Hi, I am a sophomore (undergrad), and I am having problems finding research opportunities. Any advice on how to be involved with research as an undergrad so I can put it on my application to med school to show that I have been involved in research?
I recently got an opportunity so I'll give you some advice based on my own experience trying to find one.
Here are some options:
1. Talk to your previous professors that you've taken and done well in their class to see if they have any opportunities available.
2. This method is a bit harder, but cold emailing is another option. Go to your school website and look for professors/faculty page in the department of research you're interested in (Ex: Biology department, chemistry, psych, etc.) . Browse through the names and look to see if they have any lab profile or website.
3. This is the method I used with success. Look up to see if your university has summer research programs or internship opportunities. Most likely you'll see a list of previous faculty that served as mentors for students in these programs. So they will be more likely taking on students. They should also have lab profiles you can look up.
Also some other tips:
-Make sure before you contact anyone that you at least familiarize yourself with what they are researching and the goals of the lab are.
-Read their most recent 1-2 publications enough so that you get the main idea of what they're doing.
-Express your interest in their research and why you want to pursue research when you reach out to them. They'll be more likely to take you on if you do so.
-Also make sure you're doing research for the right reasons. If you're just testing the waters out to see if you like it, great! Don't just do it to check a box off of your list. It isn't a requirement for all schools unless you are aiming for the top research heavy schools.
I had an issue with a professor, wound up in the dean of Chemistry's office. From there she recognized me and would always stop and make small talk. Eventually she told me about some research she was trying to get started and knew that research was good for pre-meds.
TL;DR, bi+ch about your professors.
In all honesty, most kids would do really well in a class on the first few tests. You sit up front and ask questions. Go to office hours and ask questions. It sounds manipulative, and I won't tell you that it's not. But, it's also relationship building. And if you're serious about being a doctor, Networking is life. Once they know you as Billy who always sits up front and asks questions--you can inquire about those sorts of things, and they'll tell you about what they have or that Professor X has some things they're looking for help with.
My research was a semester's worth that wound up being published by someone else without my name on it 1 year into my medical school career. I got in. I did well. If you find it great, if you don't, you'll probably be fine.
jm is right about relationship building. My research opportunities came from talking to my professors in my major and professors in smaller advanced-level classes in related majors. It's not always kissing ass, just be interested in people and ideas. It's easier if you're in a smaller major with fewer med students.
All of the previous posts are true. However, I would like to add that maybe you should take it one step further and try to land a research position in something that is somewhat related - or broad enough to include - what you might want to specialize in as a physician. Create your career trajectory early on, it adds more value to your CV than publishing some bs article in a bs journal that has nothing related to what you're interested in.