Senior Experience

For years now, Schreiber has required its seniors to complete a Senior Experience project before they graduate, with the goal of leaving students with one last positive and worthwhile experience.  Completion of this project can be done as part of a class or as an independent study, and students must log their hours throughout the school year in order to fulfill the requirements of the project.  While it sounds like a great idea, the reality is that Senior Experience can be a burden for many, and should not be mandated, but rather optional for students who wish to participate.

        When the concept of Senior Experience was first introduced, students felt excited about the prospect of completing an independent project, but as time went on, wealthier students began to solicit different opportunities such as internships from affluent friends and family members, while less-privileged students didn’t necessarily have access to these same options.  While this was not in line with the original spirit of the project, it became the new reality, and many students began to feel left out due to Senior Experience. 

        Senior Experience also entails a major time commitment, and with the college application process already weighing on seniors, an added commitment of fulfilling a Senior Experience project is simply impractical.  Since many seniors often hear back from colleges in the spring and do not commit until May 1, a large portion of the school year is allotted towards discussing options for the future and waiting on admissions decisions.  Therefore, being forced to do a project when there are already so many other stressors is far from ideal.  Although some students commit to college as early as November and have more free time in order to take on a Senior Experience project, most don’t, which is precisely why it should be optional, and not mandatory. 

        Additionally, many seniors partake in different extracurriculars outside of school, and those time commitments can further hinder the feasibility of an independent study for Senior Experience.  And while Schreiber does offer specific classes which count towards Senior Experience credit, many seniors miss out on taking some electives or extra APs due to a lack of space in their schedule because of their Senior Experience course.  Students’ opportunities may be limited, and they have to sacrifice taking classes that actually interest them because of the project.  So for those students who do not have time outside of school for independent study and wish to take various classes, the mandatory nature of the project leaves them in a tricky situation. 

        There is no doubt that Senior Experience can be a great opportunity for some Schreiber students to end their high school experience on a positive note.  However, with the stress of college applications combined with a potential desire to take more relevant classes, Senior Experience may be too much for some seniors to manage during an already busy school year.  Instead of making it mandatory, Schreiber should make Senior Experience optional, so that students who are truly passionate about it can complete a project and relieve the burden for those who simply do not have the time.