What students say about the benefits of research...
♦ "A huge benefit is just getting to know what 'doing research' actually means. I heard about it all the time and it was always a vague thing because anybody you talk to says that you can do research on whatever interests you. During the first two years of college though, my classes were still so broad that I had no idea where to even begin. So ICRU helped me to find a good foundation with my mentor so that I could get a feel for what doing research is like."
♦ "I have learned many times more about my field and about what to expect from my career than what I learn in lectures and educational laboratories. It is nearly impossible to prepare a student perfectly for their future career out of a classroom. The best way to emulate that environment is to simply throw yourself into it. My undergraduate research experience has been and continues to be the single most beneficial element of my education at the University of Iowa."
♦ "You get a personal connection with a faculty member which is very good for letters of recommendation. I also think research benefits you academically. Normally in classes we are required to memorize facts and equations to use on the tests. Being involved in research has changed that. Research requires an individual to learn to problem solve. When experiments don't work or you get results you weren't expecting you don't just give up. You investigate why things didn't work and what you could do next time to get a better outcome."
♦ "My research experience has allowed me to learn more than I was able to in regular coursework, by giving me hands-on experience in designing the experiments, and simply learning and figuring things out as I went along. It has also stretched me in learning to be a self-starter and to manage my time better. I believe these personal lessons will be extremely valuable in anything I attempt in the future."
♦ "Where do I begin! Not only has research allowed me to learn about a subject I am very interested in on a more in-depth level, it has also taught me valuable critical thinking and problem solving skills (through experiment troubleshooting, thinking critically about data and their implications, making decisions about future experiments based on previous results). Research has also made me comfortable working as part of a team, because much of what I do is in collaboration with others".