In high school, students are often required to complete a senior project in order to graduate and receive their high school diploma. Would you expect any less from a college or university? I hope not! The capstone is the crowning moment in your college career where you put all the pieces together to form a final project, professional paper, or in some cases, a thesis.
But there is more to a capstone than just "work".
Some colleges require a capstone project regardless of whether you are enrolled in an actual capstone course or not. This isn't to make your life difficult. It is to allow you the opportunity to show what you know. Colleges and universities want to see their graduates develop their writing, public speaking, and critical thinking skills. What better way to do this than with a capstone. Typically, these projects come toward the end of your degree (just as they did in high school), and they are often described as a way to motivate you into becoming engaged with your field of study as a means of avoiding the "senior slump". It is called a capstone because it represents a level of marked achievement: the "crown" of your dedication and commitment to higher learning!
Depending on the type of degree you are seeking, a capstone course may be required, and may include not only the project, but a presentation as well. Other degrees may include an exam (similar to comps) which will evaluate your interdisciplinary skills such as mathematics, critical thinking skills, and writing. To this, a capstone is also likely to include a research paper on a topic closely related to your degree, that shows your ability to identify issues that are found within that particular field of study. This shows your commitment to the field and gives you the opportunity to express your knowledge and skills that you have obtained during your college career.
Capstones also provide the opportunity for you to highlight your accomplishments for career advancement. Imagine you are applying for a job at a technology company. You have one opponent also vying for the position. Your education level, experience, and other qualifying factors are the same as your opponent. However, you have a capstone project listed on your resume which highlights your use of scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, demonstrates your ability to synthesize information, and of course, your writing skills. The other guy (or gal) does not. You are more likely to gain the job because of the capstone. That's a win!
You should talk to your academic advisor no later than midway through your college career, regarding your capstone project. While each college or university is different, and may have different requirements, I'm including those I experienced while in college. The first should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: A capstone/thesis should never be attempted to be completed in one semester. It is extremely difficult and can weigh you down so much, that your other classes will suffer. With that:
Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and sociologist. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!