The essay discussion of goals is usually the first portion of the essay, so readers can get a sense of the context in which you’re pursuing your degree. Use these questions to help you think and write about goals:

  1. What are your personal, professional, and educational goals?
  2. How might a college degree help you to meet those goals?
    • Why do you want to pursue your degree? Provide enough background so that readers can understand the reasons that led you to pursue a degree and the results you expect to achieve by pursuing your degree. How do you intend to use your degree?
    • What knowledge, qualities, or characteristics do you hope to develop through your studies?
    • What do you want to learn through this degree? How will you combine your previous learning with new learning to develop your academic area and become a more fully-educated person? Based on any self-assessments you have done, and any previous college coursework (at ESC or other colleges), do you need to strengthen certain academic skill areas or develop certain perspectives?
  3. What degree(s) are you seeking at Empire State College?
  4. What information about your employment background and life experience is important to your academic goals and to your degree program?
    • Where would you like to be professionally in five or ten years?
    • How will your degree help you to reach your professional goals?

II. Research

  1. Which Empire State College area of study guidelines are relevant to your concentration? Explain what you learned from reviewing them.
  2. Did you review catalogs or online degree program and/or course descriptions from other colleges and universities? Be specific. Name the institutions and the programs you consulted. What did you learn from these catalogs? What courses are common to each program you reviewed?
  3. Did you consult professionals or academics who are experienced in the area of your degree program concentration? Who were they? What did you learn? Did you incorporate their advice into your degree program by adding specific studies?
  4. Did you consult a graduate program advisor or a graduate catalog if you plan to continue your studies beyond the bachelor’s level? What institution? What did you learn? How did this knowledge affect your choice of studies?
  5. Did you review journal articles, books, or chapters of books? What did you read? What did you learn? How did this knowledge affect your choice of studies?
  6. Did you investigate employment or career opportunities? How? What did you learn? How did this knowledge affect your choice of studies?

III. Overall Degree Program Design

  1. What is the framework or organization of your degree?
  2. Why did you choose this framework or organization? How does it best meet your goals?
  3. What is your area of study? Why did you chose that area? How does it best meet your goals?

IV. Concentration

  1. What is your concentration? Are you using an established concentration with guidelines or have your developed your own? If you have developed your own concentration, how have you organized it?
  2. How does your concentration best meet your goals? How does it represent the learning that you have acquired?
  3. How does your concentration meet the area of study guidelines? If you have developed your own concentration, how have you designed it to meet the area of study guidelines?
  4. Are all the studies listed in the concentration column consistent with the concentration’s title? If so, can you explain why?
  5. How do your concentration studies work together to form a coherent degree program?
  6. How do your advanced standing (transcript and prior learning) courses fit into your concentration?
    • How do they provide a foundation for advanced studies?
    • How do they support a progression of your learning?
    • How do they support an integration of your learning?
    • How do they provide breadth so that your concentration isn’t too narrowly focused on one subject?
    • How do they fulfill academic expectations uncovered during your research?
    • How do they help your degree program meet expectations for advanced-level credits (bachelor’s only)?
  7. How do your Empire State College studies fit into your concentration?
    • How do they provide a foundation for advanced studies?
    • How do they support a progression of your learning?
    • How do they support an integration of your learning?
    • How do they provide breadth so that your concentration isn’t too narrowly focused on one subject?
    • How do they fulfill academic expectations uncovered during your research?
    • How do they help your degree program meet expectations for advanced-level credits (bachelor’s only)?

V. General Learning

  1. How do your advanced standing (transcript and prior learning) courses fit into General Learning?
    • How do they provide a foundation for advanced studies?
    • How do they support a progression of your learning?
    • How do they support an integration of your learning?
    • How do they provide overall breadth to your degree program?
    • How do they help your degree program meet expectations for advanced-level credits (bachelor’s only)?
    • Do any of them fulfill a SUNY General Education requirement? How?
    • How do any of your general learning studies complement your concentration? How?
  2. How do your Empire State College components fit into General Learning?
    • How do they provide a foundation for advanced studies?
    • How do they support a progression of your learning?
    • How do they support an integration of your learning?
    • How do they provide overall breadth to your degree program?
    • How do they help your degree program meet expectations for advanced-level credits (bachelor’s only)?
    • Do any of them fulfill a SUNY General Education requirement? How?
    • How do any of your general learning studies complement your concentration? How?

VI. Breadth, Progression and Integration

Note: You may have already explained breadth, progression and integration of your studies in earlier sections, especially in the sections on your concentration and general learning. If you want to make some additional points on how some of your learning especially provides your degree with breadth, progression and integration, you can elaborate more.

  1. How do your advanced standing and Empire State College studies provide breadth, progression and integration in your degree?

VII. SUNY and Empire State College Degree Requirements

Note: You may have already explained how your studies have met the SUNY and Empire State College requirements in earlier sections. You may, however, want to elaborate more if you have only mentioned the requirements and not explained how you have met them.

  1. How have you met the SUNY general education requirements? In what ways are they meeting these requirements? How have you infused the critical thinking and information management competencies into your degree?
  2. How does your degree program meet the requirements for liberal arts and science credits? How do you define “liberal arts and science” studies? How do your designated studies fit your definition?
  3. Does your bachelor’s degree program include sufficient advanced-level credits overall (45 are required)? Within your concentration (24 are required)? Advanced-level credits can be included in an associate degree, but they aren’t required. How do these studies support the progression of your degree?

VIII. Advanced Standing Studies

Note: You may have already explained why you are using some of your advanced standing studies in earlier sections. You may, however, want to elaborate more if you have only mentioned them and not explained why you have decided to use them in your degree.

Don’t list individual courses, but describe them in general or group them together in ways that you see that they are related and were of greatest interest or importance to you. Give the readers some sense of the learning the you bring to your degree.

  1. Why have you chosen to use the advanced standing studies that you have in your degree?
  2. How have the transcript or prior learning studies augmented your knowledge in your degree?
  3. How have they helped you meet your goals?
  4. How have they shaped what studies you decided to take at Empire State College?

IX. Empire State College Studies

Note: You may have already explained why you have chosen certain Empire State College studies in earlier sections. You may, however, want to elaborate more if you have only mentioned them and not explained why you have decided to use them in your degree.

Don’t list individual courses, but describe them in general or group them together in ways that you see that they are related and were of greatest interest or importance to you. Give the readers some sense of the learning the you bring to your degree.

  1. Why have you chosen the Empire State College studies that you have in your degree?
  2. How do your Empire State College studies build on your prior learning?
  3. How have the Empire State College studies helped you meet your goals?
  4. How have you shaped these studies to complete your knowledge for your degree?

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