Prompt | Reflexive Exit Essay | University Studies | Liberal Arts

Southern Illinois University



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Reflexive Exit Essay Prompt

This assignment is to be completed during your last semester at SIU Carbondale. Before your graduation application will be approved, this essay must be submitted and approved by the program director. If the program director feels the essay is inadequate, revisions may be requested. It is advised that you complete the essay early during your last semester.

There are two purposes this assignment fulfills. First, it provides the student an opportunity to assess their university experiences and reflect on how their experiences fit into their future goals. As University Studies allows the student to peruse either a generalized or highly specialized degree path, it is worthwhile at the end of the experience for the student to reflect on what they have done, identify skills they have acquired, and determine how they will move forward in their lives. Second, it provides the program director with materials to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the University Studies Program.

Students should first explain why they initially sought a college degree. Why did you enroll in a college or university? What were your goals? The student should discuss how and why these motivations and goals changed (if they did) through the course of their college career.

The student will then discuss why they selected University Studies as a major to follow during their studies. If the student started in other degree programs, they should examine and explain why they left the original program for University Studies. Why and how University Studies as a degree program was a useful path to achieve stated goals should also be discussed. As part of this, the student should examine their transcripts to look at the courses they have taken over their college career. Some questions the student should consider are: What specific skills and knowledge did you acquire? What did your course work tell you about your personal strengths and weaknesses? How have you learned to 'play to' your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses?

The student will finish the essay with a discussion of their life and career goals. They should explain what their goals are and what concrete steps they will take to achieve them. The student will identify specific knowledge and skills acquired during their degree program that will help them achieve these goals.

While the length will vary based on the individual students' experiences and writing styles, in general the papers should be 3-6 pages in length. Longer is acceptable, but shorter essays probably do not fully address the questions at hand. The essay should be double spaced and in 12-point font. It will adhere to all standards of written academic English. It will be assessed based on standards detailed in this rubric. The assessment will not affect the student's grade point average in nay way.

If the student needs any help or advice while completing this project, please contact Dr. Balkansky, the program director, at 618-453-2466 or