How can I get involved in student-faculty research as an undergrad?
Nancy Hensel, Ed.D.
Council on Undergraduate Research
(with Diane Husic, Ph.D., President, CUR)
Admission officers may be able to tell you about research opportunities that are available on a campus you are considering. Also, your campus may have an office of undergraduate research. If so, that may be the best place to look once you have matriculated as a student. If your college does not have an undergraduate research office, you may wish to check with the department chair of the discipline you are interested in and he/she may be able to direct you to a specific professor. Your academic advisor should also be able to assist you in finding a mentor, or a professor that you have for class can point you in the right direction.
Director of College Counseling
Collegewise of Millburn
There’s no one path that will guarantee you the opportunity to participate in faculty-led research as an undergraduate, but there are things you can do to help make it more likely that gain access to this kind of opportunity.
The first thing you will want to do sounds like common sense, but I will share it anyway: be a good student. Perform well in your college classes, particularly those in the area in which you would like to conduct research. For example, if you want to conduct a study related to genetics, you’ll want to be sure you can demonstrate a firm grasp of the concepts in your introductory biology course.
Beyond your course work, take advantage of the other academic resources available to you. Go to your professor’s office hours. Talk to the professor you would like to mentor you about the project you’d like to undertake. If your ideas are feasible and well-thought-out, it may be possible for you to do research!
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