In an engineering application, I'm currently filling in I'm asked to "give details of any activities, hobbies or projects that you have been involved in, outside of your lessons", what I'm not sure about is whether the coursework I've done in school where the teacher has given us the instructions on what to do but hasn't helped us in any way or form count as a project that I've been involved in outside of my lessons?

  • 3
    Homework is part of your lessons. But, if it's a particularly amazing project, you can probably justify listing it anyway (the fact that the teacher didn't help you much is largely irrelevant; if it's something every other student also did, it's probably not particularly amazing). Jan 6 '18 at 18:32

The text is not clear enough, but it could be:

  • Projects where you had a say in their subject, description and objectives.
  • Projects unrelated to the academy.

As they are not clear enough and I would consider exaggerated to contact them asking more details about this question, I recommend to take the first interpretation, as it is more beneficial to you.

Note that from what you said, I cannot know the extension of your coursework project, and saying that your professor gave you instructions, does not seem to be good to match the first hypothesis. If you have taken elective or very flexible mandatory projects, even if they were graded or mentored by a professor, they could meet the hypothesis.

As far as you do not list a project that falls outside these two interpretations, I don't think it could impact negatively on your application. Should they ask you, tell them your interpretation of the question, and be prepared to present your projects.

  • Okay, Thank you! :D I'll just add the project I did for my coursework as either way it would make a good impression.
    – Ivan
    Jan 6 '18 at 17:23
  • @Ivan Check my updated answer. It seems you interpreted it as a "yes" for your question. It is not the case, and from the "the teacher gave us instructions", does not seem good to match hypothesis #1.
    – Adam Smith
    Jan 6 '18 at 18:37

I very much disagree with Adam Smith's answer that what they are asking for is unclear. It's incredibly clear.

The employer expects that your education (your lessons) include some type of project-based work. They are looking for projects that you took on of your own free will outside of your course work. A project that is required for a course and is graded by the course instructor does not count and should not be included in this section.

If you took on additional projects, either individually or with your fellow students, you should list those and any other information that they ask for about those projects.

The purpose of this section is to allow you to give additional information about your work and background. You do not need to include coursework, since that's already reflected in your grades and transcripts. This is simply an opportunity to bolster and show knowledge and experience from outside the classroom.

  • Either they want to rule out academy-oriented projects, which could in some universities be overly attached to research, and not interesting to some industries. Or they want projects you took of your free will, in my definition being those you can choose the subject, description and objectives. Universities and schools may have different rules for elective projects, and they may be graded and mentored by a professor, yet they could fall in the second category I mentioned. The most important for the OP is to have a clear interpretation of the question and nicely present the projects.
    – Adam Smith
    Jan 6 '18 at 18:28
  • @AdamSmith If you submit a project for a course for a grade, then it's not an elective project. One may choose elective courses with a project, but that's not this. I've seen many forms like the one described - they are almost certainly looking for work is done of your own free will, not associated with class or employment. I don't know what kind of elective project would be graded by a professor, and research projects (if done through the university) should be tied to either a class or employment - neither of these are appropriate to list as an answer to the question on the form. Jan 6 '18 at 19:55
  • At least in France, you have something called a "Free Project". In this case, the student can negotiate with the professor the whole project definition, including subject, method and objectives. The advantage for the student is having access to the school professors, labs, boards, PCs. For a lot of domains it is quite difficult to carry out a good project without these facilities. Imagine a chemistry student doing a project on practical chemistry without a lab. The project is mentored and graded, but I would say it counts as a free will one.
    – Adam Smith
    Jan 6 '18 at 20:07
  • @AdamSmith My university had something similiar, called "Independent Study". The name may vary by school. However, it typically shows up on your transcript as it is a graded course (a professor is reviewing and assessing your work throughout the term and you receive academic credit for it). I would include this as a project for university, and not in projects outside of coursework. Jan 6 '18 at 22:30

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