1. Personal Essay (example)
  2. Approaches to Written Argument (formerly Opposing Viewpoints Essay) (example)
  3. Academic Argument Essay (examples)

The following essays have been reformatted for publication. Please follow the manuscript formatting guidelines provided by your instructor.




Lucas Wade Connolly

Radford University

Packing Your Life Away

I have a tendency to be a little high maintenance. I am especially difficult when it comes to my clothes. I rarely have an easy time putting together a bag to go on a trip, or even an overnighter. As a result, packing to leave for my freshman year in the Residence Halls at Radford University was anything but an easy task.

When thinking about packing, I knew I had to plan. Every detail, every item, needed to be placed on a list and organized, categorized, and somehow acquired. So, as the lists grew and grew, the idea of shopping became daunting. Yet, it had to be done. So, the shopping began. My mother and I set out, and over a course of time, and about one shopping outing a week for the majority of the summer, spending long, hot, days more and more items became crossed off my list. As more shopping bags came home, and as more of my hard earned paychecks disappeared, the guest room became flooded with supplies for my first year away from home. Each day of stocking inventory went by, and the true day of daunting came near.

The clock had struck two weeks from when I leave, and it became time to begin to pack up my room, and even more terrifying, my clothes. I really enjoy clothes. Fashion, in my personal opinion, is not just what you wear, but iconography to personally express yourself. As a result, my clothes are pieces of art, pieces of myself, and I take them very seriously. As you can imagine, deciding which pieces would fit, and which pieces I needed to take was exceptionally challenging. I began pulling clothes, shoes, accessories, and sorting them into piles of ‘leave,’ ‘take,’ and ‘give away.’ Slowly, very slowly, the clothes still hanging in my closet dwindled, and the piles on the floor grew, and grew. I began to realize that my obsession with packing was not only about the clothes and my love for expression, but also the thought that If I was organized and properly prepared with things, I would feel prepared mentally for school.

As packing began to come to a close, the days left for me to avoid the thought of finally finishing packing my room were gone. My clothes had been just about done, and as I finished, it was time to put everything in containers, and sort everything as spatially consciously as possible. Space bags were out, and being vacuumed to nothingness. Tupperware were being stacked higher and higher. Next thing I knew, it was the day before the day of departure.

Packing the car was by far the most daunting and horrid task of the whole ordeal of leaving for college. My father manages a car dealership, so we were fortunate enough to get a 2013 explorer and a 2010 Saturn SUV solely for all of my things. Not just the whole amount of stuff I needed to bring was overwhelming, but also the sheer size of the vehicles in which I had to squeeze everything, because these two massive vehicles were still not enough. Yet, after a lot of pushing, pulling, squeezing, stuffing, swearing, tugging, and shoving, the cars were pretty much packed. After our lengthy six-hour journey, we arrived, and shockingly, with the help of my wonderful friends, currently upperclassmen at Radford University, move in was a breeze. Not to mention that by only the grace of God did my closet also get finished in a timely fashion.

In closing, I have personally found that what was the true issue with packing for college, was not the actual packing, but the fear of disorganization, and unpreparedness. Packing for school was indeed daunting, but was also very rewarding. With proper planning and organization, packing for college can be quite rewarding, and help you be exceptionally prepared for your new life.



Matthew Roth

Radford University

 Effectiveness of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

The controversy about whether or not student athletes should be paid is a big debate in the modern world. In Garcia’s paper she tries to persuade her readers as to why student athletes should be paid. On the other side, Dorfman’s paper takes the stand as to why student athletes should not be paid. Both Garcia and Dorfman use ethos, logos, and pathos to convince the reader that their side of the argument is correct.   They both use all three strategies effectively but each author is stronger on different ones.   Garcia does a better job using pathos, while Dorfman does a better job-using ethos.

Garcia uses ethos in her paper to convince the reader that she knows exactly what she is talking about. She does a good job of convincing her readers that she is credible and trust worthy. For example, she competed in an NCAA sport for all four years in college.   In fact, she played on one of the most elite college softball teams in the nation known as the Texas Longhorns. In addition, she shows people that she has gone through the struggles and how hard it is to be a student athlete, so this would convince readers that she has good reasons why they should be paid. Accordingly, she uses a lot different sources in her work to prove that she is credible. She also uses quotes from well know people inside of college sports that support her side of the argument. As well she uses statistics from other sources that show the reader the difficulty of earning a scholarship. She has a very good educational background that could increase her credibility.

