High School Lab Research

<p>Hello everybody!</p>

<p>Whenever I look at some of the really prestigious college admissions threads (i.e. Ivies, top universities), a lot of people have summer activities/ECs like "scientific lab research" or "research at local universities". How do these people go about doing this? I've emailed a lot of professors, but they tend to ignore me, or say that I'm too young. Is it family connections? Nobody I know is even remotely related to the scientific fields, so I have no way of gaining means of doing lab research. Any advice?</p>


<p>A lot is a misunderstood idea. Certainly there are people who have done lab research. A lot of this could be for competitions such as ISEF and Siemens. Also, professors aren't really going to listen to a kid's desires unless you really show that you have talent.</p>

<p>Think about it this way. Why would a professor want you, when he has a whole pool of graduate (even undergraduate) students to pick from who knows the material waayy better than you do?</p>

<p>Unless your teacher has some connections with professors that do research, I doubt you'll be able to convince a college prof to take you, some random kid, in his research, especially given only a high school background.</p>

<p>That being said, some schools (like UC Irvine) sponsor a summer program for high schoolers where they can do research on various scientific fields. I think that's what you should look at.</p>

<p>thrill3rnit3: That was exactly what I thought... which confused me as to why so many CCers had lab research, university research, etc. listed down as an EC.</p>

<p>However, if there HAS been anybody on here who has participated in lab research... what exactly did you do anyways? Did you need to have a strong grasp on the project material? I don't understand how high schoolers are able to assist in university lab research if, well, they're only in high school. However, it seems rather commonplace across the forum, even if it IS for Siemens/Intel.</p>

<p>I'm in the Philadelphia area and I have the same inquiry about research! Biology this last year really set off a spark of interest in me (a person with a predilection with humanities) and I really would like to expand as much as possible into this scientific area. I really would like to know if such programs like the UC Irvine program exist in this area :)</p>

<p>my mistake, it is not UC Irvine that offers it, it's UC Santa Barbara.</p>

<p>look at some of the less-prestigious universities in your area. i'm doing a research program this summer at a not-very-well-known university- these places might like to attract some smart high schoolers from the area.</p>

<p>A lot of people did research as part of their summer programs. For example, I have a friend (who's also attending MIT) that did research as part of SSP. He submitted it to ISEF and counted it as lab research.</p>

<p>This shouldn't be confused with independent lab research, which is usually done on your own under the guidance of a mentor (as opposed to the example, which was a group project headed by several moderators).</p>

<p>My school has a research program and the director has a lot of connections and a lot of people apply to research programs for HS students as well.</p>

<p>If you have a CV that can impress the professor, obtaining research positions is not extremely difficult. Talk to teachers, your college friends, your families friends, and try to look for some recommendations as to which professors to approach. If that doesn't work out, you can always shotgun it and just email every professor in the department you're interested in, :P.</p>

<p>Another approach that a friend took was based around elucidating his genuine passion and interest for the field to the professor. He read some of the professor's papers and prior research, and then emailed with questions regarding the paper. In this way, you can build a relationship with the professor over a month or two. Then, when summer approaches, you're in a good position to ask for a NON-PAID internship. Don't expect to be paid...the prof is doing a service to you, lol.</p>

<p>Good luck ! (It's probably too late to start researching for this year though. Most summer interns start in May, or latest, by the beginning of June.)</p>

<p>@Vaeliant: Wow... thanks for the great advice. :) Do you know what high schoolers actually DO in a college lab research setting? I mean... how much can they really contribute? That aspect always confused me.</p>

<p>Talked to a friend's parent who is in the administrative portion of the biology department at a local university... Recommended me to a professor she knew quite well! You were right, it WAS too late to start... But I think it had more to do with the fact that there were already 3 other high schoolers there (eep, somebody beat me to it!) However, he promised me something around August, so that's better than nothing. ;p </p>

<p>Since I'm just so determined to find something NOW, I went ahead and emailed at least 4 other professors in the bio department. Hopefully they haven't congregated together to discuss this, because I have been largely ignored thus far. </p>

<p>Good luck to anybody else seeking lab research positions. It's definitely not impossible, I suppose... Hopefully I will be able to find something to do by the beginning of the school year to pursue.</p>

<p>My school has a special class dedicated to competitions like Intel and Siemens. It is required that we find a mentor at a research institute. It's very very hard to get placed (took me about 100+ emails), but I did finally get placed at Mt. Sinai. Other kids go to places like Columbia, NYU, etc.
The trick is to sound very professional in your email/request to your potential mentor. Our teacher had to walk us through how to write our emails in a certain way so that our emails might possibly be even read in the first place.</p>

<p>Then, we have to go about doing a research project. Mostly, you work together with your mentor (which is what I'm doing now).</p>