Putting the Pieces Together: Sample Writing Prompt B

The following article, “Volunteering is the Best Business Training,” by Loretta Young appears in the August 2019 issue of Business Spotlight magazine.

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     Most if not all students have chosen college because they hope their courses of study will lead to employment after graduation. Unfortunately, however, many students do not know what they want to do, and even if they do, they usually are not sure whether their chosen programs —and the professions that follow them—are what they want. This uncertainty can result in students switching programs at college, thus wasting their time and the time of the teachers who taught courses that they can no longer use. Also, if students complete their original programs and then find related employment, there is no guarantee that they will be happy with their choices. This scenario is particularly true in “real” world of business; for example, students in business often see their program choice as a way to make a profitable and practical living after graduation, yet they have no authentic experience in the business world.  For all of these reasons, we should help students with this problem by requiring that they volunteer in their chosen fields before beginning college programs related to those fields.

     Here is another example:  suppose a student decides to study nursing. The student knows there are jobs in nursing, as health care keeps expanding. The student may even have family members who work in nursing, so he or she might know something about it from them. What the student cannot possibly know, though, is whether he or she will like nursing or be good at it. The student chooses a college nursing program, and, at the end of a long course of study, his or her professors and course marks will measure skills but not whether he or she will actually like being a nurse.

     Unfortunately, it might take several years of work experience to answer this last question, and by then, if the answer is no, the student will have spent years learning to dislike a profession that took years to join. Our current system, in other words, has the potential to waste enormous amounts of students’ time and money; it might even strand them in careers that they do not enjoy but cannot leave. The current solution does not make good practical and business sense.

     There is an obvious solution to this enormous potential for wasted time and effort—colleges should require that students acquire more information about their chosen careers before they begin their studies. As part of the admissions process, colleges should require documentation that students have completed at least six months of work in their chosen fields. Paid work might not be possible, of course, so volunteer work would be acceptable. Students could complete this volunteer work any time in the years leading up to the beginning of their studies. This work would give them a better idea about whether they have chosen the right career, before they invest years of time and money to find out—possibly the hard way—the answer to the same question.

     In light of these facts, then, colleges should immediately change their admissions procedures to require prior knowledge, either through paid work or volunteering, of students’ proposed fields of study. It is, after all, better to gain knowledge sooner rather than later.  All students will ultimately end of working for some form of business organization upon graduation and experience in the field is, ultimately, the best business training possible.


Write a multi-paragraph response (in essay format: introduction, body, conclusion) to the article below.

Your response should accurately summarize the author’s main argument AND critically respond to it.

You may choose to agree with the author’s argument, to disagree with it, or to partially agree/disagree with it.

Your essay should also consider at least one objection a reader might have to your argument. You may respond to this objection in different ways. For example, you may argue against the objection, or you may acknowledge that the objection is a good point and incorporate it into your argument. It’s your choice.

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Putting the Pieces Together Copyright © 2020 by Andrew Stracuzzi and André Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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