How Do I Get Started?

One of the keys to a successful undergraduate research or applied learning experience is to give yourself enough time to explore opportunities and lay the groundwork for finding a faculty mentor, advisor, or organization.

The following steps will help you secure a REAL opportunity.

Create and maintain an online profile

This Portal provides a database of student profiles to UC San Diego faculty, research scientists, industry partners, and the public. Maintaining an up-to-date profile on the Portal will increase your visibility to potential advisors and employers.

  • Login to the profiles page.
  • Enter the requested information or, if you have a LinkedIn or Portfolium account, import your profile information.
  • Keep in mind:
    • your profile should clearly present your relevant experience, competencies, and future goals;
    • the statement of purpose or other narrative should be authentic, thoughtful, and concise; and
    • typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on an applicant’s professionalism and attention to detail.
  • LinkedIn provides additional guidance on creating a complete online profile. 

Explore available opportunities on the Portal

There is an abundance of research and applied learning opportunities available if you are proactive in your search. The key is finding an opportunity with the right faculty and/or organization to explore your interest and abilities. 

  • Keeping in mind your interests and goals, search available opportunities on this Portal. Be mindful that some opportunities may be eligible for academic credit, a stipend, or part-time salary.
  • Explore these opportunities further by visiting faculty or company websites, reading recently published work, or getting firsthand information from your friends, teaching assistants, and academic advisors.
  • Identify one or more opportunities aligned with your interests and goals.

Determine your eligibility

Look for eligibility requirements, including GPA or ethnicity, citizenship, or other conditions of participation. International students need to confirm work authorization.  

Apply to opportunities that match your interests and goals

Apply for those positions using the method and style indicated within the posting (e.g. email, PDFs, online application).

UC San Diego's Career Services Center offers:

Other ways to find opportunities

If there are no opportunities on the Portal that interest you, or if you applied but were not selected, consider the following: