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How to find research opportunities in high school

What is research | How to find research opportunities in high school

Research is typically for STEM fields, but there is also research done in the humanities. Getting involved in research can help you improve not only skills in your subject of interest, but also in analysis and writing.

Look online | How to find research opportunities in high school

Chances are that there is a STEM-related research high school opportunity that you can find online that your state offers. You’d first want to look online to see if there are any research opportunities that you can find online that you can apply for. An example of a research opportunity I found online for Chicago high schoolers is this one.

Email a university professor | How to find research opportunities in high school

Maybe the deadline for this research opportunity has passed or your area does not offer a research opportunity in your field of interest. So what do you do for how to find research opportunities in high school? This means that in order to find a research opportunity, you’re going to need to email a college professor. In order to find research opportunities for a professor in high school, you want to go to the faculty staff directory of the university you want to research for, and then you can start emailing professors that you find interesting asking if you can do research for them. You should read their professor bio and see what they are doing and what they are interested in so that you can write a tailored email about why you are interested in working for that professor. A tailored email is very important to get a response from that professor. They do not want to read a generic email or they won’t get back to you. Trust me, I did that originally and got no responses.

See the below picture for an example of a cold email I did. They didn’t have any research opportunities yet, but I was able to work on UChicago’s website.


how to find research opportunities in high school

Make a resume | How to find research opportunities in high school

Usually, research opportunities that you apply for online require you to submit a resume in your application. It is also best practice if you are emailing a person and asking them to do research for them, to include your resume as an attachment to your email. Here is a Word Document with my resume that you can edit straight on there and put your information. Generally, resumes contain your work experience, and because you’re in high school, you can also add your school extracurriculars. You should also add any awards you have. You also want to include your name, email, and phone number.


Why do Research in high school

High school students are increasingly exposed to research. It is a great way for students to deepen their interests and discover academic passions, not only in STEM fields. As the director of the Lumiere Research Scholar Program I have seen students develop a world-class level knowledge through independent research. Students have explored the strongest machine-learning algorithm to detect cell nuclei, new ways to detect ocean health at high seas, as well as comparisons between 19 th_century Impressionist art and 14 thcentury Japanese art. Students leave each project with a deep, unique understanding of the region they have explored.

Students who have done research in high school also benefit when applying to universities and colleges. A recent survey found that 99% of high school students used their research experience to apply for early admission. Students who did research were 26% more likely than the average applicant to be admitted to an Ivy League school for early action or early decision admission. Researchers must be careful not to establish a causal relationship between the two. It is true that top-ranked students are more likely to pursue research.

Related: How to Get Research Experience at High School

How do you find research opportunities

How can you find research opportunities if it is so important? High schools are not like colleges, which often offer opportunities for students to be involved in research. AP Research and the IB extended essay are notable exceptions. There are two main routes to research experience in high schools.

Programs for research

The first step is to search for a program that’s specifically designed for high school students. This could range from highly competitive national programs like MIT’s Research Science Institute, to programs that are limited to local populations. Online research programs have increased in popularity, offering students the chance to collaborate with researchers like . This list of 24 research programs is something students might consider.

Professors of cold-emailing and networking

You can also contact a college professor directly to start your research. This is a great way for you to connect with a mentor researcher and participate in a project. This is a great way to start if you have connections with faculty members via family or school. This is usually a sign that there is already some trust between you and the faculty member, which makes it more likely that the researcher will take you on. Cold-emailing faculty members is a good option if you don’t have personal connections. You will need to send an example email to show why you are interested in working with that faculty member and what your contribution to the project. This is an example email that I sent to a professor who did research on open offices.

Subject Helping you research–Rock Bridge High School junior

Hello Professor Smith,

Stephen is a Rock Bridge High School rising junior. I was intrigued by your recent research paper about open offices in Harvard Business Review and wanted to get in touch. Could you spare 15 minutes for me to talk about how I can help with your research?

A little background: I spent the last three years learning Python and data analysis. Because I understand that your research requires a lot of quantitative work I was curious if I could help with that or any other work.

Long-term, my goal is to be a researcher like you. I would love to have the chance to work alongside a researcher like you!

Yours, Stephen

It is important to reach out to as many PhD researchers and faculty members as possible. Show them the value that you can bring to their work. Notice how I mention how my Python skills could be useful in Professor Smith’s research. I also attempt to establish a connection with him by sharing my long-term goals to become a researcher. Email is all about being concise and clear. Follow up is key. Researchers are often busy so it is possible that they will not receive your first email. Do not be afraid to follow up with them. They will appreciate your persistence!

Related: How To Write a Professional Email

How to show your research experience in college applications

Let’s suppose you have done some research. Now what? What can you do to show potential schools your research? There are many ways to highlight your research in college applications. You can include it on your activities list or write about it in your supplemental essays. Our most recent survey found that Early Decision and Early Action students were 33% more likely than those who were not accepted to college. Your research should be viewed as one piece of a larger story about yourself and your interests. It should be related to your interests and other activities. One example is a student who worked with us on a project about astrophysics. She wrote an essay about her experience as a stocker in a local grocery shop and how some of the same astrophysics concepts relate to the movement of customers. It is important to connect your research to other proof points that reflect the type of student that you are.

Is it necessary to publish research to show off?

One question I get often is whether it is necessary to publish your research in order for colleges to notice. It is unlikely that any college student, or even high school student, will publish their research. You might consider high school selective research publications. Although it is a nice way to give legitimacy to your research, it’s not essential. It is important that your research is thorough and that you are able to clearly describe it in your applications.

It is not easy, but it is worthwhile. Research can be an exciting way to learn more about a topic if you are passionate about it. Some papers can take many years to complete. It will not be easy. If you are interested, you can join the growing number of high school students doing research!



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