Some people think that universities should provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Others think that the true function of a university should be to give access to knowledge for its own sake, regardless of whether the course is useful to an employer.
What, in your opinion, should be the main function of a university?
This question is quite difficult because it requires you to look at both sides of an issue and give your opinion.
There are three ways you could answer this:
1) Argue that the function of university is to provide graduates with knowledge and skills needed in the workplace.
2) Argue that the function of university is to give access to knowledge for its own sake.
3) Argue that the function of university is to do both.
I’ve decided to pick the third option because this will allow me to discuss both sides of the argument and therefore give a very comprehensive answer.
Whether a university’s role should be to prepare graduates for specific jobs or simply to educate without a particular vocation in mind is a debatable issue. This essay believes that universities fulfill both purposes. The essay will first discuss the function of vocational courses, followed by a discussion of more traditional tertiary education.
Some students have a very specific job in mind when they enroll at university. Medicine, dentistry and accountancy have clear career paths and they allow people to focus on and then undertake a certain profession upon graduation. This suits those who have decided on a career and it avoids them wasting time studying a more general subject like English. For instance, in the United States, you must complete four years of higher education before you can study law and many feel that these four years are a waste of time, that would have been better used focusing on their chosen discipline.
However, this is not suitable for everyone and many people have no idea what job they would like to do when they are 18. For these young people, it is better to do a non-vocational course, such as philosophy and simply add to their intellect without a career goal in mind. If they were forced to study a more practical subject, they are more likely to quit or become disillusioned because they don’t see the point of their chosen subject. For example, The Times recently reported that only 50% of law graduates actually want to become lawyers at the end of their studies.
In conclusion, the function of college is to both prepare students for the workforce and provide knowledge and which one a person chooses should depend on their preference at the time.
(285 words) Band 9.
In the introduction I have paraphrased the question and then made it very clear what my opinion is. I have also told the examiner how I am going to organise my essay. This will give us very high marks for both ‘task achievement’ and ‘coherence and cohesion’.
My next paragraph is one in which I show that the function of university is to prepare students for the workforce. I have not only made this point, but also explained why I think this and provided an example to further support my argument.
The third paragraph is one in which I show the function of university is to give students knowledge without any job in mind. Again, I have explained my point and given an example.
Lastly, I have made my opinion clear again in the conclusion and summarised the main points.
I hope this has been of help to you and please let me know if you have any questions or feedback.
For more great sample answers check out our task 2 sample answer page.