Participating in research is one way to show that you are intellectually curious, which is a trait valued by many different professional programs. It also shows that you are interested in being a leader, another traits schools consistently look for in their applicants. Participating in research gives you an opportunity to develop professional skills like timeliness, accountability, and working in a team environment.
Research occurs in many different disciplines, locations and environments. It does not have to mean sitting for 8 hours in front of a microscope. It could mean asking a patient a series of questions as part of a self-assessment, reading literature, or working on something like Wayne State's Corktown archeology project. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is a project that interests you. You only have a limited amount of time away from your studies so make it count.
You have a variety of possible outcomes from participating in research. You might get published or be selected as a poster presentation at a national or regional conference. You may be offered a paid position after acting as a volunteer. You may develop an excellent working relationship with your Primary Investigator and be able to get a strong letter of evaluation. Regardless of the outcome, you should be able to explain your project in an interview setting – both the large scale scope of the research, as well as the small scale contribution of your role.
Wayne State's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program assists undergraduate students with finding research opportunities on campus. In addition, WSU Career Services frequently posts student research positions. You may be able to do research with a professor in your department as well as explore opportunities for research at local hospitals and medical centers.
Here are some external resources as well: