GRE scores, GPAs, transcripts, letters of recommendation, quality of undergrad school, admission essays, and personal statements are all important to the admission process to get into graduate school; however, research is a unique and important way to distinguish you as a qualified candidate to admissions committees. In fact, some universities even require that you have prior research experience before graduate school.
What are the key components to get into graduate school?
If doing research is not a required element for the graduate school I am planning on applying to, then why should I do it? To get into graduate school, you will be able to use your research both to distinguish your application in a pile and to develop a relationship with faculty mentors. Student-faculty relationships will prove vital when it comes time for you to submit letters of recommendation. Working with a mentor on a research project will enable your mentor to write a more personal letter of recommendation for you thus improving your chances to get into graduate school.
Research is important for your graduate application, but it is also important to choose a relevant research topic. Participating in research will help you choose a relevant research topic for your field. Get an early start on choosing faculty with whom you would like to work. Spend time writing clear and concise research that will make a good impression on the admissions committee. Research and being part of a research team are important skills in graduate school and can be impressive when presented clearly. Dedication to a project shows the committee that you are genuinely committed to and interested in your field.