University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M)
Teacher Education Program

IB/M Prompt for Fall 2017 Admission

Description of Influential Experiences and Reflective Essay

As an aspiring teacher, you have had experiences that influenced your personal development and your desire to become an educator. These experiences may have come from your education, extracurricular activities, work with children, employment, volunteer opportunities, or other more personal aspects of your life such as family or travel.

Throughout the Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) program, Neag School of Education students learn from faculty, peers, teachers, staff, and school-aged students, among others. In addition, the program learns from you. Accordingly, who you are and the experiences you bring are an important resource to you, your peers, your students, and the IB/M program as a whole.

The admissions committee would like to learn more about you, your experiences, and your desire to become a teacher. As part of your application package, complete the activities and writings below.

The pre-writing activity will help you get started. This activity will NOT be submitted as part of your application package. After you have finished the Pre-Writing Activity, write the Description of Influential Experiences. This Description is an opportunity for you to share four experiences, and what you learned from each. Last, write the Reflective Essay. The Reflective Essay gives you a chance to discuss how your experiences led you to applying for admission to the IB/M program and how your experiences might be an important resource to you, your peers, your students, and the IB/M program.

Pre-Writing Activity: Brainstorming Life Experiences

Educators draw on a range of experiences as they work to help people learn. Those experiences can be directly related to some form of teaching, but they can also be related to lessons you have learned about compassion or poverty, differences in how people learn or what it takes to maintain productive relationships. In fact, the life lessons that can help you become a high quality educator are endless. We want you to think broadly about the range of important experiences that have shaped who you are.

Start by brainstorming and creating a list of experiences that have had an impact or influence on your life. You may want to add notes about how each experience influenced you. Remember that experiences can span a broad array: education, extracurricular activities, work with children, volunteer work, employment opportunities, travel, or other more personal aspects.

This activity will not be submitted as part of your application.

Description of Influential Experiences

Select four experiences from your pre-writing activity that have influenced your interest in education. You can choose experiences that are similar or different, but it is best to select experiences that taught you different lessons. It is most important that you select four experiences that taught you important lessons and that you can explain what you learned from each experience.

Describe each experience and briefly explain what you learned from each one. For example, you may have learned something about yourself, about others, or about how organizations or communities operate. Be concise in your description of each experience and your explanation of what you learned. Your final submission should be no more than 1 page in length for all four experiences combined.

Formatting

Please format your Influential Experiences paper in the following manner:

  • 8.5″ x 11″ paper size with 1″ margins
  • double-spaced using 12 pt Times New Roman
  • save your file in Word or PDF format
  • use the following for the file name: LastName-FirstName-Experiences
    where the LastName and FirstName are your last and first name, respectively

Scoring

Your Description of Influential Experiences will be evaluated based on these criteria:

  • Identification of four influential experiences
  • Concise descriptions of each experience and a single statement on what you learned from each experience

Reflective Essay

In your Reflective Essay, explain how one or more of your experiences influenced your desire to become a teacher. Additionally, address how your experiences will contribute to your learning and the learning of others.

Before writing your essay, spend time reflecting on your experiences, planning what you want to say, and organizing your ideas. Select one or more of your experiences that best illustrates why you would like to be a teacher and how your experiences and background will contribute to your learning and the learning of others. After you have completed a draft, reread your essay and see where you can make revisions to improve the clarity, organization, content, or reflections. Finally, carefully edit your essay so that your writing is free from errors. Make sure your final essay is no more than 2 pages in length, double-spaced with a 12-point font.

You can ask someone else to read your essay and provide general feedback. However, it is important that your essay reflects your experiences, ideas, and writing ability. Therefore, you should not use someone else’s ideas or have someone else write or revise any portion of your essay

Keep in mind that there is no right answer; the admissions committee uses your Reflective Essay to learn more about you, your experiences, and your desire to become a teacher.

Formatting

Please format your Reflective Essay paper in the following manner:

  • 8.5″ x 11″ paper size with 1″ margins
  • double-spaced using 12 pt Times New Roman
  • save your file in Word or PDF format
  • use the following for the file name: LastName-FirstName-Essay
    where the LastName and FirstName are your last and first name, respectively

Scoring

Your Reflective Essay will be evaluated using these criteria:

  • Content of Reflective Essay
    • Relevance of the selected experience(s) to your intention to become a teacher and how your experiences can contribute important perspectives in the IB/M program
    • Clarity
    • Degree of self-reflection and critical thinking expressed in the essay
  • Effectiveness of written communication skills
    • Voice or individuality in expression
    • Organization that is clear, logical, and flowing
    • Effective use of sentences, phrases, and vocabulary to convey ideas
    • Accurate conventions, grammar, and mechanics