Senior Action Plan

It may be difficult to believe that this is your last year at Princeton. For most of you, the senior thesis will be a major goal for this year, in addition to thinking about what comes next - your first job, graduate school, law school, or med school? Post-baccalaureate fellowship applications? Lots to think about!

As you embark on the final chapter in your Princeton journey, here are a few general thoughts:

Reflect on and refine your goals. Think about what you’ve accomplished so far, what the connective threads are in your experiences, and what your values are, and use those as a guide to craft a path for the next few years. This may have changed from last year; that’s completely normal.

Balance time for your studies and time to think about “Life after Princeton.” Applying for jobs and fellowships and grad schools can feel like a full time job, and you already have a full time job. Organize your schedule so you’re not prioritizing one thing at the expense of another, and make time to enjoy your senior year (which may include, believe it or not, actually enjoying writing your thesis). Be present.

Go beyond your comfort zone. Think exploration is for freshmen? Think again. It’s especially important to try new things when you’re working on a long project, to re-energize your love of learning. Take an interesting elective. Acquire a new skill. Meet new people; mentoring is a great way to do this. While college is not your last chance to learn, take advantage of opportunities here while you can.

Get started early on your thesis. Think about your thesis as an extra course; carve out a little time to work on it every week. For example, you might make Friday your “thesis day.”

We’ve put together this timeline and resource guide to help you connect with people who can help you make the most of your senior year.

 

Early September

Reconnect with or find a faculty mentor. Touch base with people who might write your recommendations over the next year. Visit those people during office hours or invite someone to have coffee or a conversation over lunch to ask questions about their research, talk with them about your summer experience, and discuss plans for the year (or topics for a senior thesis).

Use your departmental Independent Work Guide to familiarize yourself with departmental goals and expectations regarding the senior thesis. Submit your thesis title/topic and adviser name to your department.

If you intend to work with human or animal subjects, plan ahead and attend a workshop on the IRB and IACUC approval process.

Consult PURC, the Princeton Undergraduate Research Calendar for upcoming seminars and workshops in support of independent work, funding opportunities, important deadlines, and more. Subscribe to the calendar for weekly updates.

If you’re thinking about medical school, talk with HPA about your plans. If you’re interested in applying to law school, talk with a pre-law counselor in the Career Services office.

 

Mid-September

Apply for A.B. senior thesis funding through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) to fund your thesis research over fall break, winter break, and/or intersession. When applying for funding to the Office of the Dean of the College, review the funding guidelines to optimize your chances of getting funded.

Search the Thesis Archive on DataSpace to explore topics, gather ideas for possible faculty advisers, find sources, gain familiarity with disciplinary writing styles, develop research methodologies for your own independent work, and understand what makes a good independent project.

Create a senior thesis timeline for yourself, in consultation with your thesis adviser or another mentor who will help you stay on track.

 

Early October

Meet with Career Services to explore your options, create a plan, and continue to develop your resume. Use the Alumni Careers Network (ACN) to connect with the more than 5,200 alumni who have offered to provide advice about majors and careers.

 

Mid-October

Attend a HireTigers Meetup. Meet with employers and alumni for recruiting and networking. 

Explore and apply for post-graduate opportunities such as Princeton in Asia, Princeton in Africa, and more.

Sign up for a thesis bootcamp or one of the many other workshops offered in support of independent work and keep track of upcoming funding opportunities and deadlines through PURC, the Princeton Undergraduate Research Calendar.

 

Late October

Visit the Fellowship Advising Office in OIP and other offices around campus to discuss your eligibility for post-graduate fellowships like the Sachs, Project 55, Dale Fellowship, and more.

 

Early November

Meet the departmental deadline for your thesis proposal.

Review the gudelines for acknowledging sources as you research your thesis topic.

 

Late November - early December

Submit some writing to your thesis adviser or meet your departmental deadline for draft materials.

Apply for post-graduate opportunities through the Pace Center.

 

January Reading Period

Sign up for a thesis bootcamp or one of the many other workshops offered in support of independent work and keep track of upcoming funding opportunities and deadlines through PURC, the Princeton Undergraduate Research Calendar.

 

Mid- February

Attend a HireTigers Meetup. Meet with employers and alumni for recruiting and networking.

 

Late February - early March

Sign up for a spring break thesis bootcamp through the Princeton Undergraduate Research Calendar to help you with that final push towards completion of your thesis.

 

Early April

Interested in applying to graduate school in a year or two? Reach out to your faculty adviser, graduate students, and postdocs in your department to find out if graduate school is the right choice for you. Visit the Career Services website to learn more about the application process and timeline.

 

Resources

Fellowships

Career Services

Alumni Careers Network

Independent Work Guides

Undergraduate Research Calendar

Campus Resources for Independent Work