The Senior Project is a required program that takes place during the final five weeks of the senior year. Students are excused from classes and may choose from several different options for their project. They can do an internship with a business or organization from the community or abroad, take one of several seminars offered by faculty, or pursue an independent project they create around an area of interest. In the first four-and-a-half weeks, students are immersed in their projects; the remaining few days are reserved for reflecting on projects with their peers and the broader Academy community. Students are paired with a faculty proctor who helps support and guide their project, from brainstorming ideas to execution and reflection. For specific questions about Senior Projects, please contact the senior project director, Mike Hanselmann (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Students may choose from several different project options/combinations. Projects must equal 30 hours per week minimum.
The most popular option within senior projects is an internship. An internship is an arrangement with an off-campus business or individual in which a student serves as an apprentice or intern. Students often select an internship to explore a possible field of study in college, an occupation of interest, a personal passion, or a program of formalized instruction that is not offered at the Academy (such as yoga teacher training).
- The FULL TIME INTERNSHIP is a 30-hour/week commitment at a business/organization of your choice. You cannot combine anything else with this except the Financial Literacy Course for the first week of the Senior Projects period. Please click the Seminar button for more information about this option.
- A PART-TIME INTERNSHIP is a 20+ hours/week commitment and MUST be paired with a seminar, an independent project, or one or two classes. Your combination of commitments must equal 30 hours per week.
Seminars are offered by Academy faculty on-campus, generally with groups of four or more students. The purpose of a seminar is to explore an idea or topic in depth with one or more faculty as co-learners—to form a “community of inquiry” around a topic that holds the enthusiasm of everyone involved. Topics fall under the general headings of arts, humanities, and sciences, though interdisciplinary seminars are encouraged. Each seminar group will determine expectations and culminating projects. Beyond the Experiential Education seminars that have students traveling remotely for three weeks, on-campus seminars must be paired with either an internship or an independent project to meet the required time commitment.
- ON CAMPUS SEMINARS are offered by faculty, usually change every year, and must be paired with a part-time internship or an independent project. Seminars are usually six hours a week.
- EX ED SEMINARS are offered by the Experiential Education department and require three weeks of travel during the Senior Projects period. They cannot be paired with anything else. In the past these seminars have included technical canyoneering, rock climbing, lightweight backpacking, mountain biking, and rafting.
- In the FINANCIAL LITERACY SEMINAR, students will learn the core concepts of personal financial literacy, including budgeting, debt, taxes, credit cards and building credit, mortgages, investing, loans, retirement, etc. This 10-hour seminar will be held for two hours a day during the first week of projects and is available to every senior regardless of what type of project they are doing. For example, if a student wanted to do a full-time internship and take the Personal Financial Literacy Seminar, they would go to the seminar for part of the day and go to their internship the rest of the day for the first week. They’d essentially be doing a part-time internship for the first week. When the Personal Financial Literacy seminar ends after week one, they would then transition into their full-time internship (or independent project or other seminars).
Students who have an idea for independent work may submit a proposal for an independent project. The project must have a strong educational/skill-based component, and students should have some level of experience in the topic of their choosing to support successful independent progress and work.
- INDEPENDENT PROJECTS are designed and managed by students to accomplish a specific goal or project and can be either full or part time. Part-time independent projects must be paired with either a part-time internship, on campus seminar, or one or two classes. Your combination of commitments must equal 30 hours per week.
Staying in Classes
While in Senior Projects, students are not required to stay in any of their classes and are NOT allowed to stay in more than two classes following these parameters:
- An AP class for which you are committed to taking the AP test
- A performing arts class that culminates in a performance that you will be part of
- A world language class
Spring athletes are not permitted to miss practices, so their senior project cannot interfere with their athletic obligations (no out-of-town projects etc.)