Writing a proposal for a school project can be just as time-consuming as doing the project. But if you follow a good outline, you won't have to reinvent the wheel. Most proposals - whether for professional business projects or school projects - require the same information, so once you learn the style, you'll be ahead of the class.
Completing and Using a Project Proposal
The following is an original proposal for a project with editable fields. You can download the sample by clicking on the link. The sample will open in another tab, and from there you can edit, print or download and save. If you need assistance, the Adobe guide to printables can answer your questions.
Uses for This Template
Aside from being required to have a project proposal, there are a variety of other uses for a template like this. Use it to:
- Organize your thoughts and ideas for a paper or presentation.
- Propose an idea for your classroom project.
- Apply for a grant or enter a contest. Completing the template will organize most of the information you need for contests or applications.
- Gather information for a college application essay. Use the template to make certain you have described a project completely and accurately.
Tips for Writing a Proposal
While your teacher may have a specified format that you should follow, most project proposals have the same elements.
The project title should be short, but descriptive, so the reader has an idea of what is being requested or developed. Do not use acronyms (like POTUS for "President of the United States"), unless you spell them out first. Also, don't be cutesy or use words that could be taken as rude. If you aren't sure about your title, ask your teacher about it.
Your name, grade, class, and other contact information for your mentor or for anyone who reads your project.
Reasons for the Project
In the section on reasons for the project, you share why you want to do the project. It could be because you want to complete work for graduation or a grade, or you may be doing extra credit projects or projects to go on your transcript for when you apply to college. Make certain that your proposal is clear about why you need to accomplish this now.
Knowledge of Subject
Describe what you know about the subject or proposal.
- Have you always been fascinated by it? Why?
- If this topic is new to you, what about it caught your imagination?
- What do you want or expect to learn about the subject during this project?
Preliminary Research/Literature Search
You need to know how your research project fits into the world (or is placed in context), so you need to research it before you begin your project. Some of the questions you should think about are:
- Who else is writing about this topic?
- Is this topic interesting to a lot of people?
- What do others say or write about the topic?
- If there is nothing out there about this topic, why do you think this might be?
- How many books or articles have been written about the topic? What are the titles and who are the authors?
- Are there websites dedicated to this topic?
While you are doing your preliminary research, you should create a short bibliography so you can recall where you found information. You will also want to jot down notes about ideas that you might include in your project.
In the project description, the goal is to sell your idea. The project idea should be a clear, specific, and easy-to-understand narrative of the project. The project description should answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your work:
- Who was involved with this topic, its history? Who were the first to invent, or write, or do something with this topic?
- What does this topic mean? Define it and explain what it is.
- Where does this topic impact people or things? Where did this topic originate? (In the US, Europe, etc.)
- When did this topic become important? Has it always been important?
- Why do you think people should know about this topic?
- How does this topic affect the world?
You should write your narrative in the first person (I will, I plan to, etc.). Do not use long, complex sentences: when in doubt, it's best to write simply and be as clear as possible. Don't try to sound cutesy, or academic: it's best to sound like your voice and be enthusiastic and excited about the project. You should not spend a lot of time describing the topic. Instead, describe what you want to do and what you want to accomplish with the new knowledge.
The section on project outcomes should be more specific than the reason for the project. You are telling the reader what you expect to create or produce during the project. In other words, will you have a paper, book, poster or website complete? Will you have gained knowledge that will allow you to advance into another class? Offer some details, such as the number of words you will write, or the types of illustrations you will use. If you create something that people may be able to use (a student guide to writing papers, for example), then explain how you will make it available to people.
Timeline or Tasks
Although you do not have to write a day-to-day timeline, you need to indicate what activities you will do and when. A timeline can be text, a chart, or table. Once you know your tasks (research, interviewing, writing, photography, layout), you will have a better idea of how to use your time, and you can meet all deadlines.
In the section on oversight, explain who will be mentoring or helping you, and why that mentor is the best person for the job. Is this a teacher you have worked with on earlier projects? Does this teacher or mentor know about your topic, and will s/he help you with your research? Will your mentor read or view your project and offer feedback? Who will you give this project to at the end, and who will assign you a grade? Knowing all this will help you to find the right help when you need it, and keep you from missing those all important deadlines.
Think ahead. When you are starting a new project, you never know where it will lead you. Sometimes you will expect to find one thing, and you find something entirely different. Or you may discover there is too much information, and you need to narrow your topic. Ask yourself these questions, and tell your reader how you plan to solve them:
- Will you be able to meet your deadlines?
- What will you do if you need to change your topic?
- What will you do if you find our you have to pay for transportation or printing? Will you have the money to do this project?
None of these problems may occur, but it's good to think about what might happen ahead of time.
With a bit of planning, a helpful timeline, and a good outline, you will be able to plan, propose, and complete your project with time to spare. Just don't leave things until the last minute!