View Full Version : Undergraduate Research Conference

02-04-2008, 11:44 PM
I was just wondering whether anyone have heard of NCUR (National Conference of Undergraduate Research)? This year it will be hosted somewhere in Maryland. The question is if one has an opportunity to attend and present, would it be a good-to-have thing for a grad school application or its pretty much worthless since its an undergrad conference. If I went, my school would cover the expenses. Should I even bother and waste time?

P.S. They also have conference proceedings, so there is a good chance that the paper will be published on their CD (what a joke).

02-04-2008, 11:57 PM
IMHO, this sort of thing is well worthwhile, and you can probably also find similar opportunities closer to home. (I've identified three such opportunities within driving distance of me this spring.)

I wouldn't worry about whether a paper you present will be published or even about how prestigious the particular conference might be. Undertaking research benefits you because (1) it demonstrates a commitment to research and that you know what you're getting into with a Ph.D.; (2) it gives your LOR writers more to work with when singing your praises; (3) it helps you learn more about whether you enjoy research and what problems you might be interested in (and therefore where you might be interested in studying); and (4) it gives you valuable experience presenting your ideas that will pay off both in grad school and later on the job market.

Or, to put it another way, what do you have to lose? Presumably you would enjoy the opportunity to do some research and present it, or you wouldn't be planning on a Ph.D. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a topic that eventually turns into a dissertation chapter and you'll have put yourself ahead of the game. Or maybe you'll discover that you really hate a particular topic, and know better than to pursue it further. I think what I'm trying to say here is, don't focus so much on optimizing your profile for admission that you miss out on actually doing economics. ;)

02-05-2008, 12:12 AM
I think you have made a good point. :) Especially in the last sentence.

02-05-2008, 12:20 AM
When is the conference? That sounds interesting. Is there more conference like this in midwest area? what do I have to do to attend?

02-05-2008, 12:31 AM
If you would like to present your paper, research, etc you have to send them your abstract and get admitted. Fortunately, the rate of acceptance for econ related papers is almost 100% (3 of my classmates + me send our abstracts and all of them were accepted for presentation). This is the one I mentioned: National Conferences on Undergraduate Research page (http://www.ncur.org/) .

02-05-2008, 12:43 AM
When is the conference? That sounds interesting. Is there more conference like this in midwest area? what do I have to do to attend?
In the midwest, there is the annual Midwest Economics Association (http://web.grinnell.edu/MEA/) conference. That conference is mostly grad students, but there are several undergrad paper sessions as well. You've missed the deadline for this year's conference, but you might apply next year.

Ancalagon The Black
02-05-2008, 04:41 AM
NCUR is the largest from what I have heard. My sister, who graduated in Econ/CS from Wellesley presented a couple of papers there about 3 years ago...

02-05-2008, 04:45 AM
In general, I think it's better to present at the undergrad session (or regular session, if you get something accepted) of a larger/more senior conference. That way, you can network with faculty and grad students rather than other undergrads, and you'll also get feedback from faculty and grad students. But either way, presenting at a conference is great experience :)