Writing Assignment #3: Synthesis Argument

1. You must write a brief synthesis argument about the role of college education in America today as discussed in the prompt at #4 below. The finished final draft must be a minimum of four full pages in length. This means that your essay must end on page five or later (the Works Cited page does not count).

2. At a minimum, your argument must demonstrate the following characteristics:

A. Be an argument and contain a thesis that responds to the prompt in #4 below

B. Your thesis must assert an arguable relationship between different ideas

C. Contain sufficient evidence to support your claim

D. Must not be an imitation of another argument nor an uncritical response to another argument

E. Your argument must demonstrate the interaction between ideas presented in disparate sources

3. Other requirements:

A. Your essay must contain a minimum of four secondary sources, three of which must be from academic sources (this may include academic journals, books, and sources identified through the library’s website).

B. It must be properly formatted and documented in MLA form, including correct in-text citations and a Works Cited page

C. The first draft must submitted through the Blackboard Assignments portal no later than 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 30, 2020

D. This is a formal argument and may not be written from first person perspective

E. You must use proper, Standard American English grammar throughout your essay

4. Prompt:

In Seneca’s letter “On Liberal and Vocational Studies” he fully and without reservation rejects the notion that the purpose of education is to prepare a student for a vocation, a job, a means of making a living. He argues that the only liberal study worth pursuing is the attainment of wisdom. In the essay “Who are You and What are You Doing Here?” the author argues that college represents perhaps the only opportunity for young people to “find themselves” and, therefore, argues that students should pursue subjects that interest them regardless of the possibility of ever making a living in that field. The summary of government job data detailed in “Why Did Seventeen Million People Go to College” suggests that students (and all of us through tax dollars) have wasted trillions of dollars pursuing “pointless” degrees to eventually work in occupations where degrees are not needed. As noted in the Discussion Board this week, nearly all students offered a “free” grade in a general education class without having to attend the course opt to take the grade and skip the course which implies that they are seeking grades toward a degree, not the prescribed education. So, what exactly is education now, what exactly should it be, and where should we go from here? More specifically, in America today what exactly should the role of a college education be?

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