Dorfman argues his side of the controversy by using ethos, which is in fact his strongest point. He has a great educational background as well as an impressive professional background, both of which add to his credibility. He is a professor at the University of Georgia for economics. This adds to his credibility because the topic is an economical issue and he has a good background on the issue. He is also a consultant on many economical issues that occur in his local community. He has a great grasp on economics and how money should be spent and saved. He uses very educated vocabulary and the paper is well written. He also uses good examples as to why paying the athletes is not a good idea that backs up his opinion.

Garcia uses the second strategy, logos to back up her opinion in a variety of different ways. She is very opinionated on the topic because she was in fact a college athlete herself. She does a very good job of giving examples as to why student athletes do not have opportunities to make money.   Garcia stated,

The NCAA said I had to forego the money I earned through my academics and scholarship—two principles the NCAA purports hold in high esteem. This money could have been spent on food, entertainment, and other personal expenses that all college students face. Instead, I was forced to return it solely because I was an NCAA athlete.

(Garcia, 2014, para. 10).

She includes this in her paper because it really proves her point by showing how messed up the situation was. It gives her readers a good example as to what she is trying to say. She does a good job of using her references and giving support to back them up. She uses inductive reasoning to support her side, because she gives examples and then she makes her claim. She also always backs up her claims with different examples and scenarios.

Dorfman also uses logos very effectively in a variety of ways to back up his side of the argument. He uses a lot of statistics to support his claim, which can be very persuasive and affective to a reader. He also does a very good job of using his references. He uses multiple sites that give statistics and percentages of the way that colleges use money and the colleges that are making or losing money. He later mentions, “Colleges are already compensating their student athletes with tuition, room, board, coaching, nutritional support, and physical trainers that can exceed $100,000 per year in value” (Dorfman, 2013, para. 16). This statistic he uses is very good because it gives the reader a good idea as to how much money student athletes are receiving from scholarships. He uses deductive reasoning when writing his paper, because he makes his claims and then uses examples and details to support those claims. He gives very specific details as to why it would be not only be costly to pay athletes but the difficulty it would take to make a plan to do so. He states that it would be hard to create an equal plan to pay each player, which is a good example as to why student athletes should not be paid.

Finally, Garcia appeals to pathos by bringing out emotion in her writing to the reader. She does this very well by making the reader feel the stress and grief she went through her self by being a student athlete. She gives examples such as not being able to pay miscellaneous bills that accumulated over time.   Another example she uses is her having to pay for the remaining 5 percent of her scholarship. She makes the reader almost feel bad for her in a way. Additionally, she is trying to connect with an older audience because they are the people who are more economically involved and could help with the issue. She also appeals to the student athletes of this generation because they will automatically have a connection with her and agree with her opinion, because they are going through the same struggles that she went through. In addition, she uses a technique of using famous people that testify on the topic that would attract a big crowd. From a personal stand point I agree with her and she connected with me because I am in fact a student athlete so I was able to make an easy connection with her.

Dorfman makes an effort to try and incorporate pathos in his writing.   He is typically trying to appeal to a more economical and business savvy audience with his paper. The people who would typically read his paper could be considered more educated and economically involved. These are the people that would most likely have a say in the topic. He appeals to the emotions as almost the opposite of Garcia. While Garcia wanted her audience to see how tough and hard it is for student athletes, Dorfman is showing it to his audience that student athletes are privileged and lucky to have all the money given to them already. For me personally I could not connect with this writing, because I simply have a biased opinion being a student athlete. Not that Dorfman does not make valid points its just that I do not agree with them.

At the end of the day both authors demonstrated a very good understanding of ethos, logos, and pathos when debating the controversy as to whether or not student athletes should be paid. Garcia’s attempt to persuade her readers that student athletes should be paid was very good. She did a good job appealing to her audience’s emotions or pathos by telling personal stories. Though Dorfman did a good job with logos and pathos, he was strongest with his ethos. He had a very credible background and was easy to trust because of his experience on the topic.


