Home >> GMAT >> Essays >> Essay - 101
The following appeared as an editorial in a magazine concerned with
“In our country, the real earnings of men who have only a high-school degree have
decreased significantly over the past fifteen years, but those of male college
graduates have remained about the same. Therefore, the key to improving the
earnings of the next generation of workers is to send all students to college. Our
country’s most important educational goal, then, should be to establish enough
colleges and universities to accommodate all high school graduates.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
This editorial advocates universal college education as a means of improving the earnings of all the next generation of workers. In
support of this recommendation the author points out that the real earnings of male high-school graduates have decreased over the
past fifteen years whereas the earnings of male college graduates have remained stable over the same period. Furthermore, the author
argues that a sufficient number of colleges and universities should be built to accomplish this goal. The author’s position is implausible
for a number of reasons.
In the first place, the evidence cited by the author pertains only to male high-school and college graduates. No comparable comparison
of the earnings of female workers is made, yet the author recommends sending all students to college. If it turns out that no
discrepancy between the real earnings of female high-school graduates and female college graduates exists during this same period, the
author’s conclusion would be significantly weakened.
In the second place, the author assumes that the primary factor that influences the earnings of workers is their level of education.
While this is a reasonable assumption, it is by no means a certainty. For example, in countries undergoing political turmoil and reform,
Page numbers AWA
the educated class of citizens is often discriminated against and cannot find work. In such cases, lack of education might turn out to be
a distinct economic advantage.
Finally, a comparison of workers’ earnings during a 15-year period is insufficient evidence to warrant the author’s recommendation. Other
factors besides worker’s level of education could account for the discrepancy in earnings during the period cited by the author. For
example, the demand for college-educated workers may have outpaced the demand for high-school educated workers during the period
in question and as a result increased their earnings disproportionately.
In conclusion, the author’s argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the conclusion the author would have to provide information about the
earnings of female workers that showed a trend comparable to the one cited for male workers. Additionally, evidence would be required
for the assumption that level of education is the primary factor that influences worker’s earnings.