Beating the College Competition: 3 Ways to Get Research Experience in High School

By Michaela April 21, 2021 BS/MD Admissions Consulting College Application Press Summer Plans

As colleges become increasingly more competitive, students are tasked with finding unique ways to stand out from the crowd of applicants. The top applicants know that adding hands-on research is one of the best ways to push an application to the next level. Thankfully, adding research to you resume isn’t impossible. In fact, there are multiple ways to add valuable research to your resume and show hands-on experience in your chosen field, especially if you are pursuing a career in STEM.   

High School Research Pathways

Students should first look at what their high school offers; some schools have a research class like the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone program, which consists of two courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. Students will be mentored on completing research, writing a thesis paper, and making a presentation. 

If this AP course isn’t available to students, they can also participate in science fairs or ask a high school teacher to guide them through an independent research project. 

Research With A College Professor

Students might want to work with an experienced mentor like a college professor who can lead them through the research process, connect the student with resources, and help analyze data. 

To find a college professor willing to assist, students can reach out to faculty members who have similar research interests. In the email, they should include a resume to help the professor know them better and their interests.  

Not all professors have time and space for a high school student to come into their lab to learn. Students should be prepared to email multiple faculty members and follow up to secure a position. Being flexible and willing to do whatever it takes in the lab can also help high schoolers gain hands-on research experience. 

There are three main paths for high school students to add research to their resume before applying to college. Read our full article on American Kahani to explore all your research options.