Should Students at Cal High Have to Do the Senior Project ?

  • 20181118_131051
  • 20181118_131051

Every year all of the seniors attending Cal High must do a senior project, which takes plenty of work. They must do a research paper with about 7-15 pages and also complete fieldwork that represents a learning stretch as well as an oral presentation of about 10 minutes. I think we should all consider if the students are given enough time to complete the project and the fact that students must pick between college applications and finishing their senior project.

I interviewed Mrs. Davies,  one of our amazing English teachers here at Cal High, to see what her opinion was. She told me that in her opinion it was a great idea for the students to have a major paper due because it happens all the time in college. Having to review MLA format, working under certain guidelines and deadlines, and having good research skills will help the students later on. The one thing that upsets her is how the deadlines for the senior project conflict with the deadlines for college applications. She says that in the past students have picked between finishing a senior project or submitting their Cal State or UC application. She thinks the school should not make the students have to choose between one or the other and she wishes deadlines would be quite different so the students would get a chance to do both things and not have to worry.

Then I interviewed a current senior to see what his opinion was on the Senior Project. Ivan Ramos (12) says he finds the Senior Project unnecessary in every way. He claims he didn’t gain much from it and having to do a Senior Project definitely got in the way of college applications. Ivan tries to stay on top of everything when he started applying to colleges but had to finish all of his school work including his Senior Project. He says the school should not have a Senior Project because students have way too much stress on their last year trying to graduate. Ivan says if he was given a longer amount of time to do the Senior Project this would have changed his point of view on the assignment.

Then I interviewed student Carissa Vasquez. She said the Senior Project is important because it helps students get an insight in the real world, helps them become better writers and makes students feel more comfortable speaking out loud to people that they may not know but it is definitely a lot of stress. She claims that as the year goes on a lot of other things become a priority such as college applications and SAT testing. In her opinion, if the deadline were to be expanded students would find new ways to procrastinate.

In my personal opinion, I think the school should do something about the deadlines and begin to assign Senior Projects from the summer of junior year. This way students would not have to pick between getting into their dream school or finishing an assignment. What do you think, should the school keep its Senior Project policy? Or should it be changed to better fit the needs of the students?

Photo Credits Kate Vizcarra 2018

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1 Response

  1. Bonnie Freitag says:

    My belief, and I’m from the Special Ed. dept, is that the Sr. Project is impractical for our dept. I’d like to see something that is applicable to real life for our students, not a research project. Perhaps modifying the project to be more community service oriented, then have a reflective paper reporting on the experience would be more beneficial. Students need to “give back”.
    For the Gen. Ed. students, I’d like to see a change of deadlines as discussed in the article, as well as a change from MLA format, which is rarely if never used in colleges, to APA format, which is used frequently. Service hours must relate directly to the project.

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