When Should You Start Working On Your Thesis?
To be very brief, the answer to this question is, start as early as possible. If the thesis deadline is two months away and you are wondering if you should be starting now, the answer is a resounding yes. Many students face this problem, particularly first-time thesis writers who do not understand just how tasking it can be to write one.
By the time they finally do start writing, the molehill has become a mountain and it can be difficult to pick a good topic, find the right professors, get approval and start working, researching and writing it. In an ideal scenario, you will have compiled all your plans and gotten all your approval plans handled. Registering for the thesis credits should be done after this and all this planning should be done before you start your final semester, preferably three to five months in advance.
It might appear like overkill but getting approval, researching and references can be so time-consuming that you can end up with a lot of problems. Deadlines might be missed, information might be overlooked, errors in reasoning might occur and there will be no room to fix these errors before final submission. For this reason, it is a good idea to start early. However, how early should you start your working on your thesis paper?
Start as a First Year Student
You might think that as a first year student you don’t have to worry about a thesis paper but it is actually the perfect time to start building your thesis paper’s foundation. Now is the time when you want to start the initial plan for your thesis. Obviously, right now you won’t have decided what the topic will be, what you major to take or career path to follow but this is the time when you want to plan out how you want to tackle your thesis paper.
It’s a good idea to look at thesis examples, familiarize yourself with what a thesis needs. This is also the right time to start considering what possible topic you are interested in discussing and highlighting for your thesis paper. Just keep a special notebook for your thesis related notes and jot down ideas that come to mind.
What to Do in the Sophomore Year?
Your sophomore year is when you can start to consider a more solid plan for your thesis paper. The ideas you have outlined should be refined and narrowed down and if possible, you should have picked one out as your studies have progressed. By sophomore year, many students have also decided if they will be spending their junior year abroad, working an internship or indulging in student teaching in your senior year. If your thesis does end up being a senior year option for you, you will still have a lot of time to start working on it.
However, if you are going to be occupied with an internship or more during your junior year, it is a good idea to start working on the thesis now. The challenges you face in your junior year can be too demanding for you to focus on writing and researching a thesis paper. The goal here should be to cover as much ground as you can so that any delays in the junior year can be covered with ease and don’t end up causing a lot of problems for you.
Starting to Research in Junior Year
The junior year is when you start to work earnestly on your thesis, provided you are not working in an internship, spending a year abroad or more. Spending time off campus can greatly take up your full attention and writing a thesis paper when you are so swamped that you will not be able to do the thesis proper justice. However, it is a good idea to start working on your thesis as much as you can. The incomplete thesis can also prove to be a valuable asset to include in your resume or your application for graduate school or higher learning institutions.
During the junior year, you should also review the available research budget you have and whether it can support the scope and extent of research you need to conduct. Research data should also be collected in a manner that it doesn’t mar the results you get. Costs such as equipment, travel, supplies and more can be very high to shoulder and at times, beyond the means of many undergraduate students. In some cases, you might be able to qualify for a grant but if not, you should try to modify your thesis plans as much as possible in order to meet the available budget. Any issues with research should be addressed now. You should also make use of the advice provided by your professors and others to shape your thesis more definitely.
Finalizing in Senior Year
By now, your thesis paper should be on the final stages and all that is left for you to do is finalize and submit it. From here, you will have to handle the final push in order to meet the submission deadline. This is also the part where you ruthlessly self-edit and make sure that all relevant data is included in the thesis. Plagiarism checks, attribution and more should also be paid special attention to as they are the finishing touches that can ensure that your thesis paper is ready to share.
Once you are happy, you should submit your thesis and breathe a deep sigh of relief. Remember to thank all those who helped you out to research and write for your thesis paper and extend a little help to your juniors who are still stuck with their thesis papers and could be struggling. As you can see, the outline mentioned above shows that if you start early, you can avoid a lot of problems and ensure timely submission of a proper thesis paper.
If you leave it up to the last minute, writing the thesis paper can be an extremely difficult challenge which cannot be easily accomplished.