Dorfman, J. (2013, August 29). Pay college athletes? They’re already paid up to $125,000 per year. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2013/08/29/pay-college-athletes-theyre-already-paid-up-to-125000year/

Garcia, A. (2014, April 16). It’s time for the NCAA to pay student-athletes. Reason. Retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2014/04/16/its-time-for-ncaa-to-pay-student-athlete


Matthew Roth

Radford University

Athletes Should Be Paid

The controversy as to whether or not student athletes should be paid for their sport is a hot topic in the sports and economic world. The issue can be argued in a variety of ways.   Evidence and data are present to support each side, which makes this argument a difficult one to argue. Although the reasoning as to why student athletes should not be paid is rather convincing, these athletes are employees of the university they attend. Student athletes should start to be compensated for the sport that they play because they are essentially employees of the university, entertainers on a national basis, and major contributors to their university’s income.

People on the other side of the controversy, such as Jeffrey Dorfman, argue that student athletes are already getting compensated and should not be paid for the sport that they play. He states that student athletes get state of the art coaching and facilities for free that would normally cost between 2,000 to 3,000 dollars (Dorfman, 2013, para. 4). He believes that the students are already getting paid enough by getting benefits rather than cash to spend on whatever they choose. Some of this is true; however, not all athletic programs have the same resources as others do. Dorfman further states, that most people are conscious that students get their complete tuition, meal plan, and rooming paid for from an athletic scholarship (Dorfman, 2013, para. 3). Most people will argue for this point, but any college athlete can tell you that this is not true. They may pay for tuition and some meal plans, but they can never cover the miscellaneous expenses that the typical college student has to pay. Without a job it is nearly impossible for athletes to provide for these expenses.

Along with the athletes already being compensated with tuition, living expenses, and coaching, there are many more arguments against the idea of athletes getting paid. Many believe that in order to pay college athletes it would be nearly impossible to come up with the funds to do so. People such as Chait from New York magazine state, “Trying to work out a plan for paying student athletes to play in college wouldn’t work. As you go through the plan, the plan just slowly crumbles and shows that it would not work” (Chait, 2011, para 5). People like Chait himself do not believe that it will work because of the money it would take to pay for something like this, although the top notch Universities bring in millions of dollars annually from these sport teams. He also includes in his paper that one cannot pay the sport teams that do not generate any money and therefore, it would not be fair to pay the colleges that do bring in the money (Chait, 2011, para. 7). This does have some truth, but it would have to work the same way as the free meal plan deal the NCAA passes last year. The NCAA would not pay mid major schools such as Radford University or Liberty University as it does with the meal plans. This idea would only be possible for the major power conferences.

The first and main reason that student athletes should be paid for their hard work and talents is that they are, in fact, employees of the university. Although it is not an official label given to these athletes, it is completely true. These students put more time into their sport than into their actual school work. Gasper states, “Some student athletes are pushed away from certain classes because it will conflict with practice” (Gasper, 2014, para 23). He makes it clear from this that students are not there for school but mainly for sports. He also states that the athletes at the highest level are athletes and then students (Gasper, 2014, para. 4). His argument is proven to be true when you look at a typical athlete’s schedule. The athlete will generally have a practice in the morning then straight to class and then practice for the rest of the night. The athlete does not have time for school work or extra studying that is available for typical college students. If they don’t want to pay these students, then they need to allow for more time to focus on the school aspect. Marc Elderman from Forbes Magazine added, “The typical Division I college football player devotes 43.3 hours per week to his sport — 3.3 more hours than the typical American work week” (Elderman, 2014, para. 3). This just shows how much student athletes are actually employees rather than students.

The next point is that these athletes are entertainers on a national level. Everyone in America will tune in to ESPN when the NCAA basketball tournament comes around to watch the top basketball players this country has to offer. Gasper also claims that athletes at the next level are entertainers before they are students as well as employees (Gasper, 2014, para. 4). He talks about how these student athletes are essentially famous and if they want to make money off of their memorabilia then they should be allowed to do so (Dorfman, 2014, para. 8). This statement is very true because these students have a huge fan base and should be able to profit from them. It is just like the athletes that play for the pro leagues, they are doing the exact same things as the college athletes. They put the same amount of work if not more than these pro athletes so it is wrong to say that they cannot benefit from their success.

