Participating in research experiences as an undergraduate has multiple immediate and future benefits. Research involvement can help you in the following ways:

A strong mentoring relationship with faculty: Undergraduate research, and an Honors Undergraduate Thesis in particular, takes place under the direct supervision of faculty members. As you carry out research under their mentorship, you will develop a close working relationship with them (and other members of their research team, if applicable). When the time comes, they can provide detailed and specific letters of recommendation for graduate and professional programs, as well as connect you to other opportunities (e.g. academic conferences) and a broader network of scholars in your field.

Graduate and professional school preparation: Are you planning to attend, or thinking about, graduate or professional school? Participating in research as an undergraduate is excellent preparation for what you will be doing in such programs and will strengthen your applications. Writing an Honors Undergraduate Thesis, in particular, can be useful, as it demonstrates not only research skills, but associated time management and problem-solving skills. The thesis itself can also be provided as writing sample if requested by a graduate program, as well.

Career preparation: If you are considering a career as a scientist, researcher or academic, then you may want to try your hand at research while still an undergraduate! Many students fine-tune their career plans and gain disciplinary/ technical skills, build up their professional abilities and add valuable experience to their resumes by participating in research. In fact, in today’s knowledge economy, most professions require some level of research skills, and participation in undergraduate research enables you to develop and demonstrate proficiency to potential employers.

Transferable skills: Participating in research is a great way to develop related skills that are in high demand by employers: written and oral communication skills, critical thinking, creativity, the ability to research, analyze and interpret information, and intellectual independence. These qualities will serve you well throughout your life, no matter what field you choose and your career trajectory looks like.

A richer academic experience: Engagement in research and writing an Honors Thesis can help you become a better writer, deeper thinker, and more active learner; process and retain information more effectively; and be more adept at independent projects.

Personal Development: Research often involves unforeseen obstacles that require those engaged in it to find solutions quickly. As you grapple with and resolve unexpected issues that arise in research, you will develop greater resilience, become more independent and confident and, at the end of the journey, feel a sense of accomplishment at what you achieved.

Motivated and talented peers: For those who enter the Burnett Honors College through the Honors Undergraduate Thesis program, you have the opportunity to join a community of high-achieving and ambitious young people who will provide an environment that will encourage and empower you to reach your highest potential. All social and extra-curricular events (workshops, career/ internship fairs, graduate school recruitment) are open to all our students.