Choose one of the essay scenarios that applies to your program. Be sure to review the essay scoring rubric before you write your essay. The rubric is used to score your essay. 

Once you are ready, you'll submit your completed essay to Myles Hacking at mhacking@columbiasc.edu.

Athletic Coaching Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions

Prompt 1
What motivates you to pursue this Master’s Degree?
Why do you coach?
Provide your personal coaching philosophy.

Prompt 2
Describe in detail how you perceive a coach to be responsible for an athlete and the athlete’s improvement.
Explain what attributes you feel are critical for a coach to be successful.
If you were/are an athlete, what did you learn from your coaches that you have carried forward; what have you learned not to do as a coach?

Prompt 3
Write about your coaching experience and how long you have been coaching.
What do you feel your current strengths and weaknesses are as a coach?
What are your ultimate coaching career goals?

Essay Scoring Rubric

Content and Organization

Strong (5 points)

  • The paper is clear, focused and grammatically correct
  • The writer expresses ideas well, they are explicit and clear
  • There are appropriate connections throughout
  • Relevant information is provided in a thorough but succinct way
  • Paragraphs contain relevant anecdotes and details and are well constructed
  • Transitions are clear, smooth and used appropriately
  • The paper is organized well; flows smoothly
  • The paper has a recognizable introduction and conclusion
  • The content is thorough and accurately reflects the questions/statements that were to be addressed

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Words/phrases are almost always correct and adequate 
  • There is some redundancy and/or use of clichés 
  • The intended message is redundant and/or unclear in some areas 
  • Some slang is used when more formal wording is appropriate 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy with few exceptions 

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • Writing reflects a limited vocabulary 
  • Language is vague and abstract 
  • Inappropriate slang is used 
  • Clichés and/or jargon distracts the reader 
  • Words/phrases are used incorrectly 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or inaccurate 
  • Sentences are choppy and fail to reflect variation and/or clarity 
Word Choice and Fluency 

Strong (5 points) 

  • Words/phrases are specific, adequate and accurate 
  • Words convey the intended message in an interesting, precise and natural way 
  • Slang is avoided; wording is formal 
  • Imagery is strong 
  • The writing has an easy to read “flow” and good connections 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy 

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Words/phrases are almost always correct and adequate 
  • There is some redundancy and/or use of clichés 
  • The intended message is redundant and/or unclear in some areas 
  • Some slang is used when more formal wording is appropriate 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy with few exceptions 

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • Writing reflects a limited vocabulary 
  • Language is vague and abstract 
  • Inappropriate slang is used 
  • Clichés and/or jargon distracts the reader 
  • Words/phrases are used incorrectly 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or inaccurate 
  • Sentences are choppy and fail to reflect variation and/or clarity 
Criminal Justice Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions

Choose one of the scenarios below. Write an essay on the topic of choice. Your essay must be a minimum of four (4) full pages. The essay must be typed in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, with one inch margins.

Scenario I
Describe a situation within your professional experience where leadership succeeded or failed.  In your assessment, explain the “forces” which contributed to the foundations for or obstacles to success.

Scenario II
Frame an argument for or against the following statement: “Organizational change is more difficult for a new leader than a leader with history within the system.”

Scenario III
Often it is said that law enforcement organizations are quasi-military in nature.  Describe what this means and give examples.  What structure do you think works best in a civilian police agency and why?

Scenario IV
Describe why you want to obtain a Master of Criminal Justice degree. How you will use it and specifically why you want to be part of this program at Columbia College?

Essay Scoring Rubric

Content and Organization

Strong (5 points)

  • The paper is clear, focused and grammatically correct 
  • The writer expresses ideas well, they are explicit and clear 
  • There are appropriate connections throughout 
  • Relevant information is provided in a thorough but succinct way 
  • Paragraphs contain relevant anecdotes and details and are well constructed 
  • Transitions are clear, smooth and used appropriately 
  • The paper is organized well; flows smoothly 
  • The paper has a recognizable introduction and conclusion
  • The content is thorough and accurately reflects the questions/statements that were to be addressed 

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Ideas are reasonably clear and purposeful but need to be more explicit, detailed or personalized 
  • Minor grammatical errors 
  • Minor sections of the paper are not clearly articulated 
  • Most paragraphs contain relevant anecdotes and details 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or needed in some areas 
  • Organization would benefit from additional editing in order to flow smoothly 
  • Introduction and conclusion could be more specific 
  • The content needs more depth with regard to the questions/statements that were to be addressed

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • The paper has no clear sense of purpose or central theme 
  • Information is very limited or unclear 
  • Frequent grammatical errors 
  • Paper lacks clarity in a number of areas 
  • Transitions are missing or minimal 
  • Lacks good organization throughout 
  • Introduction and conclusion are vague 
  • The content did not adequately and/or accurately address the questions/statements that were to be addressed 
Word Choice and Fluency 

Strong (5 points) 

  • Words/phrases are specific, adequate and accurate 
  • Words convey the intended message in an interesting, precise and natural way 
  • Slang is avoided; wording is formal 
  • Imagery is strong 
  • The writing has an easy to read “flow” and good connections 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy 

