Essay topics: The following appeared in a memo from the director of student housing at Buckingham College.
"To serve the housing needs of our students, Buckingham College should build a number of new dormitories. Buckingham's enrollment is growing and, based on current trends, will double over the next 50 years, thus making existing dormitory space inadequate. Moreover, the average rent for an apartment in our town has risen in recent years. Consequently, students will find it increasingly difficult to afford off-campus housing. Finally, attractive new dormitories would make prospective students more likely to enroll at Buckingham."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The author of the argument failed to convince us that new dormitories are ought to be built in the Buckingham college. The argument, as it stands, is based on questionable assumptions and a faulty line of reasoning. As a result, these render the argument unconvincing and over-simplistic.
First, the author bases his conclusion on poor evidence. Furthermore, he does not take into account the fact that other factors could have a voice in issues mentioned. First of all, the author concludes based on current trends of growing enrollment. At first it may sound convincing but it is not. Other factors could have played a role in such issue. Simply put, one cannot solely rely on current trends due to the fact that they might be based on wrong data. What are those trends based on? On what period of time is the trend basing its data? Is it enough to convince the reader that the college is ought to budget construction of new dormitories? Not to mention the mere fact that even if the trend had been based on a sufficient amount of time of research and reliable reports, it would have still been a moot point to predict the future. Under no circumstances, can a person predict upcoming events in the future. To elaborate, so many things, including economic conditions and the tendency of the youth to attend college could change in 50 years. Therefore, allotting a fair amount of budget for building new dormitories would not make sense. If the arguer had mentioned the information provided above and supplied more clarification, the argument would have been consolidated.
Lastly, the author uses vague terms to support his assertion: First, the author states that the college should build “a number of” new dormitories; second, the arguer mentions that the enrollment is “growing”; lastly, the author says that the average rent has “risen” in recent years. All these statements and terms are vague and need further clarification. What does the author mean by a number of new dormitories? Does it mean doubling the current number or just building another one? In addition, the author does not provide any information regarding the growth in enrollment. What if the growth is only one new student each year? Then it would not be convincing to allot a huge amount of budget for new dormitories. At last, the arguer says that the rent has risen, but does not provide any further clarification about the extent to which the rent has risen. Simply put, other expenses could have decreased in the past few years, a fact that the neither the author nor the reader are not aware of. If the arguer had clarified more, the argument would have been strengthened.
To conclude, based on substantial assumptions and poor evidence, the arguer’s reasoning failed to provide concrete support for his/her conclusion. If the argument had included the items discussed, it would have been more thorough and convincing.
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