April is a bittersweet month for seniors. From academics to social life, seniors prepare for graduation and juggle regular college activities. The final weeks of my undergraduate experience were filled with complicated emotions and cumulative deadlines that marked the end of my college career. So I primarily used April to complete my final projects for the College of Arts and Science (CAS) Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. 

As a graduating student, your final project can take on a variety of shapes depending on your major. Nonetheless, it is always a project that reflects the skills and knowledge you have learned over time. As a Social and Cultural Analysis and Journalism double major, I completed a 40-to-60 page thesis and a 3,000-word journalistic capstone. Here is how I managed to complete these projects. 

Planning Ahead

It is no surprise that you have to complete a senior thesis or final project for your major. So consider brainstorming ideas ahead of your research seminar. If you do so, then you can spend more time during your seminar or independent study crafting a scalable project. 

To learn more about the process of completing an undergraduate research project and pursuing honors at CAS, check out the UG Research and Honors web page.

Note: The requirements for your final project(s) may vary based on your school or department.

Establishing Contacts

Do you know what a peer review is? If not, peer review is giving your work to other researchers and academics who share a similar expertise for their review. This is an excellent opportunity to discover additional scholarship from your peers and receive intentional critique. You should review the editorial policy of your department before conducting a peer review. 

In addition to the adviser who will oversee your final project, NYU offers many workshops to help students with their research and writing. What’s more, you can book an appointment with the Writing Center at any point in your college career for assistance with non-exam written assignments.

A photo of a computer, coffee, pastries and a notebook

Get in the Zone

To be my most productive, I need to work outside of the space that I live in. But I didn’t always know this about myself—it took me awhile to realize it. Now I spend a considerable amount of time outlining and writing sketches in cafes or university and public libraries.

Build a Consistent Schedule

While your department and adviser(s) will help you name deadlines, you have to do a lot of the planning for your project on your own time. So I do not advise tackling papers longer than 20 pages in one week. Even that can be a stretch! Establishing parameters for your final project will help you manage your stress and promote self-guided accountability.

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Use Institutional Resources

Along with the Writing Center, NYU Libraries is an excellent resource. You can regularly turn to it while crafting your final project. You will have access to millions of digital and print resources that can help you save money on books and other scholarly materials. NYU also has more than 30 research librarians who have varying concentrations in the field of research. 

In addition, NYU offers research grants (similar to the Wasserman Center Internship Grant). CAS students who are pursuing grand-scale final projects may consider applying for the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund.

Be Kind to Yourself

Finally, your final project is the pinnacle of everything you have done at NYU. Even getting started is worthy of a treat! Take necessary breaks and divide the work into digestible chunks. What’s more, remember to lean on your peers and adviser(s) for support along the way.

Hiya! I’m Sade (she/they) and I’m a senior pursuing an interdisciplinary study of Social and Cultural Analysis, Journalism, and Creative Writing in CAS. I’m currently researching Black erotics, family dynamics, and community practices. I was raised as a southern peach from Perry, Georgia, but NYC has increasingly become home to me. On campus, I’ve worked as a College Leader in CAS and as a Marketing and Communications Assistant in the Center for Faculty Advancement. I’ve also been a Contributing Writer at Washington Square News and I’m a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar. When I’m not writing, you can find me tickling my kitties (Clementine and Carrot Cake, for the cat-world initiates), biking with my partner, or crisping up some tofu in my kitchen.