We’ve talked about the basics of the capstone project. Now, here are a few tips to help make your capstone really shine!
A capstone project is about focusing in on a single idea – think depth, not breadth. If your topic is too broad, you won’t be able to adequately cover it. That said, be careful not to go too narrow, or you may find yourself having trouble finding enough material to meet the project requirements. This is one reason you want to start on your capstone as early as possible, so you’ll have time to narrow or broaden your topic if needed.
This is your chance to dig into a topic that really piques your interest, something that you want to explore – after all, this is a topic you’re going to be living with for several weeks or months. We hear from some students who, instead of choosing something that interested them, chose something they thought would be “easy,”and they ended up boredand struggling because they had no interest at all in their chosen topic.
Certainly, you want to make sure to choose a topic for which you can find information and research – but that shouldn’t be the sole criteria. Find a topic that excites you, that makes you want to learn more.
You should be meeting and communicating with your advisor/professor on a regular basis. Keep them apprised of your progress, talk to them about your ideas, and let them know of any roadblocks or problems you’re running into. Not only will this help you build a good relationship with your advisor (which might net you a few extra points on your grade), they’ll have advice on how to get past those roadblocks – and if for some reason you’ve taken a wrong turn, they can help you get back on the right track in time to fix things before you run out of time.
Don’t plan on “winging it” when it comes to your presentation. No matter how good of a public speaker you are, you need to take time to plan, prepare, and practice your capstone presentation.
Take the time to sit down and put together an outline or a set of index cards that clearly plots out your entire presentation. And just as you had to narrow your focus when you chose your capstone project, you’ll have to narrow even further as you prepare your presentation. You won’t have time to talk about everything, so hone in on the most important points.
When you’re in the planning process, go back and re-read your class syllabus and objectives. Focus on those as you plan your presentation; your presentation should demonstrate that you achieved the listed desired class learning outcomes.
Once you’ve drafted your presentation, practice it! Practice early, and practice often – and be sure to time yourself. Most likely, you’re going to have a time constraint, and you need to practice to see how long your presentation is taking. As you get more comfortable with the material, you’ll become a more confident speaker, and you’ll see yourself shaving a few minutes off your earlier time. Practicing will also help you control any nervousness or stress you might have on the actual presentation day.
NerdPro Writing’s expert writers have experience with capstone projects across all fields of study. If you’re having trouble or are in need of assistance, we can help – a little, or a lot, whatever you need. To find out more, get in touch!