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The Following Appeared In A Memo From The Director Of Student Housing At Buckingham College - With A Free Essay Review
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 director is of the opinion that Buckingham College should build a number of new dormitories. However, in supporting his argument he has made several assumptions which cannot be validated with the argument given.
The author assumes that the Buckingham college’s enrollment rate will continue to grow at the same rate over the next 50 years. Based on this assumption, he argues that new dormitories will be needed to accommodate the students. However, if the author thinks that the growth rate for enrolment will remain constant over the period of fifty years, he should give some valid data from an economist predicting the same growth rate over a period of fifty yearly, only then can this argument be substantiated.
Moreover, the author claims that as the average rent for an apartment has increased over the past few years, more students will require on-campus accommodation as the accommodation available outside will become unaffordable. However, the author has not given any evidence on whether student accommodation prices will remain the same even if new dormitories remain are made. He should give reasons on why the student accommodation prices will not see an increase if the overall prices of houses increase. This can be done by giving an economists point of view. If the economist suggests that prices will remain low for on campus residence, than the argument will have a sound basis.
The author assumes that by making attractive dormitories, more students will be attracted to attend Buckingham college. He needs to give results of polls among high school students on whether they will prefer coming to the college is new dormitories are made, in order to strengthen his argument.
To conclude, the argument can be compelling if the specific evidence given is examined and supports the author’s argument.
I think you are taking the wrong approach here, so I'm going to attend mostly here to the question of how to approach the specific instructions given with the prompt that accompanies this essay.
First, you've been asked to discuss specific evidence that would help evaluate the argument, but overall you focus instead on identifying the flaws of the argument and what its author ought to have done instead. The latter can be part of the required discussion but should not be the focus of the essay, and certainly should not take the place of the required discussion. Your basic arguments for an essay with the instructions given in this prompt should have the following elements:
1. In order to evaluate the argument, we need evidence about X.
2. Evidence about X would be useful because etc.
3. If X, then the Argument would be weakened because etc.
4. If not X, then the argument would be strengthened (or not weakened, or be more plausible, etc. ) because etc.
(Of course, you can and should vary the structure of each sentence; I use the same form here to emphasize, particularly with the word “because,” the number of logical connections you should be making in each argument of your essay).
Second, when asked to identify specific evidence, the evidence that you identify needs to be, obviously, specific. You mention the need for "some valid data from an economist." That is not specific. You need to know whether the current trends are reasonable predictors of future trends. So what evidence would be useful in that respect? It might help to know, for example, the duration of the current trend. If the trend appears to be stable, then it might make sense to be concerned about existing dormitory space. (Of course one's being concerned would also depend on how much space there currently is, and how much demand there is for that space).
Third, the prompt asks you to "explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument." The key word here is "explain." Explaining something requires not just asserting something (e.g., "only then can this argument be substantiated") but also clarifying the reasons why the assertion is true.