Before you begin

Choosing the Right Final Deliverable

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Many students approach their Hugo mentorship with an idea of what they’d like to study, and/or what sort of final project they’d like to produce. If this describes you, you should review the sources here in order to get a better notion of who your audience will be, and what demands on your time will look like (this is critical for backwards planning).

If you’re beginning your mentorship journey with an end project or publishing platform in mind, you must review what platforms’ audiences look like. It is vital that you understand who the predefined audience is so you can work consistently towards delivering to their needs and specs. Since every student has their own project goals and intended outlets, we’ve created summaries of the most popular outlets so you can skip to the information that is most relevant to you right now. To help you prepare with your end goals in mind we have included some time estimates for each type of platform so you have an idea of what is entailed in creating your finished product.

Hollywood and popular media often transmit that research is its own goal and end. But as any researcher will tell you, communicating your findings with others is often the most challenging part of the process. Use our time estimates to pace yourself, and make sure you reserve mental energy for the final stage of your project, summarizing your research to share with others.

Peer-reviewed Journal/Faculty-reviewed Journals

There are many options available to students who want to submit their work for publication in a peer-reviewed journal for student research. Across disciplines, the main audience for these publications includes undergraduate admissions officers, subject-area specialists and instructors at the high school and university level (when vetting potential lab members or mentees), scholarship review boards, and other student researchers.

For professional and academic journals (those publishing work associated with accredited research institutions), the majority of readers for all disciplines are PhD students, postgraduates, and postdocs. However, other types of academics are also represented, including medical professionals and professors. Given this audience, it is best to aim for publication in an academic-reviewed journal if you want to be competitive for a lab position, research team, scholarship, or class placement.

Writing an academic paper for submission to these journals generally takes several months, not including experimental design and data collection, when applicable. It can be difficult to judge how much time you will spend writing since so much depends on your personal organizational, research, and writing style, on top of your topic selection and data collection processes. Students should expect to spend a minimum of 6 hours between mentorship sessions if they are targeting submitting the work at the end of their mentorship.

Submitting the work for consideration can take between 2 - 8 hours, depending on the submission requirements of any given journal. Notification of acceptance typically takes between 2 - 8 weeks, and subsequent revisions and publication can take an additional 2 - 4 weeks. Hugo offers in-depth timelines for each individual journal; speak with your program coach if you’re interested in discussing the requirements for a specific publication.

Conference or Fair

Conferences and fairs accepting high school student submissions are a valuable way to showcase your talent and hard work, while connecting you with industry and academic professionals. In addition to leading to job opportunities, the large, captive audience offers a great way for you to test out your ideas and get valuable feedback from experts. Depending on the competition, you may qualify to receive cash or scholarship awards, trophies, or bragging rights on your college applications.

If you have original, innovative results to share from your research, entering a competition to share those results could be a good choice. In addition to making your college applications stand out, competitions can offer you a large platform from which to showcase your work. In both in-person and remote competitions, finalists and winners are often featured by the hosting organization,

Since academic-style poster presentations require specific formatting and citation style, preparing a poster presentation typically takes 6 - 8 weeks, with half the time devoted to creating and editing the poster, and the other half spent crafting and practicing your presentation.


Guest Blog, Op-Ed, or Article

If you are considering submitting a short-form written essay or op-ed to a newspaper, magazine, or other online publication, your audience will be one of the 124 million people that read newspaper media each week (MANSIMedia). Of adults aged 18-34, 58% regularly read online or print newspapers, and 65% of those 35+ are regular readers. Readership is even higher for magazine content, with 91% of all adults and 94% of those under 36. Across all forms, women (55%) read at a higher rate than men (45%). As such, writing an article for print is an excellent way to reach a broad audience. Of course there are also many niche publications that have smaller audiences, and that may be much more relevant and appropriate to pitch or share your article with.

Both shorter articles and longer-form investigative articles will take between 6 - 8 weeks to complete, since short-form articles and op-eds are challenging to write due to the density of content. Each news outlet or publication will have their own turn-around time on submissions, but you should expect to wait at least 2 - 4 weeks before hearing back.


A whopping 77% of all internet users regularly read blogs (The West Project), though they only spend 37 - 52 seconds skimming any given post (, Kliphoto). It is therefore critically important that your copy include inspiring and/or helpful content. Fortunately, your target audience will be the people who already self-identify as having an interest in your blog's niche.

It is best to choose a website or blog as your publishing platform if you have detailed, high-quality, and useful content that answers questions or solves problems your readers might face.

Depending on your experience, what support is available to you, and the complexity of your design, building your web platform can take between 1 - 8 weeks. Generating content for your blog or website can take between 4 - 8 weeks, depending the length, style, and content of your copy.


80 million Americans (28% of the U.S. population age 12+) are now weekly podcast listeners (Edison Research). The majority of listeners between the ages of 18 and 34 are increasing at a regular pace. Men are slightly more likely to listen to podcasts than women, with 53% of male respondents saying they had listened to a podcast in the last month. Women make up 46% of the total podcast audience, and this number is constantly growing. Respondents who describe themselves as white are more likely to listen to podcasts than other ethnic groups, but your content can cater to any specific audience. Audio blogging is therefore an excellent format for reaching and interacting with a niche audience while improving your communication skills and defining your voice/style. If you are not naturally chatty, or feel uncomfortable with verbal communication, but still want the broad reach and specific target audience a podcast affords, you may want to consider creating a blog instead.

To collect content for your podcast, research may take between 3 - 8 weeks to complete. Recording and editing a single episode generally follows a 5:1 ratio, so a 12 minute episode would take 1 hour to prepare. As with all skills, crafting a podcast episode will take you much longer initially, and your efficiency will improve as you repeat the task.

Community Contact

Whether you wish to present to your school, a volunteer or religious group, or other community organization, your audience and reach will include service providers, their constituents, staff, and/or governing boards. Your style and content will depend on which of these subsets you intend to present to.

You may have a specific local organization in mind that you want to share your research with. Sharing your work with a community organization is an excellent option if you already have a working relationship or solid contact within the organization, and therefore know what research they have need of. have concrete findings and recommendations to influence decisions or improve learning outcomes.

Preparing a presentation with slide-deck and/or handouts will take 2 - 4 weeks, depending on the length and content of your presentation. Preparing a written policy brief or executive summary will take between 4 - 6 weeks.

Keep in mind

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