The PremedHQ Guide


How to Find Research Opportunities in High School

How to Find Research Opportunities

Getting involved in research is an excellent way to explore your interest in science and medicine. Whether you are examining electrical activity in neurons or how climate change affects the human body, participating in research will understand the scientific process and hone your analytical skills. Through research, you will gain important firsthand experience that will ultimately make you an informed BS/MD applicant and help you determine why medicine is the path you wish to take. Here are some ways you can find research opportunities:


Apply to Summer Research Programs

Many universities host internships and programs for high-school students to get involved in research over the summer. Universities like Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and Boston University all have excellent summer programs for high-school juniors and seniors. Look into programs at your local universities as well as residential summer programs around the country. Some programs, such as the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) and the Research Science Institute at MIT (RSI), can be highly competitive, so it can be beneficial to get started on your applications early and apply broadly.


Contact Faculty at Local Universities

Another great way to find research opportunities is to reach out to professors at local universities and inquire about any open lab positions. First, think about which scientific field excites you. Whether you are passionate about neuroscience or marine biology, look into departments that best align with research interests. Then, find professors who are conducting research that seems interesting to you. Reach out to them and explain why you would like to work with them. Note that it is very likely many of these researchers get multiple requests from ambitious students just like you. You want to do your best to concisely demonstrate that you have read up on their research in order to convey that their research in particular truly intrigues you. This added personal touch will convince the researcher that you have actually given their work more than just a surface-level consideration and that your email was not sent out to multiple faculty members in hopes of landing in any given lab. Lastly, it is also helpful to meet with the researcher in person and determine whether the lab is a good fit for you.


Reach Out to Local Hospitals & Businesses

Many hospitals have physicians involved in clinical research initiatives and research projects dedicated to improving diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Look into the hospitals in your community to find out about such initiatives and figure out how you can get involved. Hospitals like those that are part of the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System are a great place to look. Local businesses, including biotechnology startups and healthcare management companies, may have fantastic opportunities for high-school interns as well. Just try to keep an eye out for open positions and programs in your area and be perseverant. Do not feel discouraged if you do not receive a response right away. You will have better chances of finding research opportunities if you are open-minded and start planning early. Good luck!