Who's Your Mentor? 4 Ways to Make a Perfect Match
Posted on February 5, 2017 by
From Student Opportunity Center
Who's Your Mentor? Four Ways to Make the Perfect Match!
Identifying a Mentor:
Identifying the correct mentor is crucial for engaging in a fulfilling research experience. ScholarBridge will be an indispensable tool for this stage in the process.
What makes a good mentor, and how will you know when you have found someone to consider for such a role? What does having a mentor offer?
- Access to a research team or lab
- Help understanding difficult concepts in your field of study
- Technical expertise for research and experiment design
- Access to journals and places to publish your findings
Develop your criteria
What do you hope to gain from your mentor? Do you wish to work directly for him/her as a research assistant, or are you looking for more general career and academic guidance?
Who can you reach out to as a potential mentor?
A good first place to start is to consider professors that taught a class that you were successful in. Reach out to these professors first.
Do not be discouraged if your professors are unavailable to mentor you. Ask if they have any colleagues who you could speak with.
Use the ScholarBridge database where different faculty members will display their interest in mentoring students. Faculty that are actively seeking undergraduates can be filtered directly on the search page.
Market yourself as a great candidate
What do you have to offer your mentor as a researcher?
Understand your skills and the needs of your potential mentor. Familiarize yourself with the role you are applying for.
Demonstrate your knowledge of the professor’s work. This will show that you are able to do appropriate prep-work before asking for a meeting.
Published works are a good place to start. Briefly reading your mentor’s work is sure to impress them and demonstrate your seriousness as an applicant.
Be somewhat insistent in your outreach
Professors and researchers are extremely busy; don’t be disappointed if your initial emails don’t solicit a response. By reaching out to a wide pool of researchers, you will increase your chances of finding an enthusiastic mentor. Sending a follow up note is acceptable so long as it is polite!
National Science Foundation research deadlines fast approaching!
Each year, the National Science Foundation offers 400-700+ fully funded summer research programs for undergraduates. You read that right: Fully. Funded.
A summer-long research experience with the National Science Foundation includes flight, room and board, and a stipend. The majority (90%) of these deadline are between February 15-March 15, so apply now!
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