12/14/15 How to Write the IDP Rationale Essay The IDP Rationale

How to Write the IDP Rationale Essay
The IDP Rationale Essay will explain your background, your personal or professional goals, and
your proposed degree to the reviewers who will be approving your proposal. Use the guidelines
below to structure your essay (you may include sub-headings). Consider these prompts as you
would a group of short-answer essay questions on an exam. At the top of your first page, include
your name, 900#, and “IDP Rational Essay: [your title].” The finished essay should be three to five
pages (12-pt, double-spaced).
1. Introduction (1-2 paragraphs)
Introduce yourself by reflecting on your background, life experiences, educational
history, and/or professional goals, particularly as they all relate to the courses you
have taken in college. To transition to the next section, briefly introduce your IDP
2. IDP Title (1 paragraph)
Concisely define and describe the proposed field of study encapsulated in your title.
How might you explain this title to future employers or graduate programs?
3. IDP Content (3-4 paragraphs)
Discuss why you have chosen to include specific courses (include course numbers
and names) and/or clusters of courses. How do the courses relate to and support
your IDP title and goals? What do you need to know to succeed in your field of study
and how do these courses help?
4. Senior Experience (1 paragraph, for majors only)
Identify your Senior Experience and explain how it provides a culmination to your
major. How does this course help integrate your learning or allow you to apply
knowledge to a particular problem or context? If your Senior Experience is not a
course from the catalog list of approved courses, address how the chosen course
meets the criteria of a Senior Experience, which allows students to:
a) synthesize learning through critical analysis and logical thinking;
b) apply theoretical constructs to practical application;
c) critique philosophical tenets and current practices;
d) integrate and refine oral and/or written communication skills; and
e) verify their experience
5. Learning Outcomes (1-2 paragraphs)
On the next page, you will find a list of learning outcomes or competencies that
national organizations have identified as crucial to every undergraduate degree.
Identify 3-5 of these learning outcomes and explain how you have accomplished
these competencies throughout your college career.
6. Conclusion (1 paragraph)
What types of contributions to society will you be prepared to make once you
graduate with your degree? How will the IDP help you achieve your specific postdegree ambitions (job, graduate school, starting a business or agency, etc.)? How has
the degree transformed your thinking and learning?
Key Learning Outcomes from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (VALUE rubrics)
Civic engagement: "working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of
knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference." (Excerpted from Civic Responsibility and Higher Education,
edited by Thomas Ehrlich, published by Oryx Press, 2000, Preface, page vi.) In addition, civic engagement encompasses actions
wherein individuals participate in activities of personal and public concern that are both individually life enriching and socially
beneficial to the community.
Creative thinking: both the capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the
experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent
thinking, and risk taking.
Critical thinking: a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, artifacts, and events before
accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.
Ethical reasoning: reasoning about right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical
values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical
perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students’ ethical selfidentity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.
Foundations and skills for lifelong learning: “all purposeful learning activity, undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of
improving knowledge, skills, and competence”. An endeavor of higher education is to prepare students to be this type of
learner by developing specific dispositions and skills described in this rubric while in school.
Global Learning: a critical analysis of and an engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as
natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.
Through global learning, students should 1) become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to
diversity across the spectrum of differences, 2) seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities,
and 3) address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably.
Information literacy: the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and
effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand.
Inquiry and analysis: Inquiry is a systematic process of exploring issues, objects, or works through the collection and analysis of
evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments. Analysis is the process of breaking complex topics or issues into
parts to gain a better understanding of them.
Integrative and applied learning: an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and cocurriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new,
complex situations within and beyond the campus.
Intercultural Knowledge: a systematic way to measure our capacity to identify our own cultural patterns, compare and contrast
them with others, and adapt empathically and flexibly to unfamiliar ways of being. This knowledge should encompass verbal
and nonverbal communication strategies and openness to diversity.
Oral communication: a prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to
promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
Problem Solving: the ability to define a problem and then design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer an open-ended
question or achieve a desired goal.
Teamwork: cultivates individual and group behavior to accomplish a team goal (including individual efforts towards team tasks,
effective interactions with others on team, and contributions to team discussions) and the ability to foster a constructive team
Written communication: the development and expression of ideas in writing. Written communication involves learning to work
in many genres and styles. It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images.
Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum.