Joining a research group allows you to gain valuable connections within the research team that could lead to graduate school opportunities.
Understanding what specific topics you enjoy within your field is important when determining what career path you hope to take in the future. In some cases, participating in research can help you figure out what you don’t like; nothing is worse than pursuing a focus that you’re not interested in.
In some cases, you can get paid or earn academic credit while engaging in research! Organized undergraduate research programs often offer financial incentives and you can ask your faculty mentor if there are opportunities for pay or course credit.
Undergraduate research is exciting for many reasons! You have opportunities to travel, make friends, explore ideas and discover new information. Remember that you’re not being forced to do undergraduate research; you’re seeking this opportunity to jumpstart your career and learn new things either within or beyond your major
Undergraduate research is a great way to narrow down your academic interests and decide on an academic area that you want to become an expert in. Whether you will be applying for graduate school or a new job, employers will always be looking for experiences beyond the classroom!
Students who participate in undergraduate research meet lots of people, develop new communication strategies, and learn new skills that they can use in their careers. These aspects can help students build confidence in themselves and their future career paths.
Regardless of your next career step, it's always good to make connections with people. Faculty mentors can introduce you to graduate programs, job openings, and other professional development opportunities!
Presenting your research is an exhilarating experience where you can discuss your hard work more in-depth and connect with others that share similar interests. You can add conference experiences, publications, and other forms of presentations on your resume.
Now, look over all of your responses and see if there are any common themes. Did the same topic come up more than once? Are any of the topics closely related or linked? Now that you've asked yourself these questions, are there topics that come up more than once?
As you continue to collect your responses, think about what topics or themes you don't like as well. This will help narrow down your research interests.