Independent Senior Projects
The Independent Senior Project (ISP) program provides each senior with the opportunity to spend the final four weeks of his academic year pursuing an endeavor of his own choosing, in place of his regular courses, and relatively free from other school demands. Each boy is expected to propose a project of interest to him; secure the cooperation of an off-campus advisor; and develop a detailed work schedule of 25 to 30 hours per week. Projects have been wide ranging, but 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 studies; and apprenticeships with culinary, musical, theater or arts professionals.
Each ISP proposal must be approved by a small faculty committee that assesses its feasibility and merits. Members of this faculty committee advise the seniors as they develop their proposals, and often help to connect them with RL alumni and parents in their fields of interest. Fundamental to the process, however, is the expectation that the boy himself take the initiative to thoughtfully plan and execute a successful project. At the conclusion of the project period, each senior makes a 25-minute oral presentation to an audience of students and faculty and submits a written reflection to the ISP committee. 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 ISPs in effect anticipates and requires boys to develop the self-reliance that college demands. Successful completion of an ISP is a graduation requirement.