What are some tips for getting research opportunities while an undergraduate?
I'm currently a high-school senior who will be starting college in the fall of 2017 and I hope to be involved in research at my university as soon as possible, but I'm not sure how best to go about doing that. #college #science #biology #research #chemistry #physics
That's great - research is definitely valuable work experience.
If you're looking at schools this year, when you visit or contact admissions you can ask what types of research opportunities are available for undergrads and how you'd go about getting that type of experience.
Once you actually arrive at your college, I'd recommend you talk with professors in your field at your university. Depending on your field and your school, you may have a freshman advisor in your academic area. If not, you can look up professors in the relevant department and email them to ask for advice. It may be easiest to get a research position if you approach professors who you are taking classes with, but any professor can at least give you the basics on how things work at your school. In the sciences, I believe people most often get research experience by applying to work with professors they know from classes. Of course, you can also talk to other students in your major, TAs, RAs, etc.
You can also look into summer research opportunities. If your school has a career center, make an appointment with a counselor and ask for advice on how to find these. (As a college student I talked with counselors at my school's career center and learned a lot about cover letters, interviewing, and how to find a job.) The National Science Foundation has a program called Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) where you apply to specific summer research projects in various places. Participants receive a stipend and housing. You don't have to be studying science to do this program - I did an REU in geography! (Mine was actually in Mexico, which was great, but most are in the United States.) You can google the program to find out more.
Good luck with your college application process and getting ready for school!
In addition to the previous answers, some universities have structured programs, so you might consider selecting a university that will offer such opportunities if that is a priority. If a decision has already been made, contact the university to find out what the options are. If there is no program and no support, it will strictly be based on finding someone who is working on a project you are interested in, asking questions, volunteering, and making the personal connection. Good luck