Rationale Essay Samples

One-column Associate Degree Annotated Rationale Essay

SAMPLE

I’d always had a passion for arts and humanities, in particular visual and theater arts as well as psychology, sociology, and the overall human condition. [s1] It’s fascinating to marry the arts and social sciences, especially in fields such as social theater. I didn’t actually participate in theater arts until my adulthood, but I did indulge my creativity by taking art courses before I came to ESC. I also worked as a visual merchandiser/display person for department stores. Once I realized that gig “didn’t pay the bills”, I moved on to secure a job at ____ knowing it would prove meaningful and cater to helping others.

I am driven to get my associate degree for personal satisfaction. [s2] Learning has become an exploration of knowledge for the sheer enjoyment of it versus doing assignments or taking tests to get a good grade or upping my GPA. I am currently working in my company’s Driver Safety program which has been in existence since 1979. This program proves to be both complex and rewarding due to its size and scope because of its cadre of 7,000 volunteers throughout the U.S. and its territories that teach safe driving courses with a focus on the older driver to over 400,000 participants annually. Ultimately, the degree could help me move beyond being in an administrative support role and into a project manager position. I do not need a degree in any particular area in order to move up in my organization; the fact that I will have a degree is what is important. [s3]

Though securing the Associate’s degree is the primary goal, it was my desire to study areas that interested me by exploring different types of courses that in some way relate to one another whether directly or indirectly. History fits with sociology, which fits with psychology, while weaving in the art mediums at times. I look at things holistically instead of in a siloed manner, and I tended to choose courses that interested me at that time, or that I felt had relevance to what I was doing. [s4] I specifically chose a course in management principles because there’s a business side to everything. For example, Driver Safety helps by saving lives and is “in it” for the greater social good but there’s also a business and complex operational side to running this type of program that we national staff must understand, as we offer solutions to help our volunteers do their jobs better in their communities. There is also the opportunity in this program to be creative with marketing it on varying levels and in the different age and multicultural demographics that make up the older population, perhaps transcending relevance to all driving ages.

Another example of my interests and holistic outlook driving my course choice is the course, Introduction to the History of Western Architecture. This course blended history, sociology, anthropology, art, innovation with construction and technology, topography, environmental considerations, and so much more. My previous studies in the arts laid good foundation for this study. There are other linkages that I see in my courses as well: psychology and sociology link with management and professional and interpersonal communications. Health and Human Services links with Theatre, HIV, and Community Health. All of my courses will give me a well-rounded Associate’s degree so I can figure out what I want to do later on, even beyond a career at ____. [s5] I know that things can change, and want to address both my various interests and a variety of possibilities in my degree.

I have dealt with change on a personal level. [s6] My husband recently suffered a spinal cord injury rendering him quadriplegic, but because he received such good care and we both received such a good education, I learned to care for his specialized needs. The rehabilitation hospital focused not only on the importance of daily and preventive care but also on recreation therapy, life skills, and more. They instilled in us the understanding that anything is possible, but we may have to figure out a different way to do it. They taught us to be innovative oftentimes by coming up with the simplest solution(s). At this point, we have learned so much that I feel that we could both counsel others undergoing this situation. Our current lives are even better because we both look at things in a more positive light as a result of our rehabilitation training. I am now advising nurses and other health care professionals, psychotherapists, and social workers on my husband’s care, because I am so knowledgeable about his situation. It opened doors for skills I never realized I possessed.

My husband and I have laid the foundation for living our new normal life in the first couple of years so 2012 has become the year for new goals for ourselves, both personally and as a couple. We are not going to be complacent but continue to “push the envelope.” I foresee more exploration in health, psychology/counseling, and even recreational therapy/arts, beyond my Associate degree.