The last and most certainly not least point is that these sports are bringing in the majority of their institution’s money. College basketball and college football bring in the majority of money that is obtained through college sports and none of the players are able to benefit from this. More and more people are becoming aware of this statistic such as Taylor Branch from The Atlantic. He states, “Student-athletes help their university bring in money all the time, however the students don’t get any of that revenue for themselves” (Branch, 2011, para 1). This goes along with the entire argument because it shows that more people are becoming aware of the situation. In his paper he also adds that corporations are donating money to these universities to see the athletic departments prosper but the universities are taking all the money for themselves (Branch, 2011, para. 6). This money could in fact go to the wages of the student athletes. There are college coaches who make a million dollars or more which could also go to fund of student athletes (Strachan, 2015, para. 14). Instead of paying these coaches so much money that makes them some of the highest paid people in their state, this money could go to the athletes.

In conclusion, for many different reasons student athletes should be compensated for their hard work and success. These athletes put a tremendous amount of time, work, and effort into their sport. College athletes are not only students, but employees of the university and make money to help support the university. Athletes invest an amount of time to which could be considered a full time job. They are also entertainers on a worldwide basis. People from all over the world turn their TV’s on to watch these kids play sports. Also, they are the ones that generate a majority of the money that these schools are bringing in on a yearly basis. It is not fair to keep these athletes in the dark with the money when they are the ones that are bringing it all in. These are just a few of the reasons as to why student athletes should be able to benefit from their sport and acquire money from it.


Branch, T. (2011, October) The shame of college sports. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/308643/

Chait, J. (2011, November) Why paying student-athletes wouldn’t work. New York. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2011/11/chait-why-paying-student-athletes-wont-work.html

Dorfman, J. (2013, August 29). Pay college athletes? They’re already paid up to $125,000 per year. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2013/08/29/pay-college-athletes-theyre-already-paid-up-to-125000year/

Dorman J. (2014, March 20). Student Athletes Are Well Paid and Are Not Particularly Restrained. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2014/03/20/student-athletes-are-well-paid-and-are-not-particularly-restrained/

Elderman M. (2014, January 30). 21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees and Should Be Allowed To Unionize. Forbes. Retrieved from. http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2014/01/30/21-reasons-why-student-athletes-are-employees-and-should-be-allowed-to-unionize/

Gasper, C. (2014, April 2). Time for NCAA to pay up and let athletes benefit. Boston Globe. Retrieved from http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/04/01/payment-due-for-collegiate-athletes/aFDXYwUUuwKGgDak1qyc8N/story.html#

Strachan M. (2015, March 27). NCAA schools can absolutely afford to pay college athletes, economist say. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/ncaa-pay-student-athletes_n_6940836.html


Tareq Hajj

Radford University

The Grading Dispute at Radford University

            The students and faculty at Radford University are currently involved in a dispute over which grading scale should be used throughout the university, and even if there should be a universal scale at all. Currently, professors can use whichever scale they decide upon, regardless of which scale other professors use. Many students have taken issue with this because they view it as unfair. While many faculty are satisfied with the current system, the majority of students would prefer if a plus-minus grading scale was not used at the university. The issue has recently sparked debate amongst the members of the faculty senate, and students and professors alike believe the issue needs to be discussed further. A plus-minus grading scale causes a hindrance to students’ academic success and damages the learning environment; therefore it should not be used at Radford University.

Mathematically speaking, a plus-minus grading system would cause a hindrance to students’ academic success by lowering their GPAs, because there is no A+ but there is an A-. The majority of students and faculty both support the use of an A+ in a plus-minus grading scale, and yet its institution is not being seriously considered in the Faculty Senate. The lack of an A+ in the plus-minus system makes it contain more minus grades than plus grades and would mathematically put students at a disadvantage. Longtime Radford University professor Bill Hrezo claims that this is one of the main reasons he does not use a plus-minus grading system in his classes. Even Radford University professor Sanaz Fesheraki, who uses a plus-minus grading system in her classes, supports the adoption of the A+ in a plus-minus grading scale and said she would award an A+ if the university allowed her to. The lack of an A+ and the mathematical disadvantage it provides to students clearly demonstrates why a plus-minus grading scale should not be used at Radford University.

