ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Doing Research In College: Tips to Start

Updated on February 27, 2013

Undergrad Research for Upperclassmen AND Underclassmen

Many undergraduates probably don't believe that such opportunities would be available to them. I know that I didn't, but I told myself I'd find a way, and I managed to. Undergraduate research looks amazing on your CV and resume and it's okay if you're not an upperclassman yet (having junior or senior status). Even if your underclassman and want to start dipping your toes in some undergraduate research, this is an available option for you. I am a second-semester sophomore and was able to start a research project. There are some steps you have to take in order to get to this place and I will describe them in this article.

Do well in your field

Aim for a 3.0 GPA. Though there may be some leeway with this, really aim for a 3.0. If you don't have a 3.0 GPA and aren't very close to it, then professors will tell you that you should be putting your focus on improving your grades and not about research.

Look on your school site for research opportunities

My department has a link that says "research opportunities". Easy to find, and it gives me a list of opportunities that may or may not be available to me. You will have to read about each opportunity, see if you meet the requirements (if there are any), and decide if it's right for you. For instance, there was an opportunity to go to Taiwan. Though, that may be appealing to some, that was not for me. I wanted to do research on my campus or close to me.

Take an "Independent Study" or Send Emails

When it's time for you to register, look at the classes in your field and see if there's an "Independent Study". You may not be able to register for this. For instance, if it's an upper-level independent study and you're a sophomore or junior, you won't be able to register. However, you should scope out the professor who is doing the independent study (for instance, see the ratings on If it is a well-liked professor, and anything you hear about this professor make it seem like they are very approachable, shoot them an email. Tell them that you're interested in doing undergraduate research, but you're an underclassman and can't get into their Independent Study. Ask them for suggestions and info on what you can do. (They may even let you do an independent study, just at a lower level)

Get close to one of the professors in your field

Go in and talk to them. Tell them you're interested in doing research, but you don't know where to go. Ask them about opportunities available to you over the summer. Perhaps tell them how you'd like to work with them. I had a professor write a grant proposal for me so I could do research with her this summer.


Get yourself involved

If the department sees that you're getting involved (outside of class) in the field, then they might even approach YOU with opportunities. Join some clubs, ask about if there's anything "extra" going on around campus that you could get involved with. This shows your interested, dedicated and willing to do extra activities, just to get more information about your area.


Things you should know about undergraduate research

  • You may or may not get credit for it
  • You may or may not get paid for it
  • You won't simultaneously get paid and get credit
  • Whichever one of the circumstances above that applies, it still looks good on your CV or resume
  • It's a lot of hours outside of meetings with the professor you're working with
  • It's a lot of work
  • If it's group-research, you'll get closer to your colleagues
  • You'll be expected to know about what you're researching-inside and out
  • You may be able to present your research at some prestigious meeting
  • You may not have a choice about presenting your research
  • You may get to publish a journal
  • You should do 2 different research projects in your field, not just 1
  • This will allow you to grow close to the professor you're working with, which means you'll probably have a good person to go to for a strong recommendation letter.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)