Creating a proposal for a school project can take just as much time as completing the project itself. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel if you follow a good outline. Proposals for professional business projects or school projects require the same information, so if you learn the style, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Completing and Using a Project Proposal
This is an original proposal for a project with editable fields. The sample can be downloaded by clicking on the link. Once the sample opens in another tab, you can edit, print or download and save it. You can find answers to your questions in the Adobe guide to printables.
Uses for This Template
In addition to being used for a project proposal, a template such as this has many other uses. You can use it for:
- Prepare a paper or presentation by organizing your thoughts and ideas.
- Think of a project you can do in your classroom.
- Consider applying for a grant or entering a contest. The template will help you organize most of the information you need for contests and applications.
- The purpose of a college application essay is to gather information. If you are describing a project, you should use the template to ensure that you have described it completely and accurately.
Tips for Writing a Proposal
It is likely that your teacher will have a specific format for your project proposal, but most proposals follow a similar format.
You should give the reader a sense of what the project is about in the title, but keep it short and descriptive. You should not use acronyms (such as POTUS for “President of the United States”) unless they are spelled out first.
Don’t use words that could be interpreted as rude or cutesy. Ask your teacher if you aren’t sure about your title.
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.
Prepare for the future. When you begin a new project, you never know where it will lead. There are times when you expect one thing, but find something entirely different. If there is too much information, you may need to narrow your topic.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself, and tell your reader how you plan to answer them:
- Are you going to be able to meet your deadlines?
- In the event that your topic needs to be changed, what will you do?
- In the event that you have to pay for transportation or printing, how will you handle it? Do you have the funds to complete this project?
There is no guarantee that any of these issues will arise, but it’s a good idea to prepare for them ahead of time.
With a little planning, a helpful timeline, and a good outline, you can plan, propose, and complete your project on time. Be sure not to leave things until the last minute!