and request a recommendation from this account instead.
    • If trouble persists after attempting all of the above, your recommender will need to contact us at sts@societyforscience.org
  • 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) next to the request, 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 the 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 within each of the eligible recommendation types above.
  • 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 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. Note that 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. 
  • Can my recommender just upload a generic letter or email a supplemental letter?
    • We do not accept supplemental letters of recommendations and there is no place to upload these within the recommendation form. We require that all comments from recommenders are included in our form.
    • Please note that the High School Report asks your counselor to answer a few questions about your school environment and to upload your transcripts; it is NOT  a traditional recommendation with in-depth questions about you or your work. We suggest clarifying this with your counselor when you request the High School Report. If you would like them to provide a full recommendation, you will need to request an Educator Recommendation from them as well.

  • I'm a recommender. Do you have a tour of our side of the system available? Where else can I go for assistance?
  • 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, a recommender will sometimes receive requests under multiple email addresses, and in those cases you will have separate accounts. We are unable to combine accounts created under different addresses, and in this case you will need to switch between accounts to make sure all your recommendations are complete. You can also ask your student to withdraw the request and submit it again under the email address you would prefer them to use.
    • Please note that if you are already logged in under one account on your browser and attempt to click the link on an emailed recommendation request that was sent to a different email account, you will experience an error. You will need to log out of the other account before attempting to click this link.
    • 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 due by the student application deadline—Thursday, November 7, 2024 at 8pm ET. No materials or recommendations will be accepted past this deadline. We recommend submitting early to avoid technical issues and disappointed students. It is the responsibility of the student to request their recommendations well in advance of the deadline.
    • We have a technical support deadline 24 hours prior to the application deadline. All support requests received by this time are guaranteed a resolution prior to the deadline. After this time, due to volume, we cannot guarantee a solution—we suggest that you plan to submit your recommendations well in advance of this time in the event any troubleshooting is needed.
  • Why does my recommendation page list a different due date than the one above?
    • Recommendations are due Thursday, November 7, 2024 at 8pm ET. Sometimes, this date will display differently based on the time zone listed in your account. To update your time zone, click your name in the top right corner of your screen and select "My Account" from the dropdown. You will be able to change this setting here. Make sure to click the green "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
    • Sometimes, dates on the recommendation page will display in the vendor's timezone regardless of a user's timezone. Regardless, recommendations are due Thursday, November 7, 2024 at 8pm ET. This deadline is publicized in many places and we do not provide exceptions for those who miss the deadline for any reason.
  • Are joint recommendations (written by 2 people) permitted?
    • Students may request up to 2 Project and 2 Educator recommendations; these recommendations should provide plenty of information for our reviewers and there is no need for two people to share a form. Since the form is online and connected to a single recommender's email address, and because each question has a word limit, we do not necessarily support combining.

  • When is the deadline?
    • The deadline is Thursday, November 7, 2024 at 8pm Eastern Time. No exceptions will be made. All parts of the application must be received in the online system by this date and time, including transcripts and recommendations.
  • The Technical Support deadline is Wednesday, November 6, 2024 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. You may request assistance after this time, but due to the volume of requests we receive we cannot guarantee a resolution before the application deadline.
  • I have a special exception; will you accept my application after the deadline?
    • Unfortunately, we cannot accept any application after the November 7, 2024 deadline at 8pm Eastern Time, no exceptions. You should aim to submit your application well before the Technical Support Deadline on November 6, 2024 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 7, 2024. We cannot make any exceptions. Please remind your recommenders. It is your responsibility to request your recommendations well in advance of the deadline and to remind your recommenders to submit before the deadline.

  • 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 2025 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 continue to train evaluators to consider the many changes high school students have faced over the course of the pandemic in our review process.

  • What is the scoring criteria? What are you looking for? What's most important?
    • Regeneron STS utilizes a holistic review process to look for potential and STEM abilities. Our goal, after all, is to identify future leaders in STEM. All aspects of the application matter. The quality of the research project is important, but is far from the only consideration. While we do not publicly share our scoring rubrics or selection process, we are happy to share that the essays that tell your story, the application questions that tell us about your activities and how you spend your time, your grades and recommendations are all important and help us assess potential. We do not have any cut-offs or quotas in terms of test scores, grades, region, school, category, etc. 
  • What is your policy on the use of AI tools like ChatGPT?
    • Students may not use ChatGPT or other AI tools to answer Regeneron STS application questions or draft the Research Report. Use of such tools for student research projects is permitted, and should be disclosed.
  • How important is the use of grammar in the application? 
    • We encourage you to use full sentences, but you are not scored on grammar.
  • 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 research papers. Regeneron is not involved in the project review or student selection process. The Society does own the official entry and results, and as policy will not provide feedback to entrants.