Dec 29

How to Start Your High School Research

Before we get started, we simply want to say that this knowledge isn’t just for science-minded pupils. Any field, including engineering, history, the arts, and political science, can do research by simply seeking out new patterns, concepts, or phenomena. Although this may be encouraging for many of our readers, the subject of how to engage in research—especially as a high school student—remains.

There are two main avenues high school students might take to find research opportunities. You can either apply to a specific research program or get in touch with academic institution faculty and/or researchers on your own.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Start your high school research with a free consultation now!

Research Initiatives:

Summer research and volunteer programs for high school students have been established by numerous universities, think tanks, and academic institutions. For programs starting in June of a given year, these programs frequently require applications to be submitted by January or February. The program managers will use the essays and recommendations you provide in your applications to place you with a specific research faculty when you are accepted. For students interested in mathematics, science, and computer science, MIT hosts the RSI program. For those interested in the biological sciences, Stanford hosts SIMR. For students interested in political science, Rice University hosts a program through the Baker Institute.

Making Your Own Way:

When looking for research opportunities on your own, you have more flexibility and freedom to select which professor you work with than in the established programs mentioned above. Here is a strategy you can use:

    1. Identify the research areas that interest you. We advise you to keep your interests fairly broad (e.g. Renaissance literature or synthetic biology)
    2. Determine the institutions that support the fields you mentioned above. You can contact organizations like colleges, medical facilities, think tanks, and government agencies, as well as businesses, to name a few.
    3. Create a generic cover letter addressed to the head of a lab or research group with placeholder sentences that enable you to fill in details about the precise research that a given group conducts (for example, “Your research on _____ intrigues me because ______, and I would love to contribute to _____ project”).
    4. Make sure to update your CV/Resume and include your credentials as well as any applicable schooling or prior experiences.
    5. Cast a wide net by emailing labs and researchers! Considering how busy researchers are and the requests they receive from graduate and college students as well, high school student might not be their top priority. Include your resume and a cover letter that is specifically geared to your area of research. In the email, give a brief introduction outlining your interest in the industry and your educational background.
        1. It can often be helpful to emphasize that you’re willing to work voluntarily (or, in other words, free of charge/uncompensated)!
        2. Email as many researchers as you can because high school students typically have a low yield rate (again, researchers are very busy)
        3. You can send a follow-up email by replying to your initial email if you have not heard anything after two weeks. Send emails to other labs if they don’t respond if you keep trying.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Start your high school research with a free consultation now!

The following elements can assist you to make a decision if you receive offers from several labs or research groups:

  1. Interesting Project: Discuss the project you will be working on with the researcher to ensure that it is one that interests you and to which you can fully commit. You want to give your all because the researcher took a chance on you by giving you the position!
  2. Interpersonal Dynamic: Go meet the lab and research team members, and make sure you click with them. Keep in mind that you will require their assistance, and the more inquiries you make, the better your work will be. It won’t be a good learning experience for you if you don’t feel at ease in the lab, and your work may suffer as a result.
  3. Funding and Publication Record: Research grants and publication records are frequently made public information that can be accessed in online databases. Verify whether the lab or research team publishes in reputable journals because this speaks to the caliber of the work they produce. Make sure the lab is adequately funded as well, as this can affect the atmosphere at work and the resources you will have available to you.


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