In general, the upper division years should see the Fellow solidly engaged in research, scholarship, or creative activity, leading to a product appropriate to the field of study. This also involves dissemination of the project, which can be at a number of venues: Student Showcase, Research on Capitol Hill, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Posters on the Hill in Washington, DC, arts exhibition or performance. Also consider Discover, an online undergraduate research journal. Study abroad is also an important part of a student’s development. Likewise, internships may be appropriate.
Students who will graduate with University and/or Department Honors generally will engage in Honors contracts to complete their Department Honors requirements. These individualized contracts offer students insights into possible faculty mentors and may be structured as such. (The Honors “thesis” may be a written work, a design project, a fine arts project, or another genre appropriate to the discipline.) The Helen B. and Lawrence O. Cannon Awards are given to students with outstanding Honors Thesis proposals. The dissemination of the project may occur at one of the venues mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Having a solid research, scholarly, or artistic track record also positions students well for prestigious awards such as the Rhodes or Marshall that offers graduate education at Oxford or another United Kingdom institution. The staff in Honors has excellent experience in helping students prepare their applications for these awards. The best applications generally develop over several months’ time as the student investigates these institutions. (UK institutions are on a different time schedule, so some work generally is done in the spring before the application date, as faculty do not return to fall term until October.) NSF Graduate Fellowships are also helpful for finding graduate studies. Several USU students have received these awards, which may be in sciences or social sciences.
This is also the time for investigation of graduate and professional schools. For students seeking employment following the undergraduate career, an internship may be a possibility. Fellows should begin to consider letters of reference, a revised resume, and publications if appropriate. Finding the right “fit” for graduate studies can be difficult, but Fellows who have reviewed the literature in their research area may look at the institutions where the authors are located. To find Utah State University faculty who have attended institutions that are of interest, Fellows can search the online version of the University Catalog that lists their affiliations or do an Internet search.