Senioritis vs. Senior Thesis

How This Year’s Seniors Feel About Their Project

Stefan Sujansky and Sarah Preston

WOODSIDE,CA- As the Woodside High School Senior Thesis project draws to a close, the class of 2017 looks back a with a mixed bag of fond and sore memories.

The Senior Thesis is a year-long research project assigned to each senior student with clearly-outlined due dates and check-ins. Even though it has been a requirement for years, seniors have a wide array of opinions about the assignment, with many criticising it for being too rigorous or too easy.

“I think a lot of [the seniors] recognize that it’s an important assignment to do and teaches skills necessary to succeed in college,” commented Jeffrey Juelsgaard, a government and economy teacher for the seniors and who also oversees many theses.

Juelsgaard reflects the attitude of many other 12th grade teachers as well as the administration, who believes that the thesis gives seniors crucial experience in writing an extended research paper. This experience becomes especially valuable when these same students have to complete a project of a similar calibre later in their education.

“A lot of college work is research outside of the classroom and synthesizing that story into a bigger paper or project in which you’re answering some essential question or addressing some specific issue,” Juelsgaard told the Woodside World, drawing comparisons to the Senior Thesis.

However, some students in advanced placement (AP) and other advanced classes feel differently about the project. While they understand the purpose of the thesis, they argue that it simply moves too slowly and eats up too much of their time.

“I like my topic and I like researching it, but we shouldn’t be taking so long on it,” senior and AP student Tanin Barzanian commented.  “I think we should have had just a few months to do it, not stretch it out into the entire year.”