The Senior Experience

With the expectations of colleges in mind, the senior year at Sage Ridge School has become a rite of passage.

Both academically and socially, the expectations on seniors, in some ways, resemble the expectations that colleges will have for them. However, we pair these new expectations with the support that high school students need, ensuring that they are able to successfully navigate the transition.

There are four parts to the academic program: Senior Seminar, Senior Thesis, the Research Symposium, and the Senior Internship. Combined with our regular curriculum and courses, these four aspects of the senior academic experience let students practice writing, conversing, researching, and presenting at a college level. Seniors graduate ready for college-level work. 

Socially, we also put our seniors through leadership training so that they are ready to transform their college communities. As seniors, they are the leaders of the school. We work with them throughout the year to help them make positive changes to their environment, teaching them skills they can carry to college and the world afterwards. 

The Senior Experience at Sage Ridge School eases the transition from high school to college so that our graduates are as ready for success as possible.

Senior Seminar

Senior Seminar is a two semester, college-level course which, together with the Senior Thesis project, marks the culmination of the Sage Ridge humanities sequence. This course asks the student to critically examine the historical and cultural genesis of the foundational values of our representative system of governance and our belief that such a thing as “civil” or “human” rights exists. The readings explicate the origins and universalization of these values and celebrate the struggles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to defend the idea that all men—and women—are created equal and with certain “inalienable rights.”  

Senior Thesis

The Senior Thesis is a 15-20 page research paper that presents students with the opportunity to undertake the sustained, thoughtful, and deep exploration of a topic of their choosing. The Senior Thesis is the culmination of the SRS research sequence and of students’ SRS educational experience. The Thesis requires students to develop an original argument supported by evidence gathered from a variety of scholarly sources. Students go beyond synthesizing other people’s arguments. Rather, they survey, gather, synthesize, and evaluate evidence (or even produce data), which they will bring into their essays and with which they will engage in a dialogue, in order to develop and support their theses.  

Senior Research Symposium

After the culmination of the senior thesis research and thesis defense, students host a formal presentation of their research to the public. Board members, parents, teachers, younger students, and Reno community leaders are invited to attend and engage with our seniors. It is a proud moment to see these Sage Ridge students speak confidently and passionately about their chosen topics.

Senior Internship

The Senior Internship plays a vital role in the educational process at Sage Ridge. It moves education outside the boundaries of the traditional classroom into the workplace and allows students to gain on the job experience in a career interest. The premise is that success in higher education is predicated not only on how much knowledge students have acquired, but also on how well they have learned to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate that knowledge. In addition, students must master the process of how to learn in order to achieve success in the new situations which lie ahead.

Seniors are required to plan, design, and implement an internship experience in an area of interest to them. In the past, students participating in such internships have worked with community agencies in a variety of areas including veterinary science, law, communications, engineering, merchandising, education, banking, business, medicine and journalism. Students are evaluated upon completion of their internship on the basis of High Pass, Pass, or Fail.  This information is reported on the Senior Transcript.

NOTE:  Successful completion of the Senior Internship is a requirement for graduation.


  • Introduction to the world of work
  • Pursuit of a possible career interest
  • Establishment of a transition period from high school to college with greater individual freedom and responsibility