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.
While the author's claim sounds plausible at first, it is rife with vague assumptions and claims that requires further analysis.
Firstly, the author states the enrollment of students have increased in the Buckingham college. While this may be true, there is no data to support that those students wil be willing to take a dormitory. For example, most of them could be day scholars and might choose to come from home to college. Also,building new dormitories based on a trend that can happen anywhere in next 50 years seems a little absurd. It may happen an year from now or It may take a long time. The money alocated for this might be useful for other purposeslike giving scholarships for students or improving the lab facilities.
Another major argument the author poses is that the average rent of the apartment has risen in the recent past thus it will not be feasible for student to live off campus. This can attacked at many levels. First, the past trend does not guarantee that in the future the price will remain high. It may fall. Second, even if the prices stay high, it is possible for students to rent an apartment and share the cost. In that way, the money spent by single person can be much less than the dormitory fee.
Lastly, the author makes a claim that new dormitories would lead to many students enrolling in Buckinhgham college. This is a very weak argument based on flimsy grounds. Students mostly go for the college that offers quality education.So, if the education offered is sub standard and the dormitories are attractive, it serves no good. In fact, students might not mind shedding few extra dollars for a place to live if they are provided with good tuitions. Thus the author should analyse and verify all the angles to the argument before concluding to build new dormitories.
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