Independent Senior Projects

Beginning in the last week of April and for the next four weeks, each senior undertakes a project of his own devising in place of his regular academic courses. During the winter of his senior year, each boy is expected to propose a project of interest to him, secure the cooperation of an off-campus advisor at the place his project will occur, and develop a detailed work schedule of at least 25 hours per week specifying his use of time. Each plan must be approved by a small faculty committee, which reviews the project’s feasibility and merits. The directors of Independent Senior Projects and a faculty advisor with a special interest in the project work closely with him during this phase, but fundamental to this process is the expectation that the boy himself take the initiative to plan thoughtfully a project of merit and interest. The faculty believes so strongly in the value of the Independent Senior Project program that successful completion of an ISP is a graduation requirement. 

Project topics have been wide ranging, and emphasis is placed on each senior’s responsibility to devise his own plan. In general, however, projects tend to fall into five broad categories: volunteer work for school or community service programs; medical or scientific research; business or political internships; academic or creative independent study or enterprises; apprenticeships with theater or arts groups. At the end of the project period, each boy makes a 25-minute oral presentation of his experiences to a small audience of students and faculty. Finally, the directors of Independent Senior Projects, in consultation with the on-campus faculty advisor, evaluate each project. 

The Independent Senior Projects program aims to provide each senior with an opportunity to pursue an activity of his own choosing relatively free of other school demands. But perhaps more important, in order to enjoy a successful ISP, a senior must exhibit the self-discipline and motivation necessary to accomplish what he has set out to do. The freedom associated with Independent Senior Projects thus anticipates the self-reliance that college demands.