Research experience beyond the laboratories required for your prerequisite science classes is a plus, provided it appeals to you. At the very least, you should seek out enough experience to have a first-hand understanding of how scientific knowledge is created. This will help you in your future career as you attempt to evaluate new breakthroughs.
Different schools and programs give varying weight to the importance of research experience. Significant research experience is essential, for instance, for MD/PhD applicants. In any case, research experience demonstrates curiosity and independence. Both the River Campus and the Medical Center provide a wealth of research opportunities for undergraduates, and it is possible to earn academic credit for the research you do. Financial support is available, particularly through such competitive programs as the deKiewiet Summer Research Fellowship Program, the Summer Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, and the Strong Children's Research Center Fellowship.
Feel free to approach any science faculty member at either location if you have a research project in mind, or check the listing of faculty research projects that is available in the Program in Biology and Medicine office in Hutchison 402. The Office of Undergraduate Research also provides information on finding research opportunities. Many colleges and universities offer summer research programs. Please also visit our career communities page to learn more about these offerings, requiremements and what you need to do to be a good candidate.