Why Undergraduate Research Can Change Your Life

September 26, 2011

You spend years preparing for and then attending college. During your time here at UNR, you’ll probably change your major at least once, maybe because you weren’t sure to begin with what you really wanted to pursue as a career. If you could learn more about your chosen field and gain some practical experience, without taking additional classes, would you do it? If so, you should consider participating in our undergraduate research program.

Recent surveys have shown that undergraduate students involved with research are very happy they did and are more likely to develop greater interest in attending graduate school upon graduation. Moreover, they find that this experience introduces them to potential future employers, gives them skills important in the workplace, and increases their competitiveness when applying for advanced degrees (including law, medical or graduate school).

Conducting research takes time and dedication, and you may wonder if it’s worth the effort. Working one-on-one with a faculty advisor will provide you not only with personalized instruction and mentoring, but enable you to quickly develop analytical skills that you might not develop in the classroom. When you graduate and need a reference, and you will, your mentor will be in an excellent position to distinguish your skills and abilities to a potential employer or graduate admissions committee. You also will learn a lot about a subject of your choice and, perhaps, even get the opportunity to publish a paper.

Yes, taking on a research project in addition to an already busy academic schedule can be daunting. However, past students that worked on research projects while they were undergrads have told us they remembered these experiences as highlights of their college careers and that they had a significant impact on both the quality of their education and the careers they ultimately pursued. So, I encourage you to get involved with research while you are here at UNR. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, check out our website (http://environment.unr.edu/undergraduateresearch/).

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