Description: Reflection is one distinguishing mark of a Jesuit education. It is one of five elements in the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. This video provides an overview of each component.

As graduating seniors, you are in the perfect position to reflect on your educational experiences. Some of you have been here longer than others, and you may have different plans for what to do after graduation, but you are all in the same place: this course.

Using the strategies you have developed during the term, you will reflect critically on your coursework. Keep in mind that critical reflection moves beyond simply remembering and describing what you did. You can definitely use parts of your journal in this essay, but the final product has to cohere and read as something new.

You must have a well-defined introduction and conclusion with well-developed body paragraphs that include topic sentences and effective transitions. If you incorporate outside sources—though you are not required to do so—you must seamlessly integrate them into your paper using MLA guidelines for in-text citations. Finally, your paper should adhere to MLA formatting.

Essential Features of the Assignment:

• Length: 5/6 pages
• Format: MLA
• An interesting opening paragraph that catches the reader’s attention and sets up the rest of the essay
• The tone can be informal in that you will use the first-person voice, but keep in mind that this is an academic essay that should be carefully organized and proofed
• A clear organizational structure (see suggestions below for major sections to include)
• The use of topic sentences and transitions
• The inclusion of examples, details, anecdotes to illustrate your larger points; if you say that a class changed you, include examples of how; show, don’t tell
• As part of the critical reflection process, a demonstration of how you have grown, changed, and how you will apply knowledge moving into the future
• A section on advice for incoming General Studies majors
• Careful editing and proofreading to eliminate mechanical and grammatical errors
• A conclusion that wraps up your reflection

Suggested Organization: It is appropriate to break this essay up into sections. (However, do not use extra spaces around the sections to take up space.) How you divide up the essay will be determined in part by your own preference and by how you choose to present your information.

You could organize the sections chronologically (first year, second year, etc.), by the flowchart in the Critical Reflection handout (see the four circles on the handout), by courses (easy, challenging, transformative, etc.), or by some other structure. Regardless of the pattern you choose, remember that your purpose is to reflect critically on your experiences—describing and analyzing them—and to look ahead to the future. Also, regardless of what organizational pattern you use, remember that the whole essay must flow and cohere; that is where your transitions and topic sentences will come into play. The essay should not appear to be several smaller essays (or journal assignments) stitched together.

MLA Formatting: You must adhere to MLA guidelines for formatting. This means that your essay must be double-spaced and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font with the proper heading, page numbers, and correct margins. For more information, see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide from the Purdue Online Writing Lab. You can also watch this brief tutorial. Your paper must look like this before you submit it.

MLA Citation: You are not required to include research. If you do incorporate outsides sources, though, you must adhere to MLA guidelines for documenting those sources. For more information, see the MLA guidelines for in-text citations from the Purdue Online Writing Lab. You can also watch this brief tutorial. Also, follow MLA instructions for creating a Works Cited page. For help, please watch this tutorial and this tutorial. Your Works Cited page must look like this before you submit it.

Grading: I will evaluate your paper using the SPS Writing Rubric. More specifically, I will assign the following point values to the grading criteria below:

• Readability: 20 points
• Clarity of Purpose / Thesis Statement: 10 points
• Audience Awareness: 10 points
• Support, Analysis, and Critical Thinking: 25 points
• Organization: 15 points
• Completeness and depth: 20 points

Academic Dishonesty: Please note that we take plagiarism very seriously. You cannot pass the course if you violate this policy.