Tips & Suggestions for Writing Your Essay
- Make the essay personal. Make a personal statement or tell a story that provides insight into your own experiences and views. Make sure you address how adult education has changed your life by helping you to attain your Next Level of Career Advancement. Use the pronoun “I”.
- Use “talk it out” or “rapid free write” activities to spark ideas. Pretend a journalist or interviewer has asked you to comment on the essay prompt. Respond out loud, off the top of your head. Record your response or have a friend take notes about what you said. Alternatively, give yourself five minutes to write a response. Don’t stop editing yourself. Just write. Analyze your response. What worked? What didn’t? Were there any particularly strong points or angles? Repeat the activity. This time, deliberately change your approach (try to answer the question a different way).
- Try an idea web or mapping brainstorm activity. Use a graphic organizer or make your own. Draw a circle or bubble at the center of a piece of paper. Write 1-3 words that capture the essay topic or theme inside the bubble. Think about words, ideas, memories associated with the theme. Write each in other bubbles surrounding the one in the center.
Essay Contest Scoring Guide
|Criteria||1 Point||2 Points||3 Points||4 Points||Points Awarded|
|Introduction and Thesis||The response has little or no connection to the topic of the essay. The response lacks an introduction and/or conclusion.||The response somewhat addresses the essay topic. The introduction and conclusion are minimally developed||The response clearly addresses the essay topic. Several ideas with limited or uneven explanation are provided; few or only general examples and/or details support ideas.
The response has an introduction and conclusion, though one or both of these may be underdeveloped.
|The response strongly addresses the essay topic. Complete explanations are provided. Specific,
relevant, and somewhat elaborated reasons, examples, and/or details support the writer’s ideas.
The introduction and conclusion are clear and sufficient
|Main Points and Body Paragraphs||The essay fails to demonstrate any understanding of paragraphing. Transitions are not used or may be used incorrectly. The essay is not organized or structured.||Some related ideas are grouped together though paragraphing may not be used. Few transitions are used.||Ideas are grouped together in paragraphs, though the relationship among ideas may at times be unclear. Transitions are simple and used inconsistently.||Clear and appropriate
paragraphing is used. Varied transitions and logical sequencing of ideas are used throughout to link major sections of text, create cohesion, and clarify relationships between ideas.
|Style||Word choice and sentence structure are simple. The response
lacks formal style and an objective tone
|Word choice is general and repetitive. The response has repetitive sentence structure and/or long, uncontrolled sentences. The response lacks formal style and/or an objective tone.||Word choice is general and the response demonstrates a little variety in sentence structure, although a few long, uncontrolled sentences may be used.||The essay uses a highly engaging and personal style. The author finds fresh or interesting ways to convey ideas. The author approaches the topic from a unique perspective.|
|Language Mechanics||Minimal or no command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage is demonstrated. Errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling frequently appear.||Limited command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage is demonstrated. Numerous errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling appear and may
interfere with understanding
|Partial command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage is demonstrated. Errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling are regularly
present throughout the response and may sometimes interfere with understanding.
|Able command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage is demonstrated. Few, if any, errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling appear, and most are
superficial and do not interfere with understanding.
|Essay No. _________||Total Points|