Senior Thesis Means Less Work

The source of grievances for many Woodside seniors actually saves time

Kenna Beban, Staff Writer

The senior thesis is something that seems unique to Woodside High School ‒ no other schools in the district share the same project as Woodside students.

Lengthy research papers at the end of a student’s high school career are common practice, but for some reason faces constant objections and disapproval from Woodside seniors. However, contrary to their beliefs, the senior thesis helps students during high school and continues to help them in college.

The point of the thesis is to “work on research skills…you need in college,” said head of the committee, Mr. Aguilera. “They learn analytical writing, and how to take a position and argue it academically with evidence and research”.

These skills needed to write the paper are part of the Common Core requirements for English and Social Studies, the two departments involved in the senior thesis.

Mr. Aguilera explained that without the senior thesis students would have to come up with two separate papers for Social Studies and English. This is what most high schools do, and why they have research papers rather than the all-encompassing “senior thesis”. By the two departments working together, there is less work for the students while they still learn valuable skills needed in college.

Opinions about the research paper are mixed throughout seniors at Woodside. Some are frustrated at the constant source of stress, while others are eager to learn more about their desired topic.

“Eventually in college I will have to work on a research paper,” said senior Fabian Gutierrez. Research papers are mandatory in all colleges. In high school, they are preparation for what is to come.

The senior thesis is structured so that the work is spread out over months, with the final product being due in April. Gutierrez stated that he spent about 15% of his homework time working on the thesis, about “30 minutes a day.”

Along with giving students practice for college, it allows them to achieve good grades as most of the class time is spent working on the thesis.

While some see the benefits in such a big project, many students disagree. Popular sentiments among seniors are that it is a waste of time to spend so much energy on a paper that is not mandatory when their energy could be focused on things like college applications and keeping their grades up.

Students think the thesis is extra work in addition to their other classes, however, it actually focuses the energy they would be using in both classes into one combined effort.

“It’s not different from a research paper,” said Mr. Aguilera. “Just less work.”