Kylie Johnson | Staff Writer
October 1st. November 1st. January 1st. All of these deadlines race through the minds of seniors as their high school careers begin to end. For most high school seniors, the stress of meeting college application deadlines, applying for numerous scholarships and finishing the semester strong is what occupies their time during the first semester of the school year. But a select number of high school seniors have an additional stress of completing a 15-page research paper along with their college applications and scholarships.
Within the Early College Program, the English Composition 102 class has an end goal of submitting a 15-page research paper. This college level composition class challenges the seniors to discuss more evolved topic ideas and question serious issues that face society. Topics can vary from physician-assisted suicide to the CSI effect.
It can be hard to balance the stress of typical schoolwork while staying on task with the paper. Aislinn Chavali ‘18 said, “I have already gotten used to a schedule for my homework, so it is hard to find time to fit in writing my fifteen page paper.”
Even though this class can be overwhelming, it helps to develop the seniors’ writing techniques and prepare them for future college classes. Katie DeArmitt and Krista Hensley, the two Early College English teachers who teach the class, have developed a method to best benefit their students and make them successful in the end.
“The everyday mini-lessons have allowed people to separate correcting their papers, and having the calendar up daily lets them have a visual to see where they need to be,” Hensley said. “I use some scare tactics; for example, a reminder of a D or worse will not allow them to receive college credit, but most importantly I need them to feel some stress.”
Since the beginning of the school year, the process to finish this paper has been a focus. The first couple of weeks that lead up to conquering the paper involve exploring various topics, working through a mini-research paper, and narrowing down topic ideas. Once they choose a topic, the senior begins to form an outline and follows the outline as they begin to write.
Whether they follow a schedule or dedicate a specific amount of time each day, each individual has their own process to completing their paper; “To catch up, I have forced myself to write an hour a day, even if I don’t have the class,” Kristen Stewart ‘18 said.
Through the classroom work time and individual research, these seniors have had to dig deeper and work harder to argue controversial topics, but college-bound students report that it is beneficial. “This paper is challenging because it is a tedious process that appears scary to be writing fifteen pages, yet it is beneficial in several ways but the biggest factor is that I can get this class done before I head to college,” Cassie Westell said.
Collectively, this class may appear challenging, but it allows the seniors to be better equipped and prepared for college. As college approaches, the seniors who have taken this class will have experience that will serve them in the postsecondary years.