Writing, Formatting, and Finishing Touches

Follow the department's formatting rules

  • For example, does your capstone require page numbers or a table of contents?
  • Use Citation Manager Tools to automatically create your bibliography, endnotes, or footnotes.

Get writing support 

Gain software skills

  • For example, take a lesson on Word, Google Drive, or learn how to make a graph with Technology Training.

Keep at it

  • Set small goals each week.
  • Check-in with a buddy to keep you on task.

Managing your Project

Advise from other students

 “I was too rushed at the end. I should have planned more time to edit and polish my project.”

 “Make an appointment with your librarian early on. They will really help with your topic and research.”

 “Use your professor's office hours! Ask questions and make sure you understand what's going on.”

Create a Budget

What is a budget?

A budget is an itemized list of income and expenses within a set period of time. It can be used as a personal guide of what money you have coming in and where you spend it. Because a budget shows the ebb and flow of your money, it can also help inform changes you would like to make to your spending habits in order to meet financial goals.

Basic principles of budgeting:

  • develop your financial goals
  • calculate your income
  • calculate your expenses
  • analyze your income and expenses against your financial goals to make spending decisions

Choose a budget management method

There are many options to manage a budget. It is all about finding a manageable option for you. The important part is to start using one. You can always change your approach later. 

  • If you like using spreadsheets, try this template and see how it works for you.
  • If you prefer using an app, try Mint or something similar to get you started! 

Ease Your Stress

Build a schedule

A good schedule can save you time and reduce stress in the long term. 

ICON: green alarm clock

Try some of these options to help:

  • For each class, make a list of the tasks you must complete. Prioritize your tasks.
  • Think of your tasks in terms of urgency and importance. Complete the most urgent/important tasks first.
  • Anticipate demanding days and distractions. Plan how you will work through them.
  • Complete one task at a time.
  • Learn more strategies through the Manage Your Time tutorial.

Practice self-care

Reducing stress can start with a change in personal attitude and habits.

ICON: Arrow recharging

Try some of these options to help:

  • Recognize where stress strikes you first. Do you feel neck tension or experience low motivation? Identifying signals of stress early makes it easier to try relaxation tips, and work on changing behavior.
  • Learn to be satisfied with less than perfect. For example: You just took an exam that did not go as well as expected. It is out of your control now. Focus on what you can do better next time.
  • Take care of your body. Eat well, sleep enough, and exercise regularly.
  • Eliminate pseudo-solutions that impair your health such as sleep aids, energy drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, and vaping.
  • Change your internal language. Instead of saying, “I have to…,” say “I choose to…”.

Express your stress

Hiding your feelings is often more stressful than talking about it.

ICON: person, black and teal

Try some of these options to help:

  • Recognize short-term coping methods for what they are: short-term. Use them as needed, but do not depend on them.
  • Keep a journal. Observe when you are stressed, the causes, your responses, and the outcome. Identify which techniques are most helpful.
  • Share your concern with a friend, family member, or counselor. Be open to feedback.
  • Deal with issues as soon as possible. Do not wait for the “right time” to deal with interpersonal problems.
  • Communicate assertively with others about conflicts. Be factual and use “I statements”, such as 'I feel...',  to describe your feelings.

Build Your Schedule

Build your schedule

When you build your schedule, enter time-sensitive and important tasks first, medium-importance tasks second, and finally the small stuff can fit around everything else. 

Start by:

  • entering class times
  • assignment dates
  • instructor office hours
  • blocking study time for each class
  • adding work times
  • including personal commitments
  • anticipating demanding days and planning how you will work through them

Remember to be:

  • realistic - everyone needs some down time
  • flexible - sometimes things happen beyond your control 
  • clear - set specific start and stop time
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Managing your Time

To make better use of your time: 

Plan ahead

Consider what else is going on in your life over the next few months. Family celebration? Big project in another course? New job?

Avoid distractions 

Turn off devices that demand your attention. Find a quiet place to work such as one of the campus libraries or try the Study Space Finder.

Do a little every day

Do not assume you can get large tasks done in one evening.

For early drafts, do “just good enough”

Focus on making progress. You can polish later during final edits.

Form an “accountability group” 

Whether it is a classmate, friend, or family member, have someone to help hold you accountable for due dates.

What is a Capstone Project?

No matter what you call it, a capstone project:

  • Is something you complete as an undergrad, usually in your senior year
  • Will allow you to deeply engage with a topic and showcase your subject knowledge
  • Is in partnership with instructors
  • Is a blend of in-depth research, reflection, and will evolve over many drafts
  • Can be 15 to 50+ pages in length and take months to complete
  • Can involve an internship, service-learning, lab work, portfolio, exhibit, collecting data in the field, or analyzing historical data