At the Office for Undergraduate Research, we define undergraduate research as mentored, self-directed work that enables individual students to explore a topic or issue of interest to them and communicate the results to others. Students have opportunities to explore innovative ideas to solve social problems, develop new technology and entrepreneurial opportunities, and engage in creative performance and expression. Undergraduate students in all majors have the ability to conduct research at UNC.
Why should my student do research?
Undergraduate research can help your student reach his/her goals. Share with your student that it can:
- Reinforce what you learn in class by getting hands-on experience
- Clarify your academic, career, and personal interest
- Earn credit toward your major and or receive money to do research
- Increase your GPA and stay on the path to graduate on time
- Prepare for a job or graduate or professional school
Undergraduate research can help your student stand out. It will help him/her:
- Be more well-rounded
- Do something innovative or unique
- Build relationships with faculty members at the top of their fields, who can write strong letters of recommendations for jobs, scholarships, and graduate and professional school
- Be a stronger candidate for internships, fellowships, and summer research experiences while in college
- Be better prepared to compete for national and international scholarships
It’s a way for your student to invest in her/himself. Undergraduate research can help students:
- Develop skills, knowledge, and ability:
- Critical thinking
- Intellectual independence
- Team skills
How can I encourage my student to do research?
Suggest your student review materials about other students’ research experiences. This will help him/her see the wide variety of research experiences that are possible at Carolina.
Review our Getting Started advice with your student and encourage her/him to take some of these steps.
Ask your student to:
- Meet with an OUR Ambassador or Liaison to get advice on how to begin
- Visit OUR’s Research Opportunities Database to explore possible research placements
- Plan to apply for summer research funding to conduct your own research project
- Attend the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research (and know that families are welcome as well!)
Encourage your student to meet with professors in academic disciplines in which she or he is interested to learn more about their research projects. Students can be hesitant to contact faculty members they don’t know, but often just witnessing the excitement and passion professors have for their work is a catalyst for students to seek out research opportunities. Directors of Undergraduate Studies can also be valuable resources for your student to contact.