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What FSU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Is Really Like

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to get hands-on experience within your field? Have you ever considered being a part of a research project? The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at FSU might be the program for you!

Run by FSU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement (CRE), UROP is a flexible and engaging community that provides first-year and second-year students with the resources to get involved with research projects at FSU. With the application for the 2024-2025 year opening up, let me be your personal advisor and spill the tea on everything you need to know about the program, from the good to the bad. 

Why should you join UROP?

I would highly recommend joining UROP. It provides you with practical experience in a diverse variety of fields. Whether that be something in your current field or another field you are interested in, this is the perfect way to immerse yourself in your studies. You can also build your range of skills. From research tasks to collaborative efforts, there’s a lot you’ll be learning in this program. 

With FSU’s involvement in research, it’s worth trying out! During this program, I found out that I love research more than I originally thought, and I could see myself doing this as my future career.

Joining a Research Project

The first thing you will do for UROP is join a research group. This is a step-by-step process that UROP will guide you through. From attending interest meetings to interviews, you will be able to gain personal experience from research mentors who are seeking mentees. There are hundreds of options to pick from, and you’re not limited to your field you study. You can pick any project!

In my opinion, this is the hardest part of the entire program. It’s important to ensure that you’re picking the right project for you and only join a project that you’re actually interested in. You’ll be in this group for the whole year, so really make it count! 

When deciding if you should join UROP, it’s important to know that research projects are going to take time and dedication. The amount of time depends on the project, but usually, mentors are pretty flexible. A lot of the tasks you’ll be doing are introductory research tasks such as literature reviews, data analysis, and coding. They’re pretty easy to learn, and your research mentor will be there to guide you. Plus, these skills are great to have! 

the colloquium

UROP requires that every participant attend a bi-weekly colloquium course that is taught by previous UROP students (an opportunity you can gain from the program). If you’re asked into the program, they’ll send you a list of colloquium meeting times and you get to rank which ones work best for you. The course is one credit and isn’t very taxing in terms of workload. The main purpose of it is to ensure that you’re keeping up with the program (literally). 

At first, the colloquium wasn’t my favorite, but as the year progressed, I found myself really appreciating it. Being able to connect with the other undergraduate students in the course was helpful as everyone is going through this for the first time together. When I was clueless, at least someone else was too.

That being said, there are aspects of the colloquium that definitely won’t work for some people. One of the most important parts of the colloquium is making sure that you’ll actually go. You get one excused absence, and while this might sound intimidating, don’t let it draw you away from the program. Throughout my year in UROP, I only missed one class (unexcused), and all I had to do to make up the absence was one assignment.

Lastly, the colloquium is year-long. This is something you should take into consideration when you’re applying. When applying for spring courses, UROP makes it easy and allows you to change meeting times if you need to. The course being year-round was super beneficial for me, but it isn’t for everyone, so just make sure you know what you’re getting into!

the symposium

After a long year of research, you’ll finally make it to the Undergraduate Research Symposium. This is an event where you, alone or with your research team, will get the chance to make a research poster and present it! When I first applied to UROP, this was the part I was most nervous about, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the program.

During the spring semester, you’ll begin to create a poster based on the research you conducted. At the symposium, you’ll be there for around an hour presenting your research to anyone interested! Despite having to dress business casual, the event itself is super casual and pretty chill (they also have snacks). It can be nerve-wracking to have to publicly speak, but no one is expecting you to be an expert. And besides, at this point in the program, you’ll be pretty experienced with your research. It also looks really good on your resume. 

If after reading this, you’re still interested in applying (I really hope you are!), the application deadline is May 1 for incoming and first-year students or July 1 for transfer students. I hope to see you at the next Undergraduate Research Symposium!

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Anna Strickland is a Staff Writer for the Her Campus FSU chapter. Beyond Her Campus, she is a sophomore studying Psychology at Florida State University. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, journaling, going on walks, listening to music and podcasts, driving, and exploring! She is super excited to be a part of Her Campus!