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GRE Issue Essay: In Order To Become Well-rounded Individuals, All College Students Should Take Poetry - With A Free Essay Review

Prompt: “In order to become well-rounded individuals, all college students should be required to take courses in which they read poetry, novels, mythology, and other types of imaginative literature. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.”

I disagree with the statement that to become well-rounded individuals, all college students should be required to take courses in which they read poetry, novels, mythology, and other types of imaginative literature, because the suggested categories are limited to imaginative literature; this does not necessarily make students more well-rounded if a student is a major in English literature, and it may take too much time, and be stressful, too.

First of all, the statement claims that requiring students to take various imaginative literature courses can make students be more well-rounded. However, these suggested categories are very limited, and it does not reflect the goal of being well-rounded. In the circumstance, if a student whose major is English literature, requiring this student take additional imaginative literature courses does not help this student become well-rounded, instead, this student may even get less chances to learn other knowledge such as biology or physics. In this case, the suggestion does not apply for these students who are major in arts or literatures, and adopting these requirement would not benefit these students.

In addition, the statement suggests that schools should require students to take various imaginative literature courses regardless of students’ interests. I do not think this is justifiable because it is commonly accepted that students should take courses based on their interests, and they are more likely to do well in these fields. Students tend to have good times when they take courses they like. In the circumstance, some students really dislike certain courses such as mythology, or literature, and they are forced to sit in these classes learning passively. Further, they may even fall asleep during these classes. After all, they really cannot learn a lot from these courses. For this reason, I think it is not appropriate to require students to take courses they dislike in order to make them well-rounded.

Moreover, these extra requirements may potentially take a lot of time, thus, students may not be able to focus on their major courses. In the case, some students are struggling with these imaginative literature courses. They spend a lot of time on these courses, and become very stressed. Eventually, they do not have enough time or energy to focus on their major courses, or fail to spend enough time diving into their major courses. After all, these students may fail to satisfy their major course requirements, which is not beneficial for students. Therefore, in this case, it is not reasonable to require students to take these imaginative literature courses.

I’m not trying to argue that students should not take imaginative literature courses or any other courses outside their majors. However, I think students should take some courses outside their major based on their interests in order to broaden their knowledge, and help them to be well-rounded students.



The first thing you need to note is that the original statement does not claim that students should only be required to take courses in imaginative literature; it merely implies that taking such courses are necessary for students to become well-rounded.

Second, the argument that the claim is flawed because it doesn't take account of English majors is a bit silly. Such students already take courses in imaginative literature, and so will already have met the requirement; claiming that the original statement implies forcing such students to take the kinds of courses they are already taking, which would therefore not contribute to their becoming “well-rounded” seems to me to be an instance of sophistry, and is also a way of skirting the main issues. Your next two arguments are a bit more reasonable: it is not appropriate to require students to take courses they don't like or courses that they might find time-consuming. I disagree with that claim (as does pretty much every university), but it's an arguable claim. But, again, it seems to me that you are skirting at least two of the main issues here: First, is the purpose of a college education to help students "become well-rounded individuals," and if so why? Second, does achieving that purpose require that students take courses in imaginative literature, and if so why? You really have to address those questions if you want to respond to the prompt in a reasonable way.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: uofr6460

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