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Advice on obtaining an undergraduate research position

  1. Nov 15, 2011 #1


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    Im currently a junior physics major with an average gpa.

    I want to continue my education to the graduate level, and in order to better my chances of getting into a good grad school I really need to start focusing on getting some research experience.

    I have looked over some of the research one of my professors is involved with and I am, quite frankly, very interested in the topic.

    My current plan is to swing by this professor's office during see if there is something I can do.
    I expect to get paid, just looking for the experience.

    Thats all I need to do, but the whole process seems intimidating. I want to go in there with a good idea of what I am going to say. My counselor didnt offer any helpful insight besides being familiar with the professors research.

    How should I prepare?
    How should I bring up asking for a research spot?
    What qualities would a professor look for in an undergrad for such a position?

    If anyone has any insight I would appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2011 #2


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    I understand it can be intimidating. It doesn't have to be a big production.

    I would tend to email first as ask when a good time would be to stop by. That way, you won't be interrupting or catching this person right before a big meeting or something.

    When you meet, tell the professor that you're interested in getting involved with research, perhaps volunteering, and ask if he or she has anything available. It's also good to ask if he or she knows of anyone who might have available projects. Sometimes, you may not end up with your first pick, but that's not always a bad thing.
  4. Nov 16, 2011 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    I agree with Choppy- email to set up an appointment, but I am always happy to host an undergrad in my lab.
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