In order to be as helpful as possible to applicants, below are examples of how the selection committee rates application materials to help them choose a winner. These standards are borrowed from the Portland State University Graduate School of Education.
Letters of Recommendation
Recommendations are generally positive but are very superficial, with no specific comments relevant to the applicant's field of study.
Recommendations are very positive and contain specific comments about the applicant's qualities which are relevant to their potential, field of study (ex. dependability, maturity, empathy, strong interpersonal communication skills, work with diverse populations), and/or education or counseling experience. Additionally, the recommender(s) mention(s) overcoming obstacles, obtaining professional achievements, and/or other specific and relevant accomplishments.
Experience and Knowledge
Essays demonstrate limited experience with and/or knowledge of the field they are pursuing.
Essays demonstrate substantial experience with and/or knowledge of the field they are pursuing, and articulate more advanced thinking such as challenges they may encounter, goals they hope to achieve in the field, and/or specific approaches they hope to utilize.