The Senior Project is designed to be the culmination of the academic experience at The Williams School. It is a privilege accorded to seniors that challenges them to take ownership in their education and development as life-long learners. The Senior Project provides students the opportunity to merge interests, passions, and curiosity with the skills they have learned throughout their career at Williams. Moreover, it is an opportunity to create an independent experience beyond the classroom, focusing on inquiry and personal growth.
Students who take on a Senior Project will plan, organize, implement, evaluate, document, and represent a sustained and transformative life experience through experiential learning. Projects may be related to career choice, a desire to serve the community, a topic for independent research, or a combination of these.
The Senior Project will have four core components: proposal, project, paper, presentation.
Throughout the Senior Project Proposal process, it is important for students to remember that they are applying to have a privilege granted. The Senior Project Committee will evaluate the quality of the vision, organization and planning, a clear intent and learning outcome, and sincerity in the approach to the project and this process. The Committee reserves the right to request revisions or more information about possible projects. The Committee also reserves the right to deny proposals that are incomplete or submitted late.
A student who successfully completes a senior project will have a “P” recorded on his or her transcript; those seniors whose projects are approved and do not meet the minimum expectations will receive an “F.” There will also be a brief commentary regarding the paper and presentation included in each student’s report card. Additionally, a project evaluation must be submitted by the Project Supervisor; evaluation forms will be provided by the school. Students who choose not to do a project, who do not qualify academically, or who do not submit timely and appropriate proposals will continue in all classes through graduation. Students who do not participate in a Senior Project will be expected to attend school daily, complete all course material, and take final exams.
Senior Project Guidelines
It is important that each senior read and understand the Senior Project guidelines so that they can proceed with an organized approach, as well as understand the overall outcomes that are expected.
This step is crucial to the long-term success of the project, as the rest of the project hinges on how well you think through and plan. You should begin by identifying an area of interest, brainstorm ideas for a project, and identify outside sources, organizations, and people who may support your project.
You should ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to do this project?
- What do I hope to learn?
- How does this serve the community, or address a real world concern?
- What do I need to know or learn to get started?
- With whom (person, organization, etc.) can I work to accomplish my goals?
- Who could serve as a mentor?
- How does this all fit into one big picture?
You should research and gather information that will help you outline a project plan. You will need to reach out to organizations, companies, and/or people with whom you may want to work. Also discussing possible ideas and projects with your parents and teachers can be a good idea.
At the end of the Handbook is the Preliminary Proposal Form. You must complete the form and submit written responses to the Senior Project Workspace. Preliminary Proposals are due to Mrs. Hannon by the end of ninth period on Friday, January 23.Students are encouraged to submit proposals prior to the deadline.
After Preliminary Proposals and Faculty Advisor preference forms have been submitted, students will be assigned a Faculty Advisor. The Faculty Advisor will be determined based on the preference forms as well as the nature of the project. If you are late in submitting a preference form, you may not receive one of your top choices.
Faculty Advisor (assigned in January)
When you submit your preliminary proposal, you will also submit the Faculty Advisor preference form. You will then be assigned a faculty member who will support your planning and implementing by collaborating as you both see fit. Your faculty advisor may also serve as a conduit to the Senior Project Committee should a problem arise with your proposal, project, etc. You will meet with your Faculty Advisor as well as email them throughout the proposal process.
Perhaps the most important part of planning your Senior Project is finding a Project Supervisor. This person should be experienced and qualified in the field about which you are curious. He or she should be able to advise and assist you throughout the proposal process (if possible) and is the person with whom you will work during the two weeks of the Senior Project.
You do not need to have a firm commitment for the Preliminary Proposal, but you should have ideas and should be in the process of reaching out to prospective project supervisors. For the Senior Project Proposal due in April, you will need to have obtained a commitment and should have some sense of where you will be working with the Project Supervisor and what you will be doing with them. This should be included in the Senior Project Proposal, as well as on the Project Supervisor agreement form (at the end of the Handbook). Your Faculty Advisor may NOT serve as your Project Supervisor.
Prior to submitting your proposal in April you will need to find an adult who will serve as your host during the project. The host is someone who will be responsible for you throughout the project. If you will be living at home, the host should be a parent or guardian. If you will be travelling, the host should be the person with whom you will be staying. Your host must be 25 years or older. Included in your Senior Project Proposal due in April should be the Host agreement form.
After submitting the Preliminary Proposal, students will be assigned a Faculty Advisor. The Faculty Advisor and student will coordinate with the student to create a Senior Project. They will assist in brainstorming, reaching out to possible Project Supervisors, creating self-imposed deadlines, writing the proposal, etc. The Faculty Advisor and senior will have consistent contact throughout February and March.
