Everything You Need To Know About UROP

3RD YEAR MSCI PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY AND PRACTICE STUDENT, KATE, EXPLAINS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UROP, APPLICATION TIPS AND HER EXPERIENCE DOING UROP…

UROP is the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme. The deadline is the 29th March, so get applying quick it will be worth it…

Things to know:

  • The project is 6 weeks long, starting from a date which is agreed by you and your supervisor.
  • The bursary is £1,320 (£220/week) – You get paid at the end of your 4th week or the end of July depending on what is sooner. Oh also this money is TAX FREE!
  • You do not need to apply for a vacancy that is in your department. This may be your opportunity to learn about a new field.
  • You need to be in your MIDDLE years of your UNDERGRADUATE study
  • You gain the opportunity to learn about real research which looks great on your CV and definitely gives you something to talk about at interviews.
  • This will be formally acknowledged in your diploma transcript.
  • You will be supported in creating your poster for the presentation in November where all your hard work is evaluated and a best in category is chosen.
  • Those who are selected will be invited to the British Conference in Undergraduate Research and the two overall winners can present a Poster in Parliament.

 

Application Tips:

  • All the placement choices are currently on the UROP website.
  • Read each of the requirements carefully; make sure you meet them and have a genuine interest in the research area. This is 6 weeks of your summer, make sure it is something you really want to do.
  • Go to a UROP Information Session – they will give you some valuable information and you get a free pen! The last session is 21st March 1pm-2pm so sign up at My Jobs online.
    Check out the Student Stories post by Graham which talks all about the Information session.
  • Take time working out what you want to apply for and how many as you will have to usually submit a CV, write a cover letter and if successful go for an interview. Make sure you still have time for your academic work and you’re not applying for tonnes of vacancies.
  • Each placement may have slightly different application processes, so make sure you read the vacancies carefully.
  • Use the support provided by the Careers Centre before and after you have completed the project.
  • Check out the Essentials page for everything you need: Student Essentials

 

My experience:

I have always wanted to get some more experience working within a research field, especially before starting my dissertation. I came across UROP and thought it was a great idea and so I went to the information session to find out more. I did this with friends so it was really enjoyable and also contributed 1 hour towards my RED award.

After deciding on four vacancies to apply for I worked out which ones were due first if they had different deadlines. The ones I didn’t get an interview for gave me feedback such as “your CV and cover letter doesn’t give me enough information about your academic experience on your course” and others were due to other people just having more relevant experience. So I would say make sure you really sell yourself and use the support given by the Careers team to ensure your CV and cover letter are up to scratch..

My project was on whether a special font helps children with dyslexia read more fluently.

I was invited to interview for the vacancy I went for. Make sure you research further into the vacancy brief, the supervisor and come up with some questions before hand. Basically be prepared! I found out later that afternoon that I had got the vacancy if I wanted it. Be aware that the supervisors tend to want to know if you want it straight away. This proves difficult if you have applied for other placements and haven’t had the interview yet, so just be aware of this!

Before I started this placement I was worried because I applied to an Education Department when I was a psychology student- so a completely different department that my own. I then remembered that many people are probably in the same position and I must have got the vacancy above others for a reason. So I needed to be confident in my ability! Through doing my research project I created the materials, I ran the experiment in two schools meeting some fantastic pupils and teachers, I learnt how to use an eye tracking machine and set one up from scratch. I learnt how to analyse the data and came up with some interesting results. Throughout the project my opinions and ideas were valued and I felt like I really contributed.

The realisation in September when I remembered I had to create and present a project to judges was slightly terrifying, however I received some great support from my supervisor, my co-researcher and the UROP team. The photo below is from the Undergraduate Research showcase in November. Each placement was put in a category out of 5. Mine was prosperity and resilience. I had to sell my project in about 5 minutes and I honestly didn’t think I did that well. Unknown to me I did better than I thought and overall, I came second. This meant I didn’t automatically go through to the conference, but I was still invited to attend it due the standard of my poster. So, in the Easter break I am going up to the University of Sheffield for the conference with 6 other UROP participants to present our posters!

Overall, I would recommend the UROP scheme to anyone. I had a fantastic 6 weeks where I learnt so much and I got a great feel of a real-life research project. I met some new people and made a great friend in my research partner. I now feel a lot more confidence with research procedures and this stands me in great stead for my dissertation year!

 

 

Check out UROPs Twitter pages and Instagram for regular updates:
https://twitter.com/search?q=UniRdg_urop&src=typd

If you need any further information look at the website:

http://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/careers_and_professional_development/grow/urop.aspx or contact urop@reading.ac.uk

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