Without the A+, students with high grades in the class would be less motivated to work even harder in order to increase their grades. Although, students should not be motivated by only their grades, many of them see grades as their highest motivation in school. Fesheraki claims “(students) have less incentive to try” (Fesheraki, 2013) without the use of the plus-minus grading system. Since students with the highest grades are usually the most motivated students, not providing them with additional motivation of a higher grade, or not awarding them with a higher grade is inequitable. Fesheraki claims “If you are an outstanding student, I like it to be shown in your grades”, (Fesheraki, 2013) so although she uses a plus-minus system with no A+, she believes that it is unfair to students who perform at an outstanding level. As agreed upon by professors with different perspectives, the plus-minus system needs to provide all students with additional motivation, including those with A’s.

Although the plus-minus grading system presents a disadvantage to students with A’s, an A+ is generally accepted as not being a part of a plus-minus system. Although both Hrezo and Fesheraki are in favor of having an A+, it is not allowed to be given at Radford University. A document written by the RU Faculty Senate, which is in favor of plus-minus grading states that “Faculty in favor of implementing a plus/minus grading system at Radford University would like a way to more finely distinguish between students.” (RU Faculty Senate, 2013, p.1) Since faculty want to differentiate between students, an A+ would allow them to differentiate between the best students in the class. Virginia Tech student Nick Sarokhanian also claims that the lack of an A+ hinders students going on to graduate school because students “are hurt when the institutions they apply to standardize all of the GPA scales of their applicants and give extra weighting to an A+” (Sarokhanian, 2006, p.1). If only some schools award an A+, and the A+ is weighted differently when applying to graduate school, then students from schools without the A+ are hurt in the application process because their GPAs would appear lower because of the lack of an A+. The lack of an A+ presents one of the most serious problems with the plus-minus grading system.

Another serious problem is that there are different grading scales used for the same courses. If the class material is similar or the same, then the same grading scale should be used so students are measured equally. Virginia Tech student Nick Sarokhanian states, “If you are going to have a GPA system that allows for plusses and minuses (except for A+), then you should have clear benchmarks at the university scale for what earns what grade.” (Sarokhanian, 2006, p.1). This would create equality for student and professors alike because it would eliminate any possibility of students choosing which professor to take based upon their grading scales. Fesheraki decided to use plus-minus grading in her classes after reviewing syllabi from other professors in her department, and discovering that they used plus-minus. She believes that the grading scale should be the same throughout the department so students can know what they need to score to get a certain grade. Without a uniform grading scale, there will not be equality amongst students, and the current grading inefficiency will continue.

The plus-minus grading system would contribute to this grading inefficiency because the closer intervals between grades would cause students to be more motivated by grades and less motivated by learning. Both Hrezo and Fesheraki believe that the primary goal of students should be to learn, and to be successful students must understand this. The RU Faculty Senate Document claims “Another argument in favor of plus/minus grading is that it will encourage student motivation” (RU Faculty Senate, 2013, p.1), but this would cause motivation for the wrong reasons. Providing students with the additional grade motivation plus-minus grading causes would deter them from being motivated to learn. When students are primarily motivated by grades, they tend to forget the information they learned after the semester ends, because they found it only important when they were earning grades for it. This would cause students to have more difficulty working after graduation, and would cause the value of a degree from Radford to decrease. If students care more about learning than grades, it benefits them in the long run, and a plus-minus grading scale would discourage this. The disadvantage the plus-minus scale provides to the learning experience of students at Radford University should definitely be taken into consideration while debating which grading scale should be used.

As the debate over plus-minus grading rages on in the Radford University Faculty Senate, students continue to raise an issue with the current grading methods at Radford University. The Faculty Senate is in search of a system that will satisfy the majority of students and faculty. A plus-minus grading scale would not be beneficial for students and would harm the learning environment. Based upon my research, it is clear that the majority of students and faculty agree with this statement and would prefer a plus-minus grading scale not be used at Radford University. Further discussion about this issue in the Radford University Faculty Senate is definitely a necessity.



Fesheraki, S. (2013, November 1). Interview by TM Hajj. Interview with Dr. Fesheraki.

Hrezo, W. (2013, October 24). Interview by TM Hajj. Interview with Dr. Hrezo.

RU Faculty Senate. (2013). Change in Grading System. Retrieved from http://www.radford.edu/content/dam/departments/administrative/faculty-senate/Motions/12-13-Grading-System.docx

Sarokhanian, Nick. (2006, November 30). Uniform grading policies should be adopted. Retrieved from http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/8101/uniform-grading-policies-should-be-adopted



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