I'm currently a Junior (sort of: units say senior, class schedule puts me to graduation end of next academic year) astrophysics undergraduate at UCLA and I know a major requirement in many grad schools is research experience. I talked to many professors last year and none would take me on as I had just transferred and they suggested acclimating to the school first. I attended many colloquiums, lectures, and probed others on how to get involved in research and everything leads me back to talk to professors and show interest. Furthermore my counselor suggested learning some programming languages to create a better candidate in myself. So I have learned, though not mastered, MATLAB, C++, and LaTeX (not really programming but gets me HUGE brownie points with professors). So this year I pursue professors again. Many are impressed that I've tried so hard to get involved but the biggest problem is that they say I have no experience!!! Absolutely true, but that's what I'm trying to get! I've even offered to enroll in programs that would pay me for the research so the professors wouldn't have to foot the bill, to no avail. So how does one cross this sort of hurdle? And it looks like I need to learn some more programming, how does one start learning IDL?