Sample for Claims about Value

Excerpt was originally published in "College Is a Waste of Time and Money"

Caroline Bird argues that many students go to college simply because it is the "thing to do." For those students, Bird claims, college is not a good idea.

NOTE: This piece was published in a journal, and it was not constructed with the formal, academic essay in mind. For this reason, the author made stylistic decisions (such as liberally using 1st person pronouns) that students in Freshman Composition should not take when writing a formal academic argument paper.

Nowadays, says one sociologist, you don’t have to have a reason for going to college; it’s an institution. His definition of an institution is an arrangement everyone accepts without question; the burden of proof is not on why you go, but why anyone thinks there might be a reason for not going. The implication is that an 1 8-year-old…should listen to those who know best and go to college.
I don’t agree. I believe that college has to be judged not on what other people think is good for students, but on how good it feels to the students themselves.

            I believe that people have an inside view of what’s good for them. If a child doesn't want to go to school some morning, better let him stay at home, at least until you find our why.  Maybe he knows something you don’t. It’s the same with college. If high-school graduates don’t want to go, or if they don’t want to go right away, they may perceive more clearly than their elders that college is not for them. It is no longer obvious that adolescents are best off studying a core curriculum that was constructed when all educated men could agree on what made them educated, or that professors, advisors, or parents can be of any particular help to young people in choosing a major or a career. High-school graduates see college graduates driving cabs and decide it’s not worth going. College students find no intellectual stimulation in their studies and drop out.


This excerpt was taken from The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, a Custom Edition by Stephen Reid