MSTP students are required to complete at least two research rotations before starting grad school, but the program strongly encourages students to do some research on campus in the summer before the M1 year. About half of matriculating MSTP students do start early with research, aided by an advance stipend that helps cover living and moving expenses. Especially for matriculating students who took a gap year or more between college and medical school, spending 1-3 months in a lab before orientation is a great way to get acquainted with St. Louis, the campus, faculty/staff, other students, and what it feels like to clip on the WashU ID badge every morning. Starting early with a PI also opens up opportunities to continue the project through the M1 year and potentially into grad school. Interested students should begin directly reaching out to PIs as soon as a decision is made to attend WashU. Early research opportunities are open to matriculating MD students as well, although they generally take part in research during the summer after the M1 year.