You should have the following headings:
3. Looking Ahead
The introduction of your proposal is where you explain the rationale for what you want to do. You may wish to discuss the brainstorming and research process, as well as your intended learning outcomes. Be sure to answer each of the questions that follow, though you may include additional information. Do not simply list each answer, but rather develop a cohesive explanation that incorporates your answers to the questions.
- What will the project involve? (just a summary—you will provide more detail in the “Practicum” section)
- Why have you chosen this project?
- How will this project add to your education?
- How is it related (or not) to your talents, professional interests, passions, or goals?
- What new information, skills, and/or perspectives do you hope to gain?
In this section, you need to detail what you will be doing during the two weeks of the Senior Project. Be sure to answer each of the questions that follow, though you may include additional information. Do not simply list each answer, but rather develop a cohesive explanation that incorporates your answers to the questions.
- What will the project involve? (a more detailed description than in introduction)
- Where and when will you be spending your days? What will you be doing?
- Who is your Project Supervisor, and why have you chosen them? If your Project Supervisor works for an organization, foundation, etc. Please provide some background—purpose, function, etc.
Write about what you foresee in your experience. Think about the challenges you may face and what you see as an outcome. Be sure to answer each of the questions that follow, though you may include additional information. Do not simply list each answer, but rather develop a cohesive explanation that incorporates your answers to the questions.
- What do you know going into the project?
- How might the project be challenging? How might you be able to prepare for these challenges?
- What are you looking forward to? What are you anxious or hesitant about?
- What aspects of your project do you think will be the most meaningful to you?
- What aspects of your project do you think will be most interesting or beneficial to the Williams community?
- In the top right corner of the first page, please include: Name, Faculty Advisor, Name of Host, Name of Project Supervisor, and the date submitted.
- Centered below the heading you should have your title.
- All section headings should be underlined (i.e. Abstract, Introduction, etc.).
ALL SENIOR PROJECT PROPOSALS SHOULD BE UPLOADED TO THE SENIOR PROJECT WORKSPACE
NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30 at 3:30 PM
Project Approval and Revisions
The Senior Project Committee will convene to discuss all senior projects. If your project is approved, you will receive an email, and you are done! If there are concerns or questions about your project, your Faculty Advisor will reach out to explain what information is still needed, as well as make suggestions on how to proceed with revising your project.
A revised project (following the same guidelines) should be uploaded to
the Senior Project Workspace by Thursday, April 21.
The committee will meet again to discuss the revised proposal and you will receive notification as to whether your project was approved or denied by Friday, April 29.
To undertake a senior project, a student must be in good standing academically. In “good standing” means that a student’s level of achievement has not diminished appreciably during the second semester and that all assignments have been completed. Students “not in good standing” will be asked to complete all outstanding work before beginning a project OR they may be denied permission to undertake a project.
- Any student who is a member of a sports team must maintain his/her commitment to the team.
- At least once during each week, students should be in contact with their Faculty Advisor. A quick email update is sufficient.
- Students are expected to write a 2-page paper evaluating and reflecting on their project and experience. This will be submitted to the Senior Project Workspace no later than the day of the presentation.
- A short (10 minute) oral presentation will be given on Monday, June 8.
Seniors who undertake a project are expected to complete a 2-page paper. This paper must be uploaded to the Senior Project Workspace no later than 3:00 PM on Monday, June 6 (no hard copies, please!). Your paper should evaluate the project and reflect on your experiences—that is the only requirement! You should look back at the questions answered in the Proposal to help guide you.
You will be expected to give a 10-minute presentation about your Senior Project experience. You should feel free to approach this in a way that makes sense to you. Should you require A/V support (i.e. you will be using PowerPoint, need to play music, show a video or slideshow of pictures), you need to email Mrs. Hannon by Thursday, June 4.
Preliminary Proposal Checklist Due Friday, January 22
- Faculty Preference Form turned in to Mrs. Hannon
- Typed responses for Preliminary Proposal uploaded to Senior Project Workspace
Senior Project Proposal Checklist Due Wednesday, March 30 (Revised Proposal DUE Thursday, April 21)
- Written (typed) proposal uploaded to Senior Project Workspace
- Host agreement submitted to Mrs. Hannon
- Project Supervisor agreement submitted to Mrs. Hannon
Presentation Checklist—Due Monday, June 6
- If you need A/V support for your presentation, email Mrs. Hannon by Thursday, June 2
- 2-page paper uploaded to Senior Project Workspace by 3:30 PM
** A NOTE ABOUT SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS: There will be a Senior Project Workspace in FirstClass, and you will submit your Preliminary Proposals, Senior Project Proposals (and revised version if necessary), and Reflection Paper by uploading the document.