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Becoming a McNair Scholar!

It is never too early to get started preparing to become a potential scholar!

Most students coming to UWO have given little thought to idea of going to graduate school. This is particularly true of first-generation students, who do not have anyone in their immediate family who has attained a bachelor’s degree. For this reason, we urge students interested in learning more about graduate school and research to begin cultivating the “graduate school” conversation.

There is no better way to get started than by meeting with your favorite professors during their office hours to let them know you are considering graduate school and to inquire about opportunities to get involved in research, whether it is lab work, data collecting/entry, or archival digging. Asking questions and getting engaged in research will give you a chance to see what goes on behind the scene in academia. What is more it will help you develop a strong working relationship with faculty members who could potentially write you strong recommendations for graduate school down the road. In short, deciding to go to graduate is not something one just does on a whim. Students who begin thinking about graduate school early in their undergraduate schooling are far more likely to take the steps necessary to prepare for post-baccalaureate studies.

We also strongly encourage potential scholars set up their first meeting with McNair staff as early in their undergraduate studies as possible. While students cannot partake in the paid McNair Summer Research Internship until they have earned at least 60 credit hours, potential scholars can and, in most cases, should apply well before their junior year. Interested students are also welcome to participate in informational sessions and McNair-related activities. These events provide an introduction to the program and better idea as to what the required commitment is, should you decide to apply. Just as importantly, early involvement in McNair provides an opportunity for you to build a strong relationship with the McNair staff, who work to facilitate the Summer Research Internship, something that takes a great deal of planning and forethought. Early involvement can also lead to the possibility for you to engage in two summers of research, one here at the UWO, the second either here or at another institution, increasing your chances of not only getting into graduate school, but also receiving funding.

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