As an undergraduate, there are so many reasons to learn about research and fellowships! Undergraduate students often play vital roles performing research with faculty mentors. At universities everywhere, students explore and expand their understanding of various topics, while developing skills, techniques, and methodologies for undertaking this critically important work. At a local level, research occurs in every field of study at the College. Are you curious about what research might look like for you? Are you interested in exploring a concentration area and learning new skills? Do you have a research question and are committed to exploring it? Whether you have never done research, are preparing a senior thesis, or are looking for postgraduate support to fund a personal or service project, there is information and support for you at URAF and through the numerous resources available to you in the libraries, departments, and research centers at Harvard.
Define Your Goals
The first step in the process is self-assessment. Consider the type of experience you wish to have. Do you want to conduct research? Attend graduate school? Serve a community in need? Immerse yourself in a foreign culture? While you probably have a network of people in your concentration area you can go to for advising, URAF staff members are also on hand if you want to have a conversation about your goals in the context of using the resources we manage.
Finding Suitable Research and Funding Opportunities
As you explore research and funding opportunities available through URAF, or elsewhere, pay close attention to the purpose of each opportunity and consider how it aligns with your goals. Be sure to sign up for our listserv to get notifications for info sessions that will expose you to the wide variety of funding opportunities.
Consult Knowledgeable Resources on Campus
Remember that we are here to help you identify opportunities related to your goals. In addition to the resources at 77 Dunster, every residential house on campus has at least one dedicated House Fellowships Tutor with whom you can discuss funding opportunities. They can also assist you with many aspects of the application process. Your professors, thesis advisers, and TFs are also excellent resources with whom you can discuss your academic goals, project plans, and even essay drafts you likely will write as part of an application.
Once you have decided which funding opportunities to apply for, and begin reviewing the application instructions, you will discover that each one establishes a set of required materials that vary from competition to competition. The application essay(s) you will write, along with the letters of recommendation provided by persons you choose to advocate for you, will ultimately will be most influential components in determining outcomes. In some cases, you may also be invited for an interview.