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.
Colleges support students by building dormitories, allowing students to live on a budget on one hand, pay low rent and focus on their studies first - and on the student’s life and what the campus have to offer. The rise in the number of students in Buckingham College has led the author to the conclusion that new dormitories must be built - in order to support the newly coming population. However, several unwarranted assumptions have been made by the author, assumptions for which, substantial supporting evidence is lacking.
First, the author fails to bring forth evidence for what is the percentage of students who actually live in dormitories. Suppose a case in which a striking majority of students are natural born citizens of Buckingham and are living with their parents. In such a scenario it could be expected that with the growth of Buckingham’s population, students’ numbers shall go and yet, the majority would not live in any new dormitories. This lacking evidence plays a crucial part of determining whether it is necessary to build new dormitories at all.
Second, suppose such evidence is shown, even if current trends show enrollment is growing steadfastly, a 50 year prediction rate accuracy might be overly optimistic, if not frivolous. Trends in the economy, housing and even the variety of academic research topics are known to vary, definitely within the course of 50 years. Perhaps past evidence, showing the history of Buckingam’s student population growth could reveal such long timed correlation patterns, could support this prediction.
Nonetheless, it could be argued that the general trend for any housing prices, on average, be it for purchase or for rent, tend to rise over time. Notwithstanding this general claim, as before, a 50 year prediction on a specific area is optimistic, and general trends must be analyzed meticulously - town demographics, such as the origin of most students - be it local or from across the country, could have a large impact on rent. Should the author show evidence directly implying the strong positive correlation between the increase in the number of students and the rise of rent pricing, he could strengthen the argument.
Finally, a general claim is presented, without supporting evidence for the reason of why students would find Buckingham a lucrative college - the claim that new dormitories would make prospective students more likely to enroll. The author has not shown any survey supporting this claim - students might very well live the “student’s life” - eke out a living if one should portray the extreme, or simply - living in thin conditions. Even if this claim is true, it could be claimed there exists a correlation as the more attractive the dormitories, the higher the building costs and thus, the higher the rent, nullifying the original intent of supporting students, a population usually defined by its low income or at least, wealthy with students loans.
In sum, though having a positive approach toward future generations, the author is basing his conclusion on several notions, some mere opinions, some - have a some base - yet not enough evidence supports the final conclusion.
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