A Senior Project is a 1.5 week, unpaid internship designed to give you an opportunity to explore a career option, learn more about a work or volunteer setting that interests you or apply talents that you may not have used in your academic classes. During the project, you will report to your "employer" rather than come to school.
The general purpose of the Senior Project is to provide you with a different learning experience. Many well-planned projects can give you a feeling of confidence and satisfaction. Some projects have led to invitations for paid employment during the summer while others have provided valuable hands-on experience and direction to help students considering career goals or a major in college.
Julian Cochran, Director of Senior Projectsseniorprojects@da.org
|Q. ||What if I have no idea what I want to do for my project? |
Start by talking with your advisor or Mr. Cochran. Both are happy to help! The details that explain previous projects are in our archives. In fact, Senior Project notebooks from many past years are available if you need them. You may look through them to get ideas and names and telephone numbers of contacts. As well, there is a link to a list of all the projects from the past few years on the right-hand side of this page.
Do a little research into a possible major you may have declared on your college application. What kinds of careers do people with that major pursue after graduation? Maybe you can use your project as an opportunity to look at one of those career options. Finally, use the Internet to explore a field of interest.
If all else fails, talk to your parents, teachers or with a friend who has already done a Senior Project.
|Q. ||When should I start planning my project? |
|A. ||It is never too early to start. Many businesses and employers will work with only one student during the project time period, so you are in competition with other students in your class as well as college and high school students from other schools.|
You must have your proposal submitted by Friday, February 1!
|Q. ||What exactly are the expectations, guidelines and rules for my project? |
- Think globally, act locally.
All projects are intended to link you with some interest away from our campus but within our community. Staying within commuting distance helps accomplish this purpose.
- Your calling may be elsewhere.
On rare occasions, out-of-area Senior Projects occur. The list of criteria that apply for approval for an out-of-area project can be found here
. You will need to contact Mr. Cochran
if you wish to pursue this option.
Target your passion while serving your community.
For those students interested in investigating the CavCorps program (an intensive, service-learning themed Senior Project), you can work with Mrs. McNamara to develop your ideas. Talk with Mr. Cochran
to get started.
For two weeks, this is your job!
Students are expected to devote a minimum of 4-5 hours a day to their projects for 7 school days for an equivalent of 25 hours. The new graduation date in 2013 has shortened time for Senior Projects.
You are working strictly as a volunteer, not a paid employee.
You are not permitted to pursue something that you already do as a paid job, nor will you be able to accept wages for what you do during your project.
Working for your parents is not allowed.
Except in rare circumstances, you are not permitted to work directly for your mother or father or any family member or close relative. If your parents would like to host a senior, we would be eager to place another student with them.
Understand your supervisor's expectations.
Rules and procedures will vary from site to site, but all students are expected to abide by the guidelines set out by the on-site supervisor as deemed necessary. Remember to dress appropriately at all times.
|Q. ||Exactly how do I set up a Senior Project? |
After you identify a potential contact, call them on the telephone. Do not be intimidated. Explain who you are and why you are calling. Tell them the general purpose of Senior Projects (a 1.5-week, unpaid internship), the time frame and your specific interests. Ask if the person would be willing to work with you. Answer any questions the potential employer has and offer to come by and talk in person. In some cases they will ask you to put your request in writing. If you get a positive or semi-positive response, be sure to get the details of what your next step should be to ensure your placement. You may need to call a second time or you may need to schedule an interview.
After you have determined that you want them and they want you, fill out the Senior Project Proposal Form (print version here
/online version here
) and submit to your advisor for a signature by Friday, February 1 (online proposals will automatically request advisor approval). If you have any question as to whether the project will be approved, ask Mr. Cochran immediately. Generally speaking, if the project follows the rules and has an appropriate on-site supervisor, there is no reason to be concerned. Sometimes, however, when you are finalizing the details and completing the contract and calendar, you may realize that the project is not what you expected. It is critical that you speak with Mr. Cochran who will gladly help you retool your project ideas.
|Q. ||When are Senior Projects? |
|A. ||Monday, May 13 through Tuesday, May 22, 2013. Some students may be able to design an extended project that could begin before the week of May 13.|
|Q. ||Who supervises my Senior Project? |
- On-site supervisor: Each senior should identify and contact a professional who will serve as the on-site supervisor for the specified time period. This person should be willing to discuss your proposal with you, answer your questions about his/her vocation and assist you in arranging your activities while on the off-campus site. The on-site supervisor will be asked to complete an evaluation of your participation and of the Senior Project itself.
