For Mentors: Writing the Project Description

For Mentors: Here is a list of tips and tricks for writing the Project Description!

Understanding the audience

Duke students are over-saturated. From the numerous messages that flood their email inboxes and social media feeds, undergrads are constantly inundated with information and content. So it’s important to grasp the content style that draws students in. 

Students come to Muser for the ease and accessibility of research opportunities. In order to optimize the platform and ensure the ideal project to student application ratio, this post will help guide methods for capturing students’ attention in your project description.

Keep it simple!

Yes, Duke students are brilliant and (probably) understand the content of your project proposal. But if the project description reads more like a textbook entry rather than an exciting research opportunity, students will be less apt to click on the opportunity and even less likely to apply. 

Simplicity is important to relay complex research topics. How would you explain it to someone who hasn’t devoted their career to that area of study? That’s not to say you ought to “dumb it down,” but put it in words that can sufficiently convey the purpose of the study while not causing students to mentally check out. 

Think of it like an abstract to a paper. Something that is accessible and largely devoid of jargon. 

Keep it succinct!

In addition to cutting out overly-complex language, keeping it relatively short is also important. People can often formulate an opinion within the first 1-3 paragraphs of reading something. Start with the most important takeaways or a ‘hook’ that will draw students in. 

Have an engaging and/or catchy title

As students scroll through the project listings, have a title that stands out from the rest. Using the kernels of insight aforementioned, it may be best to keep it simple (albeit engaging!) and succinct.