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Example-2: Cause - Effect Essay

Prompt:
Students should not be required to take courses outside their field of study.
 
Assignment:
Do you think that college students should be required to take a well-rounded selection of courses even if they do not pertain to their major? Plan and write a well-developed essay in which you discuss your opinion on this topic. Support your opinion with persuasive details.

Step-1-Understanding the Issue

  • What does the statement mean? Colleges should not make students take courses, like General Education courses, if they do not pertain to their area of study.
  • What is the issue at hand? Whether or not students benefit from taking college courses that don’t pertain to their major.
  • What is implied by the statement? That a student will be adequately prepared for the “real world” without taking a wide range of classes.
  • What is the writer’s stand on the issue? That students should not be required to take these classes.
  • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position? The writer does not give any evidence to support his view.

Step-2-Choosing My Pattern of Development

This prompt is a “call for action” statement, and, although no effect is discussed, the writer implies that his recommended course of action would result in a positive effect.

Step-3-Developing My Thesis

THESIS FOR CAUSE-EFFECT ESSAY (formula 1-2):

If students are not required to take courses outside their field of study, then they will not be prepared, because
  1. they will be ill-prepared if they fail to get a job in their field,
  2. they will be lacking in important skills – communication or thinking/reasoning skills,
  3. they will be close-minded and ignorant to things happening in the world around them.

Step-4-Understanding Counter Argument

CAUSE – EFFECT COUNTER CLAIM (formula 2-2):
Some may feel that requiring students to take courses only in their field of study would cause students to be more knowledgeable in their field because they would have more thoroughly studied this area.
 

Note that this point should contrast directly with point #1 of your thesis. (see formula 1-2).

Step-5-Organizing My Thoughts

CAUSE - EFFECT ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-2):
  1. Introduction – Paragraph 1
    1. Some feel students should not be required to take courses outside their field of study.
    2. If students are not required to take courses outside their field of study, they will be ill-prepared should they fail to get a job in their field, they will lack important skills, and they will be close-minded and ignorant to things happening in the world around them.
  2. Support – Paragraph 2
    1. Some may feel that requiring students to take courses only in their field of study would cause students to be more knowledgeable in their field because they would have more thoroughly studied this area.
    2. Many people are unable to get a job in their field after they graduate.
      1. Without some knowledge of other fields, these highly trained people will be stuck working menial jobs.
  3. They will be lacking in important skills.
    1. Students studying the sciences will lack communication skills.
    2. Students studying the arts will lack critical thinking and reasoning skills.
  4. They will be close-minded and ignorant of things happening in the world around them.
    1. Lack of familiarity with certain fields promotes disinterest in these topics as they pertain to current events (politics, scientific research).
    2. This disinterest promotes apathy in participating in or supporting causes that result from these current events.
  5. Conclusion – Paragraph 5
    1. Students must take a well-rounded schedule of classes in order to be prepared for work outside their field and so they will have adequate skills to use toward a common interest in society.
    2. Students should welcome an opportunity to learn about all areas of study.

Step-6-Writing My Essay

Colleges and universities require students, regardless of their majors, to complete General Education courses, basic courses that cover general subject areas. These classes include basic literature and writing courses, basic science and math courses, and basic arts classes like music and drama. Some feel students should not be required to take these General Education classes. However, if students are not required to take courses outside their major, they will be ill-prepared should they fail to get a job in their field, they will lack important skills, and they will be close-minded and ignorant of things happening in the world around them.

Many opponents of General Education classes are themselves unaware of the advantages of a well-rounded education. They focus only on the theory that students will be more fully prepared to enter their field as a result of more extensive study in their area. What they fail to see, however, is that many graduates are not able to find jobs in their field of expertise. So, without a broad range of knowledge, these highly trained graduates would be stuck in menial jobs.

Even if graduates do get jobs within their field, such a wide range of skills are required in the workplace in order to be successful that, without a diverse educational background, a graduate will not be fully competent in any job. For example, when a graduate begins looking for a job, she will discover that excellent communication skills are invaluable in the workplace, both in dealing with customers and with colleagues. Without some base of communication knowledge, such as a student would receive in a basic English class, the candidate will be overlooked for someone who does show strength in communication. Moreover, most jobs require strong problem-solving skills, skills that develop from learning how to think and reason critically. These skills are reinforced in math and science classes.

Lack of familiarity in certain educational arenas, like math and science, results in a provincial attitude. This lack of familiarity leads to disinterest in the areas where a student has not gained knowledge. Likewise, this disinterest leads to apathy in participating or supporting any causes that are linked to these fields of study. For example, a student who has not studied science will be indifferent to scientific ideas, ideas which could become theories and could help all of mankind. A student who does not study politics and government will likely be apathetic toward participating in important political events such as elections.

It is important that a country’s citizens take part in supporting causes and concepts that generate a common interest in society. Without a well-rounded schedule of classes in college, however, the citizen base will soon be filled with people who are unprepared and indifferent to anything that does not directly pertain to their area of interest. Instead of complaining about an opportunity to gain a broad range of knowledge, students should consider it a privilege and an asset.

Step-7-Revising My Essay

Read over the essay above and then answer the following questions.
  • Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employed to make the introduction interesting?
  • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
  • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
  • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
  • Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
  • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
  • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay.
  • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?​




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