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3 Important Things I Learned From a Semester Abroad
Now before you start panicking, hear me out. Some thesis projects are required to do an undergraduate thesis in order to receive their degree, some are optional. Either way, if you know you will be completing an undergrad thesis, these 3 steps are for you:
If you’re a STEM major, your thesis will probably be centered around a scientific hypothesis you must collect data on. For the Humanities major, your thesis will most likely be a paper hashing out your arguments accompanied by scholarly research. As an English major, your project might center on a theme in a novel which you want to further explore. Sometimes, the hardest part of completing your project is choosing a topic from a seemingly endless list of possibilities! I would recommend zoning in a topic (English major may want to write about evangelicalism in Victorian novels) and hash out your argument as you are doing research. Because chances are that as you gather information, your claim might change and evolve.
Trust me, you do not want to leave your thesis to the last possible minute. As some projects can run upward of 50 pages (depending on the department requirements), you want to save yourself from as much end of the semester frenzy as you can so you have time to revise, refine, and make your paper the best it can be. Depending on the college and program, your thesis independent study will last either the entirety of your senior year or your last semester. If possible, start your research during the summer break for the year-long thesis and during the winter break for the spring semester deadline. This way, you can confer with your advisor once you get your preliminary research out of the way so you can write your draft and revise, revise, and revise again so you are not pulling 5 all-nighters before your final deadline. We all need our beauty sleep!
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When you are finally ready to submit, double-check to make sure that your title page, page numbers, abstract, etc. all meet department submission requirements. You don’t want points taken off for easily fixed technical errors, and if the final product will be kept in the school’s library, you must ensure it is up to standards. Most university libraries have thesis submission guidelines listed on their website, so explore and if you still cannot find it, talk to a librarian in person.
Aidan is the Editorial Director for Verge Campus Binghamton. She is a senior majoring in English Literature and Rhetoric with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. She is a former Orientation Advisor for New Student Programs and current Tech Services Student Assistant in the Science Library.