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However, even such opportunities usually come with the expectation that you have some research experience to begin with. Tara Kuther, Ph.D., is a professor at Western Connecticut State University. Then find a prof who does that research at the school that interests you. Let the faculty know that you're interested in getting involved in research. Sign up for his/her class, perform well and ask to volunteer in their lab. 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Having had some money saved up, I said that I would work for free. What will be expected of you as a research assistant? Send your pics, recipes, performance ideas for the. All posts copyright their original authors. If you develop a relationship with a faculty member, you might be able to help him or her conduct a project that may otherwise remain shelved for lack of time. Faculty often depend on students to further their research programs. Steps. And, if you decide to pursue research, you'll gain connections in the scientific and academic community, and have a nice boost to your resume. To find research opportunities, ask professors from your undergraduate psychology courses if they need research assistants or want to take on independent study students. You could get that experience by committing to several months of volunteering as a research assistant for some professor. Once you've got some experience under your belt, you will be in a much better position. She specializes in professional development for undergraduate and graduate students. It's your responsibility to ensure that aspects of the research project get done. Involving undergraduates in research also offers the opportunity for faculty to witness a student's professional growth, which can be quite rewarding. If you complete tasks competently, you might be asked to take on more responsibility and you will earn excellent letters of recommendation. Join 6,455 readers in helping fund MetaFilter. So here's my situation. I'm interested in going either to medical school or getting my PhD, and regardless of which one I choose, I've been advised that getting research experience is a big plus and can help elevate your resume. Your performance here can give faculty members lots of good things to write in letters of recommendation. Some assistants might administer surveys, maintain and operate lab equipment, or care for animals. Research jobs aren't that hard to get, but I've never heard of anyone being hired without previous research experience. Others might code and enter data, make photocopies, or write literature reviews. Get research experience by assisting a faculty member to conduct his or her research. Psychology research occurs every day, most likely at your own university, and providing support to research does not require extensive degrees, or prior experience. If it is really clinical psychology that you’re interested in, there is no way to get around the standard requirement of previous research experience. As you can see, student-professor research relationships offer benefits to all involved; however, the commitment to become a research assistant is a big one. Professors and graduate students at most universities conduct studies, and there are likely research opportunities for undergraduate students on your campus. I'm Focusing on Making the Most of My College Experience Right Now . Engaging in research is a worthwhile experience, regardless of whether you choose to attend graduate school, because it provides you with the opportunity to think, organize information, and demonstrate your commitment… Approach faculty during office hours and ask for leads on who might be looking for research assistants. By Aspiring Docs Working in a research setting can help make you a competitive medical school applicant and help you to determine if a career in medicine or medical research is right for you. I went about contacting profs at a local university, via e-mail, completely out of the blue inquiring if they had research opportunities for someone with a bachelor's degree looking to get some experience before applying to grad school. However, if you are in the social sciences there are other outlets through which to get post-graduation research experience - like think tanks and nonprofits that conduct research. My wife got admitted after getting some research experience (and it … The professors you did your independent project and research with are probably getting these emails too, or know which listservs to join to get them directly. How Do You Get Involved as a Research Assistant? Could you look into recruiting people for clinical trials or perhaps being a study manager? Make sure your email is professional, well-spelled, courteous, and succinct. Ask MetaFilter is a question and answer site that covers nearly any question on earth, where members help each other solve problems. I imagine there are similar resources for clinical research. If you want to get paid, I'll second the suggestion of looking at job boards. Did you know that there are benefits for faculty too? You may have to take a position somewhat removed from your central interests. Its something most people who want to go into the field get in college, so there is usually a wide array of people applying for those jobs who already have a proven track record. Now what? Applicants to graduate school encounter fierce competition for admission and funding in today's competitive market. It will be competitive, but with your experience so far, you will have a shot. Say straight-out that you're looking for research experience and would be willing to contribute whatever they need in their lab for X hours a week for Y weeks. Maybe the equivalent exists in your hospitals. Let the faculty member know that you're willing to work hard (be honest!). To do #2, you would want to get research experience, which means volunteering 5-15 hours a week for a local psychology, OB or HR research lab at a university. If you are adamant to get into your local school's program, then one way to do that is to volunteer to do research and find a professor within the department who will let you work on a project with him/her. Speaking as a professor in psychology here (in Australia, but originally from the US so I know the system in both places)... there's a big difference if you want to get paid for it, or if you just want to contribute time in exchange for learning about how a lab works, whether research is for you, etc. You're now aware that there are many benefits to getting involved in research. If you don't take the commitment seriously, are unreliable, or make repeated mistakes, your relationship with the faculty member will suffer (as will your recommendation). Another data point - I'm currently a grad student in cognitive science, and right now the postings for post-undergrad type research assistant positions (typically 1-year, occasionally 2-year commitments) are starting to pile up on the listservs I'm a member of. They might be able to help. However, there is a positive payoff from conducting research with faculty only if you perform competent work consistently. Remember, it's perfectly okay not to know what you're going to do after college. What general tasks can you expect? As long as you will be gaining skills you can apply later, it is worth it! Im in the UK and the NHS employs people to recruit patients into trials and studies. Ask MetaFilter is where thousands of life's little questions are answered. As an undergraduate researcher, you can get hands-on experience in the area of your interest, learn skills and material that complements your course work, and get a feel for how science and research takes place in the real world. First and foremost, you should perform well in class, and be motivated and visible in your department. How do I get research experience after graduating college? Aside from the thrill of generating new knowledge, assisting a professor with research provides many other valuable opportunities including: Engaging in research is a worthwhile experience, regardless of whether you choose to attend graduate school, because it provides you with the opportunity to think, organize information, and demonstrate your commitment, reliability, and capacity for research. I work full time as a research assistant in my university's psychiatry department. How can you increase your odds of acceptance, and better yet, funding? Get outstanding letters of recommendation. That decision can, in fact, wait until you really do graduate. I got that job thanks in part to a close connection from my undergrad research to the prof who was hiring. 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