Opinion

What to Expect from an Independent Study

By Haley Connor 

haley.connor@spartans.ut.edu

Independent studies are normally taken during a student’s last year or last semester at the University of Tampa.  There are various reasons for this timing. 

Throughout your college experience you are taught lessons and key concepts that you need to take with you after graduation and apply in the working world. 

These concepts are incorporated into, and a key part of, any independent study plan. When you are preparing to take an independent study you need to apply the knowledge from your academic studies and the life lessons that you have learned throughout your college career.  

The most important concepts incorporated into an independent study are communication and time management. During my independent study, I found that if these skills were lacking, the final product of my independent study would suffer. 

Independent study is asynchronous meaning that all of your work is due at the end of the semester.  As a result, you need to make sure that you are spreading out all of the assignments evenly throughout the semester and are not waiting until the last month to complete everything at once.  

Since you will be taking other courses while you are working on your independent study, you need to be aware of when major assignments are coming up so that you are not forced to complete major projects all with the same due date. 

Communication is also one of the major concepts that needs to be incorporated into an independent study.  Most independent study is with an advisor or faculty member and you need to be comfortable communicating and reaching out to them when you need to contact them or have questions.  It is not their job to make sure you are on track to complete your assignments.  You need to make sure that throughout the semester you are in regular contact with them and confirming that you are on the same page with what is due and when it is due. 

Lastly, time management.  Time management was particularly important to my independent study.  You want to make sure that you are not waiting until the end of the semester to complete all of your assignments, but you also want to make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to complete each piece of work.  

The assignments in an independent study are not a simple math problem or single paper.  The assignments take time and research and you want to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to not only complete them but to take time on each part of the assignment and give it your best work. 

All of these concepts are taught during your time at UT. By completing an independent study before you graduate, it will allow you to take all you have learned and apply it before you need to use them in the post graduation world. 

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