8 months ago
Admissions Advice

How to get a research opportunity?

I'm (HS Junior) planning to search a research opportunity this summer as it would both teach me more about the major I'm interested in (Cognitive Science, Psychology) and look good on my application. I was planning to search my dream schools' departments for professors to contact about a research opportunity (+ a good rec letter) but I have no idea how to proceed. I found a professor who is Turkish, as I am, and I've been wanting to contact her but I wanted to read her various researches to show how genuine I am about this opportunity. How should I approach this situation? I know that most professors decline your proposal so you have to contact a lot of them but if I have to read their works before contacting them, that task will take a lot of time and I may be late. How do I show genuine interest in their works but also save myself time? Are there any email templates I can use? Can someone advise me on this topic please? I really have no idea. Thanks in advance.


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
8 months ago

Hey, I just went through a similar process for biochemistry research. Personally, I would send a short email expressing your interest in their work and asking to MEET, either virtually or in-person (whatever you're able to do). Before sending these emails, all you really need is a cursory understanding of their work to know whether or not you're interested in it. If they want to/are able to take on a student researcher, they'll be open to a meeting. As you acknowledged, you won't land a meeting with many. I emailed 12-14 professors and got 2 (maybe 3) meetings. Before these meetings is when you can learn in-depth about their work and read through their papers.

In terms of still being able to show genuine interest, you don't have to get super deep into it in the emails. Just enough to show you are interested, maybe offer your curiosities/thoughts on the subject. DO NOT act like you know everything, or even close to as much as them.

In terms of templates, I'd just look up "how to cold-email professors" and the first few are online guides from really good research universities, so go with what you think is best.

8 months ago

Hi! I actually also wondered this but I think the main thing is to sound passionate. I got a research position with a UCLA grad school medical professor over the summer without a lot of experience by emailing him and saying my passions, prospective, etc.

I would also recommend using any contacts that you might have. For example, I also included that my sister did research with him last year (she got a research with him because her friend recommended her, whose parents were friends with the researcher lol).

Overall, while there is no certain way to get a research position, just sound open and curious. Good luck!


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