The ESC guidelines for interdisciplinary associate degrees state that “A common reason for choosing the Interdisciplinary Studies area of study is when students are either not yet prepared or do not wish to construct a comprehensive concentration or focus. In this case, all studies are listed within a single column and the program can be regarded as somewhat comparable to a broad liberal arts or social science major at local community colleges.” [s7]

Although I am not subject to general education, because my matriculation date was 1997, I have a broad spectrum of studies in my degree, comparable to a broad general associate degree. For example different areas covered are: Social Science, American History, Western Civilization, Other World Civilization, Humanities, The Arts, and Basic Communication. [s8]

The last course I am taking, Would You Still Love Me If You Knew?: Theatre, HIV, and Community Health, an advanced level of participatory learning with an intensive, rewarding 3-day residency program, is the perfect culmination to this degree because it encompasses all of my interests and most of my classes by taking a deeper dive into what I’ve studied and taken an interest in thus far: sociology, psychology, health and human services, communication skills, history, and theatre arts. [s9] It took the academic experience to a whole other level because the professor, junior faculty members, and graduate students who facilitated the residency learned from us and our well-thought out verbal reactions to each learning opportunity within the class. This class left me breathless with knowledge and yet thirsting for more. It opened my eyes and mind about a culture vastly different than my own by using social theater, non-traditional theater to grapple with the complex layers of health issues within this culture.

Even though my immediate goal is to secure an Associate degree, I plan to move on to secure a Bachelor’s degree where I will explore more of the aforementioned subject matters and will likely plan to focus in a particular area of studies having to do with the arts and humanities for both personal and professional enrichment and growth.

NOTES:

Comment [s1]: The student offers a reflection on her learning interests.

Comment [s2]: The student talks about her primary motivation for getting her A.S. degree.

Comment [s3]: The student talks about a professional goal.

Comment [s4]: The student explains her rationale behind some of her course choices, which relates to her thoughts about education.

Comment [s5]: The student explains that her goal was a well-rounded degree; she included courses in a number of areas to address that goal.

Comment [s6]: The student, by her own choice, decided to share some of her background, eventually relating it to possibilities for her future study.

See the associated degree program plan.

The student offers a reflection on her learning interests.

The student talks about her primary motivation for getting her A.S. degree.

The student talks about a professional goal.

The student explains her rationale behind some of her course choices, which relates to her thoughts about education.

The student explains that her goal was a well-rounded degree; she included courses in a number of areas to address that goal.

The student, by her own choice, decided to share some of her background, eventually relating it to possibilities for her future study.

B.S. Degree Annotated Rationale Essay

SAMPLE

Introduction

I completed my associate degree three years ago, and as I am getting closer to the completion of my bachelors degree, my outlook now is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The process has been very long, and at times I became frustrated with myself, but I’ve prevailed. Completing college is essential if I want to be successful and competitive in today’s economic environment, but most importantly, I have a 20 and a 15 year old, that I need to continue to set an example for — that is essentially what drives me to complete my degree. [s1]

Academic Expectations

My goal is to complete a bachelor degree in Business, Management, and Economics with a concentration in Marketing, especially concentrating in markets for the multicultural segments in the United States. [s2] Additionally, I want to focus generally on the cultures of segmented groups and how to market to those specific cultures from a knowledgeable perspective. As such, I have designed a concentration that interweaves those broader elements of culture (how humans understand their worlds and the contexts in which they understand them) with a study of different groups that represent major ethnic groups within the United States — after all this is the direction that this country is headed for. Although I have changed my degree plan several times I seem to always come back to marketing, coupled with a focus on multicultural marketing. This country will continue to develop into a diverse society; it will be essential for companies that want to market their products to the diverse consumer to understand the various multicultural consumers in the U.S.

According to The University of San Francisco School of Business, business leaders need a sophisticated understanding of their target audiences – often multiple audiences with significant differences of race, culture, and, of course, gender. The University of San Francisco Multicultural Marketing curriculum is designed to give the student the skills needed to market successfully to many demanding, though sometimes very subtly different cultural groups. Their multicultural marketing curriculum adds Marketing Research, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management, and three courses dealing with culture to the standard expectations for a business degree. Blending these with ESC guidelines, I have marketing Research, Consumer Behavior, and multiple courses that provide insight into different cultures (e.g., American Ethnic History, Sex and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Caribbean History and Culture).