- Faculty sponsor: Your advisor or any willing faculty member serves as your faculty sponsor. He/she may be able to help you refine your ideas for a project and assist you in making contacts. Final approval of all projects must come from Mr. Cochran. During the weeks of the project, your advisor will be in touch with you to see that all is going smoothly.
|Q. ||What have former students done for Senior Projects? |
Former students selected placements in the following areas:
Click here for a comprehensive list of Senior Projects for the classes of 2007-10.
- Communications: Durham Herald-Sun, WTVD, WRDU, WCHL, Carolina Cable, The Independent
- Graphic Design, Architecture, Art Studios/Afterschool Programs
- Education - DA Pre, Lower and Middle School, Duke School for Children, special education classes, ESL classes
- NC Legislature; NC Museum of Art; NC Museum of Natural History
- Eno River Association, the NC Nature Conservancy
- Law - Traffic Court, District Attorney's Office
- Durham Volunteer Services Bureau, Durham Rescue Mission
- Animal Protection Society
- Health Care - DUPAC, NC Memorial Hospital, Duke Medical Center, American Heart Association, Lenox Baker Children's Hospital
|Q. ||What is the timeline for planning and executing my project? |
Calendar for 2012 Senior Projects
The contract, including a detailed description of the project and your anticipated daily schedule, should be filled out by you and signed by your parent(s) and your on-site supervisor.
Monday, May 13 - Tuesday, May 22
Senior Project Wrap-Up
||Meet in advisory
Please bring your self-evaluation form describing and rating your experience. We will debrief and discuss our projects by advisory only.
||Head to Kenan Auditorium
Program celebrating the Class of 2012
Kenan Auditorium (parents included)
||Dinner, Upper School Quad (rain or shine)
Graduation rehearsal, Kenan Auditorium, 4:00 pm
Pick up your cap and gown!
Senior Commencement, 3:00 pm
Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill
|Q. ||What if I call someone and after talking to him or her, I decide I don't want to work there? |
It is ok for you to explain politely that your plans for Senior Project have changed and express thanks for the time they spent talking with you. If you feel uncomfortable saying this directly, simply write a short note or email saying that your project focus has changed and thank them for their time. No details are necessary.
|Q. ||When I am working on my project, what should I do if there is a problem? |
|A. ||Call Mr. Cochran as soon as possible.|
|Q. ||How do I find out what to wear, where to park, when I eat lunch, what my hours are? |
|A. ||Your proposal is due Friday, February 1. The more detailed calendar and contract are due Friday, March 1. In mid-February you should make an appointment to visit your employer to verify ALL THE DETAILS! You need to do this even if you have already had an interview with someone in the workplace. Remember to take your contract and calendar with you, as it needs the signature of the on-site supervisor.|
|Q. ||What if I am unable to complete my project before May 22? |
If, because of unforeseen circumstances, you do not finish your project, you will be allowed to participate in graduation exercises, but your transcripts will not be mailed to any college until you have completed the project.
|Q. ||What are the requirements for satisfactory completion of a Senior Project? |
- Complete and submit all the preliminary project forms and follow all Senior Project guidelines.
- Provide a daily project blog/diary entry to your advisor.
- Complete the self-evaluation form for your project.
- Based on your written summary, make an 5 - 10 minute presentation to your advisory in the final wrap-up and evaluation session on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 22 (small seminar format.)
- Have your on-site supervisor complete the online evaluation form or ask Mr. Cochran to email you a hard copy that your supervisor and print, fill out and return.
|Q. ||Questions?? Need Help?? |
Express your concerns to your advisor or schedule a time to meet with me (ext. 6306). However, before asking for help, read through the Senior Project lists to get some ideas.
|Q. ||May I do an out-of-area project? |
|A. ||Because of the limited amount of time you will have to complete your project, the school highly recommends that you do something local. Exceptions can be made for out-of-area projects, but there are many additional details to which you must attend.|
To view the rules and requirements for an out-of-area project, CLICK HERE.
Project Registration and Evaluation Links
|Your proposal is due by Friday, February 1.|
|Evaluation form to be completed by your on-site supervisor(s). Due May 22.|