LEAPS

Universiteit LeidenZegel Universiteit Leiden

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The Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Program for Summer Students (LEAPS)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These are the list of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we have received over the past years. The same FAQ have been attached to our auto-replies. If your question(s) has not been answered in this page, please .

    Eligibility

  1. I'm from country X , can I apply?

    Yes. Anyone with any nationality can apply to work for a project at the Leiden Observatory. Also note that some nationalities require a travel visa to enter the Netherlands. You should determine what you require to enter the Netherlands quickly upon being accepted to the program. For ESA Projects: In the case of equivalent qualifications, preference will be given to nationals of one of the following ESA member states and cooperating states: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom plus Canada, Latvia, and Slovenia. See the project list to find out which projects are ESA projects.

  2. I do not have an academic background in astronomy, can I still apply?

    Yes, but be clear in describing how your skills and knowledge match the projects you have selected.

  3. I'm a PhD student already, can I apply?

    No. LEAPS is only open to students not currently enrolled in a PhD. You are eligible to apply if you already have a PhD position lined up to begin after the programme; however, you must not have already started it.

  4. I'm doing a 4 year undergraduate or research Masters, can I still apply?

    Yes. The programme is open to all university students not currently enrolled in a PhD programme.

  5. I am a 1st year undergraduate, can I still apply?

    Yes. However, experience suggests most successful candidates have been upper-level undergraduate and masters’ students.

  6. I am not European, can I apply?

    Yes, students of all nationalities are eligible to apply for LEAPS. Some countries require a visa to visit the Netherlands for up to 90 days, but to date we have not had trouble securing visas for accepted students. For ESA projects (Type of project: ESA), in case of equivalent qualifications, preference will be given to nationals of one of the following ESA member states and cooperating states: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom plus Canada, Latvia, and Slovenia.

  7. I just got my Masters degree, can I apply?

    Yes. The programme is open to all university students not currently enrolled in a PhD programme.

  8. I am not currently enrolled at a university as I am taking a gap year, can I still apply?

    Yes. The only restriction is that students are not currently be enrolled in a PhD programme.

  9. I have exams or interviews during LEAPS, can I still apply?

    Yes. Please refer to FAQ "What are the precise start and end dates for LEAPS 2021?"

  10. Can I apply for an ESTEC/ESA position if I have already had ESA funding before, e.g., ESAC Trainee?

    Yes.

  11. Grades & Transcripts

  12. I can't get an official transcript from my University, what should I do?

    Because many universities do not issue official transcripts to students who have not yet graduated, unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Please scan and upload the transcript to the application website.

  13. Do I need an *official* translation of my grades transcript?

    If you can obtain an officially translated transcript which is also free, then yes. If not, please send a copy of the original, and a copy of your own translation into English.

  14. Should I convert my grades to GPA or something else?

    This is not required, although it is very useful for you or your letter writer to give some indication of the scale used in grading (e.g. course average, class size).

  15. The grades for my ongoing coursework will not be available until after the deadline, what should I do?

    Please provide the most recent transcript that you have.

  16. Letters of Reference

  17. Can I submit more than one letter of reference?

    No. Be sure to select a referee who can vouch for your potential as a researcher and not just comment on your grades.

  18. My reference letter writer made an error or their link doesn't work. What should I do?

    Ask your referee to try copying the full link into the browser. If this still does not work, send an e-mail to the address given at the end of this FAQ.

  19. Has my referee uploaded my reference letter yet? My referee didn't get confirmation of uploading their letter.

    Please ask your referee directly if they have prepared and uploaded your reference. If the upload has worked, your referee will have received a confirmation email (make sure they check their SPAM folder). If you have taken these steps and there are still problems, please send an e-mail.

  20. Where should my referee email their letter? Can I send you my reference letter from my referee myself?

    Your referee will receive instructions on how to upload your reference letter when you enter their email address into the system. Please do not send us reference letters via e-mail.

  21. Can I ask a PhD student to write my reference letter?

    If this person knows your work and potential for research very well then this is acceptable. Ideally we would prefer a more senior person, but it is more important for us to understand your potential for doing research.

  22. Timeline

  23. What are the precise start and end dates for LEAPS 2021?

    The current plan is that LEAPS will run from June 14 - August 20 for 10 weeks. However, exceptions to these dates can be organized with your project supervisor. Please indicate your availability in the appropriate section of the online application form.

  24. When will you make offers?

    We expect to announce the outcome of the selection process in March.

  25. Applying & Application Materials

  26. Are late applications accepted?

    No, late applications will not be accepted. The online submission system will close and you will not be able to upload your application. We encourage everyone to start early to avoid last minute troubles with the system.

  27. Can I apply by email?

    No. We only accept submissions via our online applications system available here. Application are carried out through the application form.

  28. If I am on a 4-year undergraduate Masters course, what do I put in the BSc/MSc expected dates?

    Please list the date you expect to receive your final degree, i.e., the end of the 4 years for an undergraduate Masters.

  29. Should my statement describing my interests have a specific structure?

    No specific structure is required. Be sure to highlight how your skills and interests apply to your chosen projects and list examples of other projects in which you have been involved.

  30. What should I do if I have uploaded the wrong document?

    You can re-open your application and replace the documents up until the deadline.

  31. Projects

  32. Do you accept more than one student for a given project?

    No. Each project is for one student only.

  33. English Proficiency

  34. Do I need an exam like TOEFL or IELTS to prove my English proficiency?

    No. If you have one, feel free to upload it with your transcript, but we do not require a paid test to judge your English skills. Your English will be assessed from your cover letter and during interviews (for shortlisted candidates).

  35. Accomodation & Travel

  36. What is provided in terms of accommodation facilities e.g. cooking equipment, towels, etc?

    Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the LEAPS 2021 program will be carried out online.

If your question has not been answered in this FAQ, please with your question.