15 Feb 2010

Sample Essay: Persuassive Letter- Not Dropping Out.Dare to Dream

Dear Friend,

I would like to begin this letter by telling you a story. Do you remember when we were children, around eight years old, and you and I had spent a summer’s day playing and running and laughing and just enjoying life? I know these days tend to blend into one another, but I have a specific day in mind. We had just started walking home from the field where we’d been playing, and I tripped and fell, twisting my ankle.

I tried to take a few steps, but each one brought an agonising jolt of pain, and I didn’t feel like carrying on, even though we were quite close to home. These were the days before mobile phones, before a quick phone call would have all manner of people rushing to help. These were the days where you either sucked it up and faced your pain, or crumpled in a heap and quit trying. That day, I felt like quitting. You want to know what helped me get home to help? You by my side every step of the way, encouraging me, helping me up again and again when I stumbled, and motivating me to keep going when I faltered.

I always wondered when I would get the opportunity to repay you in kind for helping get home that day. I wanted to help you understand what I learned that day – that perseverance is a wonderful thing, but it is something that is very difficult to accomplish alone. I wanted you to know what it felt like to have a friend stand by you, and be there for you when you most need it.

Well my friend, that day has come.

I know you are considering dropping out of college, and I want you to know that I understand your situation. I also want you to know that I would never judge you, regardless of the decision you decide to make, and that I will support you always.

I would, however, like to offer you my point of view, as well as some advice. As your friend, I will not be offended or take it the wrong way if you do not take this advice, but I also want you to know that as your friend, I only want the best for you. So here goes…

My point of view on dropping out of college is simple – don’t! My reasoning, however, is a little more complex.

Firstly, you have already put so much time and effort into college that it would be a shame to give it up when you are so close to completing your course. I know it may not seem so now, but I know you, and you would regret not completing something that had taken a lot of hard work and energy to start and maintain.

Secondly, I have done my homework and researched the matter, and the statistics around college drop-outs are not encouraging.

According to an article published on www.career-opportunities.net, a recent study by the Department of Education found that 31% of American students were dropping out or failing to graduate in the nation’s largest public school districts. “The consequences of students dropping out of high school are massive. Not only for the student but to the national economic community. Students who drop out of High School risk a higher chance of poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, High school drop outs demonstrate a higher risk of criminal activity and a shortened life span due to crime. It’s estimated that about 2,500 students drop out of U.S. high schools every day.”

The same reasoning can be applied to dropping out of college, although I’m sure a person’s chances of being employed would be higher with a high school certificate in hand.

The article goes on to say that one of the reasons people drop out of places of learning is that they simply don’t like it. Now I know that this is not the case with you – you love your chosen field of study, and I know that you can use your qualification to make a better life for yourself in the career that you have chosen.

The article also said that people were dropping out because of financial pressures – I know that studying has taken its toll on your work and home environment, but you have made it thus far, and have such a short time left, that it would not make sense to have sacrificed all that for nothing.. Unfortunately where college is concerned, half measures do not count for anything. If you haven’t completed a course, it means nothing to potential employers, and people view you as not being able to stick to something, no matter how unfair or misguided that view may be.

What interested me most about the article, however, was that 81% of the drop out students surveyed said they now believe graduating¬† is important to success in life. Do you really want to look back with regret upon this time in your life? As your friend, I know that deep down, you wouldn’t.

Now, enough about the negative aspects of dropping out of college – now I want to talk to you about the positive aspects of staying in school. Firstly, your future will be brighter once you complete your studies. Aside from a tremendous sense of personal achievement, which cannot be measured in dollars or cents, you will have the ability to command a higher salary than you do currently – your personal worth as a valuable asset will increase.

In the article I read, U.S. Census Bureau statistics stated that graduates earn significantly more than non-graduates, sometimes as much as 50% more! Now that is certainly something to look forward to.

According to Dr Jacquelyn P. Robinson, a workforce development specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the foundation or basic skills we need to succeed in today’s challenging environment are no longer limited to reading, writing and arithmetic.

“In today’s high-performance, high-tech workplace, employers want workers who have a strong foundation in basic literacy and computational skills,” she says. ” Individuals who do not have the skills necessary to perform complex tasking and who are not dependable will not be hired for jobs today or tomorrow.”

The article in which she is quoted also says that basic academic skills are essential for high job performance, and that workers should have the ability and desire to learn and willingness to listen and follow instructions.

“Having good higher-order thinking skills is more important that having good academic skills,” says Robinson. “The ability to think, reason and make sound decisions is crucial for employees.¬† A person who can think critically, act logically, and evaluate situations to make decisions and solve problems is a valuable asset to any employer.”

She also says that employers are looking for people who have good personal qualities, and I believe sticking to something, like college, is one of those qualities.

The article also emphasises my earlier point – a person’s lifelong earning potential rises in proportion to the level of education completed.¬† “In addition to making more money, a person can also get into the work force quicker and have a greater chance of succeeding. The unemployment rate declines as the level of education increases. People with higher levels of education find it easier to get and keep a job for two main reasons. One, they have better job skills, including reading, writing, math, communications and problem solving, and two, they have a good work ethic and a good attitude.”

I would like to end this letter to you with a word of encouragement. One of my favourite authors, an Australian named Mathew Riley, always says in the front of his books – “never underestimate your words of encouragement”, and he is a successful writer today, selling millions of copies of his books. But even he had to start with the first step, and I’m sure it was not always easy.

You, my friend, have already taken the first step. And the second, and the third. All that remains ahead of you is a final burst of energy, confidence and sheer pluck – and I know you have what it takes. I challenge you – dare to dream! Dream about what your successes now will bring you tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. You can do it!

Bibliography

Career Opportunities, 2007. The High School Drop-Out Epidemic. [online]. Available at: http://career-opportunities.net/articles/view/the_high_school_drop_out_epidemic. [accessed: 27 November 2007]

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 2002. Staying in School has Lifelong Benefits. [online]. Available at: www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/newspaper/word-files/oct10b02.doc. [accessed: 27 November 2007]

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