I have introductory marketing from Colorado Technical University, and will take the Marketing Communications, Marketing Research, and Consumer Behavior courses at ESC.

The ESC Area of Study Guidelines for a concentration in Marketing also state that students who work in Marketing need to develop skills in “critical reading, interpretation, and writing. Students should have an understanding of ethics, globalization, diversity and cross-cultural differences, and organizations.” Students pursuing upper-level work in Marketing should acquire conceptual vocabularies, knowledge of sources, and critical skills appropriate to their areas of focus or lines of inquiry.” I will gain the critical reading, interpretation, and writing skills in all of my upper-level courses, and especially my upper-level courses in marketing, which require analysis and advanced-level writing skills. I address the ethics guideline in my course in Marketing Communication, which has a strong “focus on ethical issues confronting marketers.” I address the globalization guideline with courses such as E-Business and Marketing and the Virtual Marketplace. I have addressed the organizations guideline through my course in Organizational Behavior Principles. And I have addressed the guideline about diversity through my many courses dealing with culture.

I want to combine the more specific focus on marketing with a more general focus on ethnic groups and culture, or the context in which marketers operate. Although the courses that provide these ethnic and cultural perspectives are not in my concentration, they do provide important background for my concentration, given my goals to focus on marketing to diverse populations. [s5] To provide a broad sociological perspective, I have included a course in American Social Problems, which provides an introduction to sociological concepts. To provide historical, artistic, sociological, philosophical, and cross-cultural perspectives, I have included American Ethnic History, Sex and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Television and Culture, American Ethnic History, Artistic Expression in a Multicultural America, and Cultural Anthropology. All of these courses provide a broad investigation of the concept of “social and cultural norms and belief systems,” and create a good understanding of social, creative, philosophical, and historical contexts in which I am applying the concepts of marketing. These courses will help fulfill my general goals of completing a bachelor degree in marketing, and gaining a focus to better understand ethnic groups within the U.S. The classes in Cultural Studies will give me an in-depth insight into the concept of culture and a better understanding of being in someone else’s shoes — so to speak.

Lastly, I have addressed the ESC General Business guidelines in my degree. These guidelines state that students need to show knowledge in the following: [s6]

  • Communication skills – I have courses in Communications for Professionals and Interpersonal and Small Group Communications.
  • Information management – I have a course in Information Design and I have extensive knowledge utilizing an information system designed to disseminate information at my workplace.
  • Economics – I have a course in Principles of Economics 2.
  • Ethical and social responsibility – My course in Marketing Communications has a strong focus on ethics in marketing.
  • Quantitative skills – I have courses in Statistics: An Activity Based Approach and Marketing Research.
  • Understanding people in an organizational context – I have courses in Organizational Behavior Principles and Managing Human Resources. Additional courses such as Sex and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective provide deeper understanding of people in an organizational context.
  • Understanding organizations within broader contexts – I have courses in Marketing and the Virtual Marketplace and E-Business. My extensive experience working in a large non-profit organization, along with my courses dealing with various cultures, creates a good understanding of organizations within a broader context.

I have also addressed the SUNY General Education guidelines in my overall degree plan. [s8] My range of courses includes Television and Culture (humanities), Statistics (math), Human Nutrition (natural science), American Social Problems (social science), College Reading and Composition (basic communication), American Ethnic History (American history), Ballet & Artistic Expression in a Multicultural America (the arts), Cultural Patterns in Western Civilization (western civilization), and Caribbean History and Culture and Cultural Anthropology (other world civilizations). Many of my general education courses helped to create my liberal arts associate degree. I have covered nine of the ten general education areas with over 50 credits of general education. I have addressed the ESC guidelines for a degree in Business, Management & Economics with a concentration in Marketing as well as the SUNY General Education requirements in my degree plan.

