Considering your analysis of your audience, how do you plan on gaining their confidence and respect and touching their emotions, and what style choices will you make in order to do so?
My audience will consist of college students and professors. Therefore, the audience will be an academic one, concerned about issues related to academia and scholarship. I plan to gain the confidence and respect of the audience with the rhetorical foundations of pathos, ethos, and logos. First, I will offer background information about myself to establish personal credibility. I will relay anecdotal evidence from people that I know. This way, I will be creating ethos and bolstering my argument. Next, I will create an emotional connection with the audience by relating my topic to their personal lives. I will inspire and motivate my audience to make meaningful changes based on the information I will present. The information will be presented in logical format, and I will avoid logical fallacies. Blending ethos, pathos, and logos will allow me to express my ideas in varied styles in order to reach a diverse audience. The occasional use of humor will enhance my argument as well. The tone of the argument will be personal but sophisticated.
2.Reflect on your experience writing the persuasive paper. How do you think you will use this experience in your future academic and personal life?
Writing this persuasive paper has allowed me to critically examine the various issues surrounding higher education. I have often taken for granted the ability to receive an education without considering the political, social, and economic barriers that prevent others from doing so. While I am acutely aware of the difficulties in pursuing a higher education, this research has highlighted the even greater problem of applying that education in the career world. I will use my experience crafting the essay in many ways. For one, I have learned how to write persuasively and with an argumentative tone that effectively motivates audiences to make changes. The talent of persuasive writing is important in almost every career field and in both personal and professional life. I will capitalize on this formative writing experience in my academic career by writing more effective argumentative papers that are well-organized and well-researched. Second, I will apply my writing experience in my future academic and personal life by reflecting on what I can do to improve the outlook for higher education. I hope to share what I have learned with others.
3. What rhetorical methods or audience awareness tools do you think you want to develop for your pap-er?"
In addition to firmly establishing ethos, pathos, and logos as rhetorical tools, I will also use audience awareness strategies. As Roen and Willey point out, audience awareness strategies are crucial for effective college composition but are ironically best applied during a revision phase. Therefore, I will be applying audience awareness tools during the revision process.
A higher education offers unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth. The exposure to new ideas, fields, and people that higher education alone is sufficient to warrant a higher education. Higher education can help the student to think creatively and critically. A higher education can also expand career opportunities and prepare a student for the job market. Higher education is not all fun and games, though. When I first moved into the dorm, I realized I no longer had the easy support of my friends and family nearby. The stress of school really started to pile up when, halfway through my first semester, I ran out of money. Asking my parents for a loan was out of the question; they were too deep in debt already to even consider lending me money. My mom had recently lost her job, and I would have felt guilty just asking them for enough money to go to a Peaches concert. Then there was the stress of school itself. I breezed through high school, getting straight As in most of my classes. Used to impressing teachers, I was ill prepared for consistent B. grades on my essays and term papers. In college I was no longer a star. Many of my classmates had better answers to questions, knew more background information, and wrote better essays than I did. The humility was bad enough. The workload was even worse. I had classes only four days a week but it seemed like I was constantly preparing for them. If it wasn't a science exam, it was an art history essay. I wanted to participate in sports, but after my first semester I no longer had any time. As a result of getting less exercise I was more stressed out, and the cycle continued. I will not even begin to address the social issues that arise in college: the distractions, the obligations, the parties.
My scenario is painfully familiar. I noticed that my roommate's girlfriend looked emaciated. She was probably in the throws of an eating disorder. My roommate's family was rich and he did not have to worry about money, but he did need to worry about his grades because two weeks after school started he was smoking pot every day and drinking every night.
The reason why I am writing this essay is not to talk about student life, though. I want to argue that higher education is not serving students as well as it could be. Not only is higher education not serving students; it is also failing to live up to its lofty goals of creating a generation of critical thinkers. Small liberal arts colleges offer quality education at high prices to an elite body of students, many of whom go on to perpetuate academic literature with studies that are often meaningless and inapplicable to daily life. The gobbledygook that characterizes much of academic literature is astounding and highlights the insularity of scholasticism. On the other hand, large universities provide impersonal and often sub-standard educations to their students. While often offering more practical coursework, students frequently graduate without any appreciable skills. My older brother graduated with a degree in criminology but he is still working as a legal assistant instead of as a policy analyst, as he hoped.
This brings me to my next point about higher education: professors are so often locked in their own scholarly world that they are failing to provide students with the tools they need to get real jobs. If I want to become the leading Faust scholar in the Western world, then I might benefit from being an academic and cloaking myself in academic jargon. If I want to become a leading criminologist like my brother does, or if I want to develop my entrepreneurial skills, then I'm on my own. The career development center helps but not by much. College degrees mean next to nothing now that almost anyone can acquire one. I now need a PhD to get anywhere in my chosen field. Many students are purchasing all of their essays on the Internet, proving that professors are not paying much attention to the signs of learning.
Schools are failing students by not providing a higher education that invokes social transformation. One of the goals of higher education is to encourage critical thinking. A small liberal arts school might help its students to think more critically, but not all students can afford to -- or want to -- go to small liberal arts colleges. Universities do not prepare students for media literacy nearly as much as they should. Too many students emerge with a degree that is practically meaningless. Success in the job world depends on social skills and networking, skills that are not fostered in most university settings. Yet to go to a business school would also be a waste of time, because the truly successful businesspeople bank on their leadership and creative abilities not on their ability to recite the four marketing Ps by heart.
Higher education purports to be inclusive, but really it is not. As I mentioned earlier, academic gobbledygook creates a very real barrier between the ivory tower dwellers and the rest of the world. Academics are the first to talk about breaking down the barriers towards access to information, and yet academic databases are nearly impossible to search. Not only that, a subscription to an academic database is cost-prohibitive.
Access to financial, social, and cultural capital is a significant barrier to achieving the benefits of a higher education. University education is expensive, and growing more so each year. The United States is lagging behind its European counterparts and behind parts of the developing world too by not providing free access to at least the first tier of higher education. As a result, students from disadvantaged backgrounds give up on college even before they are in high school. The demographics of schools are changing, but for the most part, African-Americans, Latinos, and other non-white and non-Asian minorities are underrepresented on college campuses nationwide.
The various drawbacks of higher education are epitomized by stories of successful entrepreneurs…