Colorado Advantage is a graduate preview weekend for students currently applying to STEM doctoral programs at CU Boulder. This year's program is currently scheduled to take place Oct 1–3, 2020. All application materials should be received by September 24.

The Colorado Advantage Graduate Preview Weekend is sponsored annually by the Colorado Diversity Initiative, and is intended for college seniors, recent graduates and masters degree students interested in pursuing a STEM doctoral degree at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Program Information

We have added Information Science to our list of participating departments...see below for more eligible PhD programs.

This program introduces students currently applying to PhD programs to the outstanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) doctoral programs at CU Boulder.

Students will participate in tours and workshops that:

  • showcase the benefits of earning a CU-Boulder STEM doctoral degree
  • assist students in preparing competitive graduate school applications
  • allow students to meet with faculty and tour labs in their areas of interest
  • provide the opportunity to meet with current underrepresented doctoral students and gain insight into the diverse community at CU Boulder
  • let students experience the natural beauty of Boulder Colorado

​Students accepted into Colorado Advantage will be provided transportation and lodging. 

The Colorado Diversity Initiative ( will handle all program logistics and communication.


This program is open to students from groups severely underrepresented in STEM graduate education, as defined by the National Science Foundation. These groups include African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives that hold tribal membership, and Pacific Islanders (native peoples of Hawaii, Guam and Samoa). Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents to qualify. Individuals of any race or ethnicity who are first generation college students from low-income backgrounds and students with disabilities are also eligible to apply.

Minimum GPA: 3.0, 3.25 for engineering (on a 4.0 scale)

Colorado Advantage participants will be selected based on academic qualifications that would indicate their ability to be admitted into a CU-Boulder doctoral program. Applicants must be actively applying for admission to enter graduate school in fall 2021.

Selection Process

Faculty in your department of interest at CU (specifically, the faculty who sit on the graduate admissions committee of that department) will read your application.  After reviewing applications, departments nominate students who are considered competitive applicants to their PhD programs for acceptance into Colorado Advantage.  Thus your application should focus on your interest in a doctoral program of a specific department (see a list of participating departments and interdisciplinary programs below).


The application to the Colorado Advantage consists of five components:

  1. Application Form
  2. ​Personal Statement
  3. Curriculum Vita (CV)
  4. A Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member, and
  5. Official Transcripts

Please submit Application via web page; all other materials should be emailed to Please specify Colorado Advantage and your full name in the subject line.

Personal Statement

You should write your personal statement as if it were part of an application to a PhD program. State which department at CU Boulder you are planning to apply to. You may mention examples of faculty in your area(s) of interest, and explain how their research efforts connect with your interests. Scroll down for a list of participating STEM departments. Each departmental website includes a list of faculty and their research interests. 

Because the personal statement is a crucial component of your application, we encourage you to have it reviewed by faculty or advisors who are experienced in reading graduate applications before submitting it.

Your personal statement should address the following questions (maximum 1500 words):

  1. What is your motivation to enter a graduate program in your field? Include your specific interests, research areas you would like to pursue in graduate school, and your long-term career goals.
  2. Why are you a good candidate for a PhD program? Describe your preparation for graduate school, including relevant coursework and research and teaching experiences. What did you learn about yourself and your field of interest from these experiences?
  3. Why is CU Boulder, and specifically your department of interest, a good fit for you? How would our campus help you attain your goals, and how would you contribute to our campus community?
  4. If appropriate, briefly discuss how you have addressed any past academic hurdles or challenges, and address any weaknesses in your application.

Curriculum Vita Guidelines

Your CV should include: Name, Contact Information, Educational History, Employment History, Honors & Awards, Affiliations, and Publications. For each of the sections, be sure to include the following information:

  • Name: Full legal name, matching your name entered elsewhere in the application.
  • Contact Information: Provide addresses, email and phone numbers for your current address and permanent address.
  • Educational History: Please include academic information for all post-secondary institutions you have attended (including institutions you are currently attending).
  • Employment History: Please include information on any additional nonacademic, industrial, or professional experiences from the start of undergraduate work to present. Be sure to include the following information for each position listed: Employer, Job Title, Start Date, End Date, City, and State.
  • Honors and Awards: List any scholarships, prizes, honors, or other special recognitions you have received. For each item be sure to include the Honor/Award and Award Date.
  • Affiliations: Please list any honor societies and learned professional societies of which you are a member, as well as positions held. For each affiliation be sure to include the Activity, Start Date, End Date and Position.

Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation from one faculty member is required. Choose someone who knows you well and can evaluate your potential for graduate school.  If you have research experience, usually it’s best to ask your research mentor for a letter of recommendation. Faculty are asked to include their name, title, address and phone number, and in the body of the letter, discuss the student's:

  • academic performance
  • potential for success in an intensive research doctoral program
  • maturity and motivation for graduate school

The letter must be filled out by the faculty member and emailed directly to

Official Transcripts

Electronic Transcripts can be sent by your registrar’s office directly to

Resources for completing graduate applications can be found at Cientifico Latino.

Participating Departments

Participating Interdisciplinary PhD Programs

For more information, contact: