Personal Essay (Expressive Essay)
Grade 12—College Application
You will write a college application essay using one of the prompts provided for you or a prompt that is required for
a college/university to which you are applying. This essay must comply with all parameters specified in the
The Rubric (Based on 6+1 Trait Writing Model)
CATEGORY 9-8 7-6 5-4 3-2 1
Introduction The introduction is The introduction is The introduction clearly The introduction states There is no clear
(Organization) inviting and compelling, inviting, states the main states the main topic the main topic, but does introduction of the main
states the main topic topic and previews the and previews the not adequately preview topic or structure of
and previews the structure of the paper. structure of the paper, the structure of the the paper. The
structure of the paper. The introduction but is not necessarily paper nor is it introduction is lacking a
The introduction includes an effective inviting to the reader. particularly inviting to hook or attention
includes an effective hook or attention The introduction the reader. The grabber.
hook or attention grabber that catches includes an effective introduction includes a
grabber that catches the reader’s attention. hook or attention hook or attention
the reader’s attention. grabber that attempts grabber that attempts
to catch the reader’s to catch the reader’s
Sequencing Details are placed in a Details are placed in a Details are placed in a Some details are not in Many details are not in a
(Organization) logical order and the logical order and the logical order, but the a logical or expected logical or expected
way they are presented way they are presented way in which they are order, and this distracts order. There is little
effectively keeps the effectively keeps the presented sometimes the reader. sense that the writing is
interest of the reader interest of the reader. makes the writing less organized.
and maintains momentum interesting.
of the essay.
Focus on Topic There is one clear, well- There is one clear, well- Main idea is clear, but Main idea is somewhat The main idea is not
(Content) focused topic. The main focused topic. Main the supporting clear but there is a need clear. There is a
idea stands out, is idea stands out and is information is general. for more supporting seemingly random
central in the paper, and supported by detailed information. collection of
is supported by detailed information. information.
Support for Topic Relevant, telling quality Relevant, quality details Supporting details and Supporting details or Supporting details are
(Content) details give the reader give the reader information are information is relevant, typically unclear or not
important information important information relevant, but one key but several key issues or related to the topic.
that goes beyond the about all aspects of the issue or portion of the points of the essay are
obvious or predictable. essay. essay is unsupported. unsupported.
Conclusion The conclusion is strong The conclusion is The reader is The conclusion is There is no clear
(Organization) and leaves the reader recognizable and leaves recognizable and recognizable, but does conclusion; the paper
with a clear point and the reader with a clear attempts to tie up all not tie up all loose ends. just ends.
purpose. point and purpose. loose ends.
Voice The writer’s voice comes The writer’s voice comes An effort is made to An effort is made to Author voice and style
through diction and through diction and show the writer’s voice show the writer’s voice are lacking from the
syntax, giving a sense of syntax, showing style, through diction and through diction and essay. There is no clear
the person speaking and but lacks refinement. syntax, but is used syntax, but it is used voice that conveys any
definitive style. The The voice gives the inconsistently. The very infrequently. importance of the
voice is compelling and reader a sense of the voice gives the reader There is minimal voice in subject to the reader.
gives the reader a true writer and the some sense of the terms of giving the
sense of the importance of the importance of the reader a sense of the
significance of the subject to the writer, subject to the writer, importance of the
subject to the writer. but is not as powerful as but the significance of subject to the reader.
a “5”. that subject may be
Sentence Fluency Every paragraph has Most paragraphs have Half of the paragraphs Some sentences vary in Sentences rarely vary in
sentences that vary in sentences that vary in have sentences that length. length.
length. length. vary in length.
Conventions Writer makes no errors Writer makes 1-2 errors Writer makes 3-4 Writer makes 5 errors Writer makes more than
in grammar and spelling in grammar and spelling errors in grammar and in grammar and spelling 5 errors in grammar or
that distract from the that distract from the spelling that distract that distract from the spelling that distracts
content. content. from the content. content. the reader from
Word Choice Writer uses vivid words Writer uses vivid words Writer uses vivid words Writer uses words that Writer uses a limited
and phrases that linger that linger or draw and phrases that linger communicate clearly, but vocabulary that does not
or draw pictures in the pictures in the reader’s or draw pictures in the the writing lacks variety communicate strongly or
reader’s mind, and the mind, and the choice and reader’s mind, but the and style. capture the reader’s
choice and placement of placement of the words words are used interest. Clichés may be
the words seems seems accurate and inaccurately. present and detract
accurate and natural. natural. from meaning.