The GEARRS event is a great opportunity to meet with potential research advisors and find out if CU Boulder is a good fit for you. Please take some time to talk to current students to see what they like and what they do not like about their experience at CU. We have found that many chose CU Mechanical Engineering because of the great community, so we encourage you to find this community for yourself.
In terms of finding an advisor, we have a few suggestions listed below:
Be prepared: If you are still deciding what field you are interested in, it could be a good idea to take some time before GEARRS and read papers from various professors in different fields to figure out what interests you the most. That way when you come to CU you are prepared to ask informed questions to understand the most up to date research in each lab that you are looking at. Keep in mind that many lab group websites are not up to date with the most current research, so make sure to ask about current research when you are at GEARRS.
Seek out your options: It is highly recommended to find one to three advisors that you would enjoy working with and that have research that aligns with your interests. GEARRS is an opportunity for interviewing these professors that you would like to work with. Remember, it is just as important to interview the professor you would like to work with as it is for them to interview you.
Ask questions: As questions to potential advisors and their students. We recommend that you get the contact information from students in the lab groups that you are interested in. Ask students about their research, lab culture, and strengths and weaknesses of their lab (you can also find this information on the lab group’s website sometimes). Additionally, there will be many students around at GEARRS who are happy to answer any more questions.
Keep the conversations going!: Once you have met with professors and have identified which lab groups you are most interested in, please keep in contact with these professors. It is important to keep the conversation going even after GEARRS so that you can either secure a place in their lab for the fall or be ready to make decisions during the fall semester. Professors are happy to talk to prospective students on the phone or through skype after GEARRS. Many students who have to spend time their first semester meeting with many different advisors struggle more academically because it can be time consuming. Our advice is to do this research ahead of GEARRS, set up faculty meetings through Jillian, and use the spring/summer to secure a spot in the lab you want to work in.
If you are interested in talking to a professor, make sure to schedule an interview with Jillian and ask if they are looking for new graduate students. During GEARRS, focus on the above suggestions to see if you would be a good match for their lab and if CU is a good match for you.