Research is a crucial first step if you are considering even the possibility of attending graduate school since research experience is a critical component in successful applications. Even if you are not considering a graduate education, it is an excellent opportunity to become more engaged in your field and interact with faculty members. Get involved in research – multiple research experiences if possible – before your senior year. There are many programs that can provide you with funding for summer research, including programs at your institution. Deadlines for many of these programs are in February, so start your search early.
Stanford Undergraduate Summer Research Early Identification Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Numerous other opportunities for summer research at Stanford University can be found here.
Every institution has different resources for involving undergraduates in research.
Even if your institution does not have a formal program of undergraduate research, you can get involved.
Talk to a faculty member whose class you enjoyed about doing directed reading or an independent research project during the school year.
There are many programs that invite undergraduates from across the country to participate in summer research opportunities (jus. Explore universities that you are considering for graduate studies – there is a good chance that they also sponsor an undergraduate summer research program.
The Leadership Alliance (all fields – allows you to apply to up to three programs with a single application)
• The National Science Foundation sponsors hundreds of Research Experience For Undergraduates (REU) programs at universities across the country. You can find a list here, sortable by state and field of interest: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp