Little is known about the intellectual journey of advanced undergraduates engaged in the research process. Moreover, few studies of this population of library users include students' personal essays as a point of analysis in their scholarly pursuits. To gain insights into the research trajectory of apprentice researchers at the University of Michigan, the Library examined the personal essays that students submitted for its inaugural undergraduate research award. These essays chronicled students' intellectual growth and development throughout the research process. Drawing on observations about the unique needs of these students, the authors analyze the implications for library instruction and services.