Length: 1200 words

Formatting requirements: MLA & 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1-inch margins and pages numbered.  

Objective: To construct an argumentative essay that takes a side on an issue and persuades a particular audience to accept that side using persuasive evidence as support. To demonstrate knowledge of an audience and appeal to that audience using ethos, pathos and logos.

Assignment Guidelines:

At this point in the semester, we have read several essays that ostensibly argue whether or not everyone should go to college: Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill’s “Should Everyone go to College?,” Sanford Ungar’s “The New Liberal Arts,” Charles Murray’s “Are Too Many People Going to College,” and Liz Addison’s “Two Years are Better than Four.” 

For the Argumentative Essay, students will join in on this conversation and answer: Should everyone go to college? 

Write an argumentative thesis that takes a side and uses persuasive evidence to support your side. Your evidence should come from in They Say I Say. You may also use personal experience, hypotheticals, and/or reasoned sequence of ideas. . You may also want to address counter-arguments in order to be as persuasive as possible.

Like your Expository Essay, your Argumentative Essay should have an easy-to-understand structure (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion) and begin with a clear and narrow thesis; remember that a narrow thesis often includes the word “because.” Your body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence that tells your reader what the paragraph will argue and should continue with evidence that support that topic sentence.  

Your essay will be graded using the following criteria:

  • Thesis answers the question and picks a side, is narrow and clearly states what the essay will discuss
  • Essay uses persuasive evidence, including at least 2 essays from They Say, I Say
  • Writer considers audience and appeals to ethos, pathos and logos
  • Essay is well-planned and well-organized
    • Topic sentences are clear and introduce what the essay will discuss
    • Topic sentences are supported with a variety of evidence
    • Paragraphs stay on topic
  • Summaries are used sparingly and appropriately
  • Signal phrases are used appropriately
  • Quotes and paraphrases are used appropriately. Quotes do not stand alone but are introduced and analyzed.
  • The essay is easy to understand and grammar/spelling/punctuation errors are minimal
  • Essay adheres to assignment guidelines

This essay must be at least 1200 words. A significant grade reduction (and possible failure of the assignment) will occur if the word count is below 1200 words. This assignment is worth 150 points. Please see the syllabus for formatting and submission requirements.

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