College Essay Judge

Job Description

Committee affiliation: Education


Judges must be available to meet according to the time commitment cited below to receive entries and instructions, evaluate the entries, turn in scoring materials to the Lead Judges, attend the Consensus meeting to discuss the scores for each entry in your category, and concur on the awards determined by the team. Meetings will occur in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in a location convenient for the majority of judges.

The following is from How to Evaluate a College Essay |

With so many topics, subjects and writing styles, evaluating a college essay can be tricky work. However, most college essays are expected to fulfill a few basic requirements on which to evaluate them. When grading these essays, read for specific points, including structure, content, style, and grammar. Also, take your time; it is easy to read through an essay quickly without paying attention, but proper evaluation requires that the evaluator read the essay carefully.


  1. Read the essay through once without grading it. Get a general sense of the paper and on a separate sheet of paper note anything that pops out as particularly good or particularly problematic. Don't read for anything specific at this point. Instead, get a sense of what the writer is trying to convey and whether it is being done persuasively and coherently. If you have time, read other essays from the class to get a sense of the strength of the group.
  2. Read the essay a second time. Pay attention to the structure of the paper to determine whether or not all the elements of the essay are present and in the right place. Look for a coherent introduction, body and conclusion. Evaluate the grammar and style of the work to determine if it has reached an appropriate college level. Watch for misused words and grammatical errors. Carefully read the content of the essay—for instance, the argument and supporting evidence—to determine whether the author is making a well-supported and compelling case.
  3. Check the essay's sources, which should be appropriate for the essay. References should have authors, originate from reputable sources such as scholarly presses. The paper should include proper citations. Check to make sure that the information that is not cited is the author's own opinion or argument and is not taken from another source, constituting plagiarism. Doubtful passages can be run through an Internet search engine or you can check references manually.
  4. Put the essay down and re-read it later. Pay attention to each of the elements again—grammar, style, word usage, accurate content and persuasive argument. Do this even if you have already assigned the paper a grade. Sometimes on a final read you will catch things that eluded you the first time around. If you are evaluating several essays, your expectations may change as you go; if your expectations have changed, you may reassign the essay a different grade or score.

Experience and Skills

  • Good time management
  • Strong communication / interpersonal skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Able to meet deadlines and able to identify and report problems with meeting those deadlines; willing to ask for help when needed

Additional reference material:


  • Computer with reliable Internet access
  • Email address (Google is preferred for working with Google calendar, Basecamp, and other tools)
  • Word processing software
  • HTML / CSS / PHP text editor

Optional items that may be helpful:

  • FAX or scanner
  • Acrobat Pro
  • Adobe PhotoShop
  • Adobe Illustrator

Time Commitment

10-20 hours between October and November plus two meetings.


Vacant / Dormant at Shirley Carter award manager

Last modified: 9 March 2024
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