Argumentative Essay Paper

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Essay 1.1


The first step of producing your own ethical argument is to question. “Inquiry” is another word for asking questions. In academic writing, we begin the process of inquiry by identifying Questions at Issue, and then considering the importance and multiple viewpoints surrounding that question before providing our own answer to the Q@I in the form of an argument. This first (of two) major essays that you’ll write for this course will help you engage in and practice the process of inquiry that eventually leads to an ethical argument.


This essay cycle will help you to practice the following skills, each of which corresponds to a learning outcome for this course (the learning outcomes can be found on the syllabus): inquiry, ethical argumentation, critical reading and thinking, clear expression of your own ideas, clear expression of the ideas of others in your own words, and developing audience awareness.


For the past 3 weeks, we have read, discussed, and investigated aspects of higher education in the United States. As a college student, your journey to the classroom and personal experiences have informed your opinions regarding college. Now, you will choose one aspect of the following topics we’ve explored and either expand your Q@I or write a new one. You will then explore and evaluate your Q@I in a formal essay.

Here are some of the questions and issues that have come up in our discussions, can choose one from these:

The value of a 4-year education VS the value of a 2-year/vocational education

Admissions, accessibility, and funding for higher education

Benefits and hindrances of open admissions at 2- and 4-year institutions

Benefits beyond graduation/obtaining a degree or certification

Cost/benefit/rate of investment of college in the contemporary United States

High school guidance and the opinions/social stigmatization/promotion of higher education in the United States

Student loans and public funding

College major selection and potential outcome/career trajectories

Criteria for a Successful Essay 1.1

It must be at least 750 words, not including Header, Title, or Works Cited Page*.

It must present a Q@I that addresses some aspect of higher education in the United States.

It must include an enthymeme that answers the Q@I and provide reasoning in well-developed paragraphs.

It must be reasonably proofread and formatted for clarity.

It should include a proper MLA Header and a Title (Not “Essay 1.1” or “College Essay”).

It does not need a Works Cited page, but you can include one for practice.


If you struggle with setting up your primary support points, consult They Say/I Say, p. 11, the “Template of Templates.” Additionally, you may find pp. 81-88 helpful to answer the objections you consider and wish to counter. A few additional questions to ask:

  • By the end of the first paragraph, have I introduced my topic and presented a clear enthymeme?
  • Does each subsequent paragraph clearly introduce what I discuss in the points that follow?
  • Does each paragraph have a MEAL structure (Main Idea, Evidence, Analysis, and a Link)?
  • Have I made sure that anything I’ve quoted is in I-C-E format (Introduce, Cite, Explain)?
  • Have I offered several points of evidence, reasoning, and consideration of opposing viewpoints?


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