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Writing an article and going through the peer review and editing processes can be difficult and time-consuming. Students may wonder if the end result is worth adding the extra commitment to their schedules. However, having an article published as an undergraduate has a wide variety of benefits and can present new opportunities to students involved in the publication process. Here are a few of the reasons to consider publishing as an undergraduate:
1. To help improve writing and research skills.
The process of researching, writing, editing, and publishing an article for the first time will provide valuable feedback on what steps may require improvement and where strengths may be. Going through these steps will improve writing and research skills that will be useful in graduate studies or a professional career.
2. To experience the scholarly publication process.
Publication is a requirement in many disciplines. Going through the process as an undergraduate will make the experience familiar when it may be required later. It will also provide context and understanding of the field.
3. To connect with professors and researchers.
Faculty in the department the journal is connected to will likely be involved in the publication or post-publication process. Publishing in the journal will help connect students to those faculty members in a way that isn’t often achieved in the typical classroom setting. Publishing may also help students connect with other professionals and researchers in the field, providing new opportunities for collaboration and future study.
4. To display leadership and initiative.
Working as part of the editorial team or being involved in the publication process is hard work. Faculty, employers, and graduate school admissions committee members will understand this and recognize pursuing this endeavor as an example of leadership and drive.
5. To professionalize the undergraduate experience.
Having a published paper will provide a certain level of professionalization to a resume that many undergraduates do not have. It will signal to graduate school committees and employers that steps were taken to seriously pursue research interests. Published paper may also be useful as a writing sample in graduate school applications.
6. To inform a future career path.
The process of publishing a paper may help inform a future career path and illuminate opportunities that may otherwise have not been considered. It may pique a student’s interest in pursuing publishing or graduate studies as the next step after completion of an undergraduate degree. Alternatively, it may confirm to other students that they wish to pursue other interests outside of academia. Working with faculty and other student researchers will allow students to enter a scholarly community that may help them decide on a future career path. Either way, the process will be valuable in assisting students in deciding what the next step will be.