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Words/phrases are almost always correct and adequate 
  • There is some redundancy and/or use of clichés 
  • The intended message is redundant and/or unclear in some areas 
  • Some slang is used when more formal wording is appropriate 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy with few exceptions 

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • Writing reflects a limited vocabulary 
  • Language is vague and abstract 
  • Inappropriate slang is used 
  • Clichés and/or jargon distracts the reader 
  • Words/phrases are used incorrectly 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or inaccurate 
  • Sentences are choppy and fail to reflect variation and/or clarity 
Divergent Learning Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions 

Choose one of the three scenarios below and write a two to three page essay on the topic. The essay must be typed in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, and with one inch margins. 

Scenario I
You are a teacher (regular classroom, special areas, special education, or another area in your specialty). You have observed a student of yours who is obviously capable of average to high-level performance, but consistently performs poorly. Write about some strategies you believe would assist this student to become a successful learner.

Scenario II
You are a teacher in a small rural school district that serves students from predominantly low-income families. The school district consistently has performed poorly in standardized assessments, and teachers and administrators are under constant pressure to improve academic performance. Prompted by a recent round of state budget cuts, the district superintendent has recommended that the school board cut all arts programs and divert the funds to remediation in reading and math. Discuss the impact that you feel this policy would have on your students, including your opinion of the role of the arts in education.

Scenario III
You have been assigned the responsibility to provide on-the-job training to a fellow employee. Your supervisor has asked you to provide the greatest opportunities for this person's success. How would you structure a training program for this individual? Discuss some of the strategies you would employ.

Essay Scoring Rubric

Writing

4 Points 
The paper is consistently clear, well organized, and unified around a central thesis. Examples and details not only exist but are also used in a manner that impresses the reader with the paper’s solid development and with the writer’s knowledge and careful thinking. The presence of the writer’s “voice” is apparent. Any departure from standard English grammar and mechanics is rare and unobtrusive. This paper is well written. 

2-3 Points 
The paper addresses the topic and maintains a generally acceptable and clear mode of writing. A thesis is present and is developed with sufficient illustrations. The organization of the essay gives the reader a sense of completeness. Occasional errors in grammar and mechanics might exist but are not serious enough or frequent enough to hinder the reader’s understanding. 

1 Point
The paper addresses the topic in a general but not unified and coherent way. No specific thesis is evident and/or the student did not develop the thesis with relevant details and examples. Little effort is made to present the essay in an organized fashion. Some errors in grammar, usage, spelling, and/or punctuation hinder the reader’s understanding. 

0 Points
The paper fits one of these criteria:

  • the essay was too short to be assessed;
  • it is so illegible that it cannot be read and understood;
  • it is written completely “off topic;”
  • frequent errors in grammar, usage, spelling, and/or punctuation hinder the reader’s understanding.
Knowledge

4 Points 
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has a strong grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Supporting references were included in the writing sample. Strong evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

2-3 Points
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has some grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Some evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

1 Point 
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has a limited grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Little evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

0 Points
The paper fits one of the above 3 criteria or the applicant’s response to the prompt indicates no comprehension of current educational paradigms or experience in dealing with issues that face educators. No evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

Dispositions

4 Points
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects an excellent understanding of students’ needs, and/or much evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

2-3 Points
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects reasonable understanding of students’ needs, and/or some evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

1 Point
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects little understanding of students’ needs, and/or little evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

0 Points
The paper fits one of the above 3 criteria or the attitude conveyed by the paper reflects no understanding of students’ needs. No evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

Business Administration Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions

Prompt 1

Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. What has led you to want an MBA? How do you plan to use your MBA to grow in the future?

Prompt 2

With your background and professional experience what unique values do you bring to enrich the learning experience at Columbia College’s MBA ?

Prompt 3

Choose one important personal achievement to discuss. Share how this achievement has made a significant impact on your life choices and aspirations.

Essay Scoring Rubric

Download and view the MBA essay rubric.

Organizational Leadership Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions

Prompt 1

  • Describe in detail how you perceive the role of a leader in an organization.
  • What are the determining factors related to leadership failure and leadership success?
  • Provide your personal leadership statement.

Prompt 2 

  • Describe how organizational leadership in the 21st century differs from organizational leadership in the 20th century.
  • Explain what leadership attributes are critical for a successful 21st century leader.
  • Provide your personal leadership statement. 

Prompt 3 

  • Describe in detail how you perceive the role of followers in an organization.
  • What are the determining factors related to how effectively others follow a leader?
  • Provide your personal leadership statement.

