Additional Resources

For Undergraduates

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How to Find a Lab

Lab opportunities are everywhere at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. You could find many labs searching for students just by opening your email! If you are interested in finding a lab to join, here are some tips.

There are multiple ways to find a lab. The most personal experience would be to see if a professor that you know has any opportunities; they may have their own lab or they may be recruiting for a different professor’s lab. This method for finding a research lab gives you an edge because the professor knows your face, and knows what you are capable of. If you are having no luck finding a lab this way, there is always the internet. UW has a job page where different lab jobs and internships are listed. There are a plethora of opportunities that you cannot possibly miss out, just search your area of interest.

After you have chosen a lab to apply for, the fun part begins. Resumes and interviews. In terms of resumes, there are resources like the UW Writing center that will review your resume and cover letter. It is an under-utilized resource. Then, labs will usually have their own website. I would recommend looking at the lab’s webpage  and reading about the team you want to join. You want to show specific interest in the research, instead of appearing desperate for any possible research opportunity.

 

How to Apply for Scholarships

When it comes to scholarships, there is a fantasy versus reality perception. We would all love to find enough scholarships to come out of college debt-free. Is this a reality? Let’s try to make it so. Here are some tips for finding scholarships. 

  1. General application– when you apply for college, most colleges now have a general scholarship form that will act as an application for all scholarships you qualify for. This makes the process more efficient.
  2. Online scholarship websites– If you search online, there are numerous websites that list different scholarship opportunities. It is important to remember that you are competing against a large audience, so it may be difficult to qualify, but if you want to try the opportunity is there. Also, if you have to work for the scholarship, like writing an essay, you have a better success rate than just randomly being selected.
  3. Specific is better– Based on the second point, you have a better chance of qualifying for a scholarship if your competition is a smaller pool. One tip I would have is to check with your work or campus groups that you are with. Getting more connections increases your chance of finding the smaller scholarships that fit your personality and are not being sought out by everyone.
  4. Pay now, work later– Some job programs offer scholarships to students who pledge to work for them once they have their degree. The most common example would be the ROTC, although I have also heard of food science majors getting a similar opportunity. This is not a decision that should be handled lightly, but if it is what you are interested in it doesn’t hurt to also be debt-free.

For High School Students

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How to Prepare for College

Choosing the Correct College for Your Needs

Choosing the right university is completely subjective to your own needs, which makes it a difficult task. However, here are three points to keep in mind when you are choosing your dream school.

  1. Your subject of interest-Schools are not all equal when looking at a program of interest. Different schools specialize in different programs. If you are decided in your major, then one quick search on the best schools for your program can help you narrow your choices. This can be in whatever parameters you choose: are you looking for the best nursing program in your state? Country? Once you have ideas about possible schools, further research their programs; the program will most likely have their own webpage specific to the school that further talks about their accolades. This idea extends past majors to sports and whatever other interests you want to continue through college.
  2. Price– One of the biggest questions students have is how to balance the thrill of a bigger college with the expense of a smaller one. This is completely a matter of personal interest. Do you want “the full college experience” on a larger campus? Is it worth the extra money you will be paying? For some people the answer is yes and for others it is no. Attending a more expensive school has more obvious perks, and then some more subtle ones as well. For example, if your career choice is competitive then having a degree from a more recognized school in the program could help your cause. If your field of interest is less competitive, then saving that extra money could definitely be the way to go. Or maybe you are undecided. Some students choose to attend a smaller school for their pre-requisites and then transfer to a larger college once they have decided on their major. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that if you are looking at a school, don’t let price immediately eliminate the school as an option. I would recommend applying for the school and filling out a general scholarship form, along with financial aid. The school will give you an estimate on how much financial help you will get from them, and this number could really surprise you. Larger schools may cost more, but they also are able to give out more financial aid, so it is better to go for it and apply to the school if you are interested.
  3. Location/atmosphere- When you are choosing a college, the location and atmosphere really matter. I would argue that it is the most important point. You want to choose a college that will set you up for success, which can be dependent on environment. First, how far away is the campus from your home? If you are more adventurous and need some space from your parents then moving further away could be the optimal option for you. In the other scenario, if you are very close to your family and want to continuously visit, then finding the perfect campus would include its close proximity to home. Other than location, the atmosphere is just as important. Make sure the environment you plan on living in is comfortable. I would highly recommend going on a campus visit before attending the college; you can get a sense of comfort real fast with the right university. In the end, you are going to be living here for four years and if the place leaves you in a negative or uncomfortable mindset, it is not the college for you.