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Most Valuable Experience

What was your most valuable educational experience at CC in terms of preparing you for graduate school?

The neuroscience class I took my sophomore year was responsible for shaping a lot of my interests.   Doing a thesis project was also valuable.  Designing my project, collecting all the data, and analyzing and writing up my results, allowed me to decide if research was something I truly enjoyed. In addition, it gave me experience in an area that I was interested in and let potential employers/graduate schools know that I had more than just classroom knowledge.

Giving powerpoint presentations

Writing my senior thesis.

Working on my thesis project. The experience is as close to graduate school as CC can give you. Lab skills, patience, organization, application for grant money, application of class materials, research (including the ability to critically read journal articles), writing, and presenting are things that you become familiar with during thesis work. Proper execution of these skills will make you a strong graduate student (not to mention a graduate school won't take you without this experience).

Research Design. Neuro classes. Summer and senior research projects.

My most valuable experience by far was the senior research that I had theopportunity to conduct. No single course can provide the laboratory,critical thinking, and writing skills that a block or two of research does.In addition, graduate school is much more similar to a year-round block ofindependent research than to the usual "read and discuss" format of CCcourses. The process of socialization of undergraduates into the world ofscientific research is best done as early as possible. Only through actuallab experience can students begin to understand the amount of academic andpersonal commitment that is necessary to do a good job as a researcher.Undergraduate or inexperienced graduate students frequently do notunderstand that research does not stop on the weekends or holidays, andthey have a hard time thinking of their work in the lab as more than a jobthat they punch into at the beginning of the day and leave behind when theday is through. Working on a project with Professor Jacobs helped me torealize that my honest dedication was necessary for the integrity of thework. It was at that time that I began to love what I was doing. For allwho enter this field, it is that love of science that makes one successfulas a graduate student and neuroscientist.

Getting some research experience and writing a senior thesis is one of thebest things you can do at CC to prepare for graduate school.

The "hands on" research experience and writing my senior thesis were the most helpful educational experiences at CC. Take advantage of the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on his/her research - this is a rare experience for most undergraduates which will give you a head start to graduate level research.

The most valuable educational experience for me at CC was working in Bob's lab over the summer. It is very important for undergraduate students to learn to work independently of faculty. Although he was always available, Bob gave me a feel for what it would be like to work in a lab on my own by giving me the freedom to experiment and to learn through some trial and error.

The most valuable experience I had was the research project I worked on with Dr. Jacobs over a summer and two blocks. This experience not only prepared me for the research world in terms of understanding the procedures of experimentation, analysis, writing a paper and submitting it, but also in the fact that it taught me how to organize my time and how to go about working on my own project. Lab work in upper-level biology courses (i.e., Biochemistry) was also helpful, however because it is always under strict instruction, it still does not compare to independent research in terms of preparing you for research in a graduate school setting.