Essay Scoring Rubric

Content and Organization

Strong (5 points)

  • The paper is clear, focused and grammatically correct 
  • The writer expresses ideas well, they are explicit and clear 
  • There are appropriate connections throughout 
  • Relevant information is provided in a thorough but succinct way 
  • Paragraphs contain relevant anecdotes and details and are well constructed 
  • Transitions are clear, smooth and used appropriately 
  • The paper is organized well; flows smoothly 
  • The paper has a recognizable introduction and conclusion
  • The content is thorough and accurately reflects the questions/statements that were to be addressed 

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Ideas are reasonably clear and purposeful but need to be more explicit, detailed or personalized 
  • Minor grammatical errors 
  • Minor sections of the paper are not clearly articulated 
  • Most paragraphs contain relevant anecdotes and details 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or needed in some areas 
  • Organization would benefit from additional editing in order to flow smoothly 
  • Introduction and conclusion could be more specific 
  • The content needs more depth with regard to the questions/statements that were to be addressed

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • The paper has no clear sense of purpose or central theme 
  • Information is very limited or unclear 
  • Frequent grammatical errors 
  • Paper lacks clarity in a number of areas 
  • Transitions are missing or minimal 
  • Lacks good organization throughout 
  • Introduction and conclusion are vague 
  • The content did not adequately and/or accurately address the questions/statements that were to be addressed 
Word Choice and Fluency 

Strong (5 points) 

  • Words/phrases are specific, adequate and accurate 
  • Words convey the intended message in an interesting, precise and natural way 
  • Slang is avoided; wording is formal 
  • Imagery is strong 
  • The writing has an easy to read “flow” and good connections 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy 

Acceptable (3-4 points) 

  • Words/phrases are almost always correct and adequate 
  • There is some redundancy and/or use of clichés 
  • The intended message is redundant and/or unclear in some areas 
  • Some slang is used when more formal wording is appropriate 
  • The sentence structure reflects variation and grammatical accuracy with few exceptions 

Unacceptable (1-2 points) 

  • Writing reflects a limited vocabulary 
  • Language is vague and abstract 
  • Inappropriate slang is used 
  • Clichés and/or jargon distracts the reader 
  • Words/phrases are used incorrectly 
  • Transitions are awkward and/or inaccurate 
  • Sentences are choppy and fail to reflect variation and/or clarity 
Higher Education Essay Instructions and Scoring Rubric

Essay Instructions

Choose one of the scenarios below and write a two to three page essay on the topic. The essay must be typed in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, and with one inch margins.

If you currently work in an approved area of higher education:

Topic I
How would the skills and knowledge taught in the M. Ed. in Higher Education program enhance your current career in higher education and meet your personal goals?

Topic II
What challenges, obstacles, or successes did you experience in college that have given you the desire to work in the field of higher education?

If you do not currently work in an approved area of higher education:

Topic III
What factors have influenced you to choose to earn a degree in the field of higher education? Mention the particular area of higher education in which you are most interested and why.

Topic IV
Describe the personal experiences that have shaped your desire to work in higher education. Mention how you hope to impact the experiences of future generations of college students and your personal philosophy of the impact of higher education.

Essay Scoring Rubric

Writing

4 Points 
The paper is consistently clear, well organized, and unified around a central thesis. Examples and details not only exist but are also used in a manner that impresses the reader with the paper’s solid development and with the writer’s knowledge and careful thinking. The presence of the writer’s “voice” is apparent. Any departure from standard English grammar and mechanics is rare and unobtrusive. This paper is well written. 

2-3 Points 
The paper addresses the topic and maintains a generally acceptable and clear mode of writing. A thesis is present and is developed with sufficient illustrations. The organization of the essay gives the reader a sense of completeness. Occasional errors in grammar and mechanics might exist but are not serious enough or frequent enough to hinder the reader’s understanding. 

1 Point
The paper addresses the topic in a general but not unified and coherent way. No specific thesis is evident and/or the student did not develop the thesis with relevant details and examples. Little effort is made to present the essay in an organized fashion. Some errors in grammar, usage, spelling, and/or punctuation hinder the reader’s understanding. 

0 Points
The paper fits one of these criteria:

the essay was too short to be assessed; it is so illegible that it cannot be read and understood; it is written completely “off topic;” frequent errors in grammar, usage, spelling, and/or punctuation hinder the reader’s understanding.
Knowledge

4 Points 
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has a strong grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Supporting references were included in the writing sample. Strong evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

2-3 Points
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has some grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Some evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

1 Point 
The applicant’s response to the prompt indicates that s/he has a limited grasp of current educational paradigms and experience in dealing with issues that face educators. Little evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

0 Points
The paper fits one of the above 3 criteria or the applicant’s response to the prompt indicates no comprehension of current educational paradigms or experience in dealing with issues that face educators. No evidence is provided that the applicant thinks systematically about teaching practice and strategies for facilitating learning.

Dispositions

4 Points
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects an excellent understanding of students’ needs, and/or much evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

2-3 Points
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects reasonable understanding of students’ needs, and/or some evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

1 Point
The attitude conveyed by the paper reflects little understanding of students’ needs, and/or little evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.

0 Points
The paper fits one of the above 3 criteria or the attitude conveyed by the paper reflects no understanding of students’ needs. No evidence is provided to indicate that the applicant is a collaborative professional.