Undergraduate research opportunities are usually unpaid, but are a chance to learn first hand about your major and the trends within it. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge. It’s a great way to learn research techniques for a thesis or dissertation. It could even lead to a job through networking or with your professor as a paid assistant.
It is also very impressive to future employers and graduate schools when found on applications and resumes. It’s a chance to highlight what you have accomplished. “I assisted with research in chemical catalysts that are being tested for use in medical intervention for addictions.” “I wrote the draft of our results of statistical variance of children’s test scores.” You may even get your name included as one of the authors of a published article.
How do you get an opportunity like this? Your college may have an office of undergraduate research. You can also talk with your professors about current research they are conducting, and express an interest in their work. If they are not doing research, ask for names of others who are. Then ask if you can use your professor’s name to introduce yourself to those others (networking is the way to find those opportunities). If you have already impressed your professors, they may even recommend you.
Don’t wait until you have learned “everything” about your major. Learn by doing, and you’ll learn more and better. Then when a future employer asks what kind of experience you have, you can answer with pride.
Student Success Strategy #33: Look for undergraduate research opportunities to expand your knowledge, your network, and your future.