Making the most of your undergraduate education
- I don’t meet the McNair eligibility requirements?
- I’m not interested in going to graduate school OR I’m interested in pursuing a professional degree?
- I’m not able to commit to the McNair programming timeline?
- I’m a senior who’s graduating in the Spring?
The TRIO McNair Scholars Program is not the only resource available to students interested in research and/or graduate education. If McNair is not the right fit for you, there are other options, but it’s important to be intentional in deciding which opportunities to pursue and getting the most out of your undergraduate experience.
Keep your grades up, especially in your major-level coursework. Address challenging classes early on — develop a study plan, form a study group, utilize faculty office hours, visit the Writing Center and the Academic Skills office. The higher your GPA is, the more competitive you are as an applicant for graduate programs, research opportunities, scholarships/fellowships, internships, etc.
Make a point of getting to know your professors. Meet with them during office hours. Schedule “informational interviews” to learn more about their research interests and opportunities to get involved. Ask where they went to graduate school and what specific experiences, skill sets, and qualifications helped them succeed.
Apply for a research grant through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity (URGO).
- URGO offers part-time academic year funding as well as full- and part-time summer funding.
- The summer research application typically opens in November. Many Augsburg faculty only have the capacity to mentor 1-2 students per summer, so be mindful of the application timeline and approach faculty early on.
Apply for an off-campus research experience (REU).
- Many universities and organizations host summer undergraduate research programs. Most offer participants a competitive research stipend and some provide room and board and travel compensation. Off-campus programs can provide access to specialized research areas that may not be available at Augsburg, as well as the chance to work under top scientists and academics at nationally-recognized research institutions.
- If you’re not sure how or where to start searching for REUs, check out URGO’s presentation on off-campus research and/or browse their list of databases.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s REU database is an excellent resource for STEM majors.
Explore internships, work study, and job placement opportunities.
- Visit the Strommen Center for assistance with career exploration, identifying and applying for internships, writing a strong resume and cover letter, preparing for an interview, and other areas of professional development.
Get involved on campus and within the community. Join a student organization. Apply for leadership positions.
Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity (URGO)
Adapted from materials published by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (last updated 10.11.23)