5 = Outstanding
4 = Good (effective but not quite exemplary)
3 = Average (adequate but needs improvement)
2 = Weak (deficient and needs substantial improvement)
1 = Poor (severely deficient)
0 = Missing/Omitted
• The essay is scored holistically. The numbers above are used to indicate the relative strengths and weaknesses in each area below.
1. Format: The essay is typed using size 12 Times New Roman font; it is formatted according to MLA requirements (see Purdue Online Writing Lab), with last name and page number at the top right corner of each page, and an appropriate heading (name, professor’s name, course title, and date – e.g., 9 December 2020) at the upper left corner of the first page.
2. Structure: This assignment is structured as a letter, with a salutation (Dear Tammy,), a multi-paragraphed message with at least two full pages of content, a closing, and a signature (e.g., Senator Tammy Duckworth). You can, if you choose, sign your name in a way that projects how you envision your future self: Attorney Sheila Saunders, for example.
3. Premise: The “Note to Self”, either directly or indirectly, makes clear the age or stage in life of the younger self being addressed in the letter. As in Senator Tammy Duckworth’s model letter, your message establishes context, describing specific situations and emotions the younger self is experiencing. The writer displays empathy and clarifies the purpose of this message: to inform, enlighten, and encourage.
4. Content: The letter focuses on Education – the person as a reader, writer, and learner. What will your experiences teach you? What pivotal events will shape your education, your interests, motivations, and your academic goals? What comments can you make about study habits, time management, discipline, and commitment to academics?
5. Content: The letter focuses on Career – the person’s employment and professional background and aspirations. What will your experiences teach you? What pivotal events will shape your career, your interests, motivations, and your professional goals? What comments can you make about the personal qualities associated with success in your chosen profession?
6. Content: The letter focuses on Relationships – the person’s important interactions with others (as a son or daughter, a sibling, a parent, a romantic partner, etc.). What will you learn about relationships? What lessons will you learn about love and romance? What comments can you make about strengths and weaknesses in your interactions with people in your life?
7. Content: The letter focuses on Life Lessons – the defining events and lessons learned from them. (These lessons should explore new terrain and not revisit anything previously discussed. Examples: the importance of political activism; the wisdom of putting money aside for a “rainy day”; the necessity of maintaining a proper exercise regime and getting regular checkups at the doctor’s office; the advantages of mastering impulse control; etc.) Briefly reveal what will happen to you and what you will learn from these experiences. Describe how you will grow and develop in the coming years.
8. Content: The letter focuses on Advice – it presents any relevant quotes, proverbs, sayings, etc. that will offer guidance as your younger self navigates life. The letter concludes optimistically, giving your younger self a glimpse of what is possible in the future (closely examine the final two paragraphs of Duckworth’s letter to get a sense of how she projects an optimistic future to her younger self).
__ 9. Writing Quality: The letter is composed in formal academic English. There are no comma splices, run-on sentences, or sentence fragments. The letter is free of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. The writer has carefully proofread the letter and has eliminated “typos” and other careless errors.