Creative Senior Projects - That Could Lead to a Career
Most college students just go through the motions when picking a topic for a senior project. It’s not uncommon to pick a topic because your professor suggests it, because no one else picked it, or because it’s easy. But an ideal senior project topic isn’t just one that will be easy to complete—because no matter what, you’ll still spend time on it. And even if it’s a large percentage of your grade, spending that much time on something that isn’t going to lead to something bigger is a waste of time.
The best senior project ideas for college don’t just tie in to something you’re passionate about—they can also serve as a springboard for your work outside of college and give you a head start on job hunting. Here are a few ideas for senior projects that could lead to opportunities after college.
Write a novel—and try to get it published
If you’re a creative writing major, don’t just do the typical collection of poetry or stories that never sees publication outside the school’s writing department. Work on developing something that might jump-start your literary career. Talk to your advisor about writing a novel—and then trying to land an agent. Or try self-publishing your novel and promoting it yourself. Do something that will help you develop a sense of the market and the business side of writing early on.
A senior project doesn’t have to be a waste of time. If you do it right, it could be the springboard for your next post-graduate success.
If you’re a business major, starting your own business is an ideal senior project. Conduct market research, develop a product, and try to sell it. Enlist campus resources or try to get placement in the campus bookstore. Try out different marketing techniques to identify what sold, what didn’t, and why. There’s nothing like hands-on learning to help you figure out how the world of business works.
Conduct a study—and try to get the paper published
If your goals are more academic, conduct a study that will look good on your graduate school application. Your advisor should be able to help you develop an idea, get campus resources behind you, run the study, assess the results, and write up your findings. But don’t stop at handing the paper in. Once it’s been graded, submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. A published study of your own devising will likely make you a strong candidate for graduate school.
Develop an innovative website
Google was a PhD research project at Stanford University—and Facebook was developed in college as well. If your field of study includes programming, website development or the Internet, you could develop the next big online idea. Do some research and develop a project proposal you can pitch to your professor—as you would pitch a possible profit-making website idea to a venture capitalist firm. Implement your idea online and track its success.
If you’re in engineering, research and development, or related fields, why not create something new? You could create a brand new product—or improve on something that’s already on the market. If you come up with a good idea that’s cost-effective to produce, it may not just help you get a job—it may help you become rich.
Reach out to your community
If your field is in health care, nonprofit leadership, education, or another area that lends itself well to this kind of project, consider starting a special community outreach project. Do some research into what services your community needs, and start a small nonprofit that fulfils those needs. In this way, you follow your own passions, help other people—and help yourself graduate from college.
A senior project doesn’t have to be a waste of time. If you do it right, it could be the springboard for your next post-graduate success. When it’s time to pick a project topic, consider carefully—not just what would be easiest or what your professor would approve of most, but what serves your broader career goals. Choose the right topic, and it could land you a job—or help you launch a successful career.
The Huffington Post: Transforming College Papers and Projects into Careers
LA Times: Capping Off College With Senior Projects
Business Insider: The Full Story of How Facebook Was Founded
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