Professional Expectations

These careers will require my expertise in marketing, communication, and knowledge of the world’s cultures and how to interact within diverse communities. Additionally, I have numerous work experiences in the Music & Film Industries, and the nation’s largest non-profit organization that allows me to work with a diverse group of people, coupled with my academic learning which will add to my repertoire of communication, creativity, and inclusion. The ability to effectively communicate with my colleagues through written communication, and to use computer application programs to heighten my presentations, the understanding of the specific demographics that we need to reach, and knowing the proper marketing plan to implement will all collectively aid in my ability to develop a successful professional career in marketing.

Conclusion

The decision to attend SUNY/Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning may not perhaps be the most traditional method, but was by-far the best decision to complete my education. In certainty, having the knowledge and fortitude to successfully move up the ladder to a career that I will enjoy for many years to come was my motivation. If I decide to pursue a master’s degree it will more than likely be after by 15-year-old son finishes high school and is on his way to college — to begin just what I have successfully completed. Currently, at my job there will be tremendous opportunities for growth in the multi-cultural communities in the California regions; this coupled with an Empire State College Business Degree with a concentration in Marketing will enable me to be more competitive as I strive to climb the ladder of success. [s10]

NOTES:

Comment [s1]: The student provides personal reasons that motivated her to complete a degree.

Comment [s2]: The student clearly states her Area of Study and Concentration. Additionally, she indicates briefly how she has individualized her concentration by focusing on multicultural marketing. The rest of this paragraph deals with her educational goals.

Comment [s3]: The student offers her research, providing evidence that the concentration she designed is academically valid. Because ESC guidelines deal with marketing concentrations in general, and do not specifically include information about multicultural marketing concentrations, the student researched another college that did offer that focus. She used the information she found to help understand and realize her goals; she knew that she did NOT have to mimic the other college’s program exactly. The rest of this section presents her research and conclusions based on that research.

Comment [s4]: The student clearly refers to the ESC Area of Study Guidelines and shows in this section how she has addressed those expectations in her concentration.

Comment [s5]: The student explains her individualized focus here, and talks about how courses in her general learning support and integrate with her concentration courses.

Comment [s6]: The student explains how she has addressed the general business guidelines as well as the specific concentration guidelines. Both general and specific guidelines are important, as each one identifies somewhat different areas of skills and knowledge that are expected in this type of degree.

Comment [s7]: Here the student reflects briefly on the importance of certain liberal arts courses to marketing professionals.

Comment [s8]: The student explains briefly how she is fulfilling the SUNY General Education Requirement.

Comment [s9]: The student briefly explains her research into potential career paths, conducted through interviews with professionals at her current place of employment. She reflects on how she has developed important skills related to these career paths.

Comment [s10]: A nice way to close, as this last paragraph parallels the thoughts in the introduction.

The student provides personal reasons that motivated her to complete a degree.

The student clearly states her Area of Study and Concentration. Additionally, she indicates briefly how she has individualized her concentration by focusing on multicultural marketing. The rest of this paragraph deals with her educational goals.

The student offers her research, providing evidence that the concentration she designed is academically valid. Because ESC guidelines deal with marketing concentrations in general, and do not specifically include information about multicultural marketing concentrations, the student researched another college that did offer that focus. She used the information she found to help understand and realize her goals; she knew that she did NOT have to mimic the other college’s program exactly. The rest of this section presents her research and conclusions based on that research.

The student clearly refers to the ESC Area of Study Guidelines and shows in this section how she has addressed those expectations in her concentration.

The student explains her individualized focus here, and talks about how courses in her general learning support and integrate with her concentration courses.

The student explains how she has addressed the general business guidelines as well as the specific concentration guidelines. Both general and specific guidelines are important, as each one identifies somewhat different areas of skills and knowledge that are expected in this type of degree.

Here the student reflects briefly on the importance of certain liberal arts courses to marketing professionals.

The student explains briefly how she is fulfilling the SUNY General Education Requirement.

The student briefly explains her research into potential career paths, conducted through interviews with professionals at her current place of employment. She reflects on how she has developed important skills related to these career paths.

A nice way to close, as this last paragraph parallels the thoughts in the introduction.

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