Steps to success


Follow the path to success

Step 1

Review opportunities in the Undergraduate Research Portal, to identify a few different projects you are interested in. Review the description AND the Qualifications to determine if this project may be right for you. You may even want to meet with a CURS advisor to learn about even more opportunities in various disciplines. This portal is not a complete list of all the research opportunities available to you. 

Step 2

Determine your availability. Look over your schedule and any gaps that could be dedicated towards your research effort.  Remember that research is often in addition to your academic courses so managing your time is very important.  Most undergraduate students are spending an average of 6-8 hours per week involved in this activity. That is often over 2 days in a Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm work week. (There are occasionally hours outside of that schedule, but let's start here). Try not to schedule your research hours too close to your class schedule.  Create buffers to avoid possible conflicts.

Step 3

Reach out to those mentors you are most interested in working with. Try to select 1-2 projects you want to learn more about and request a meeting with the Pi (Principal Investigator). Make sure you have done your homework and know a bit about their research area. Be prepared with a list of questions (here is a list of possible questions to ask to get you started: Sample questions). 

Need help in writing that initial email request? Here are a few email examples and tips to help get you started!  

Step 4

After you have met and determined the project you will be joining, politely decline the invitation from other faculty you have met with. Don't leave them wondering if you are joining, be professional and politely let the faculty know you have found another opportunity that is a better fit for your interest and availability.  

Step 5

Trainings are often required to participate in research. Be proactive if you can and complete any trainings early if available to you. If you are not sure which training(s) are required, reach out to CURS or your mentor asap.

Step 6

Register for a course to capture this experience on your transcripts. CURS offers Zero credit courses, and your department may offer credit bearing courses. Check with your advisor or the CURS office for which one is right for you. We highly encourage you to sign up for a course each semester to track this experience and gain official recognition for it. Info on CURS courses can be found here, but you must request permission from CURS. 

Step 7

We are thrilled you have taken the steps to become an undergraduate researcher and have resources to help you be successful in this endeavor.