persuasive essay one

Overall, this first essay will require you to take a position on one of two current social issues (detailed at the end of these instructions) and support that position. In other words, you will choose one of the topic options and write an essay on it, but you will not turn in the entire essay at once. You will first turn in only the introductory paragraph and first main body paragraph, so you can get feedback and make sure you are headed in the right direction.

You will be expected to use the Three-Part Writing Format, which you will have studied, for this essay. Minimum length will be approximately 1000 words for the entire essay, with preference given to essays with even greater development. In regards to length of your partial draft, note this: A good length for a body paragraph is about 250 words; 300 words is an excellent length. Your body paragraph should be about twice as long as your intro.

In general, by “social issue,” I mean some problem or question which potentially affects great numbers of people in our society. Choose one of the two issues explained at the end of these instructions. The issue you choose will be your writing topic, and you will be asked to take a position on it. This position–your opinion–will become your thesis. Then think of three supporting reasons which justify and back up your position on the issue. These will be listed in your preview. (Hint: several possible supporting reasons are either stated or implied in the explanation of each topic.)

To repeat: the entire essay is not yet due; first, you will submit your introductory paragraph and first main body paragraph, as a partial draft. The partial draft will be submitted in two places—in a discussion board, and to me for grading. Both these assignments will open separately in Coursework.

NOTE: Sometimes, I open these instructions a day or so before I open the two partial draft assignments, so if you see only these instructions, please be patient; the two partial draft assignments will open very soon.

Now, here are the two possible topic options. You must pick one of these two. Other essays will allow for broad topic choices, but not this first one.


Opinions are divided as to whether divorce hurts children. Almost no one argues that divorce is always good for kids. However, many people do claim that there are certain times when divorce can help children, for instance when abuse of one kind or another is present.

On the other hand, many other people claim that divorce is always harmful to children in some way, even when divorce may be the best thing for the parents. Those arguing this side point to factors like the decrease in attention, less discipline, lack of a role model, and so forth.

Do you think that divorce can sometimes be helpful to children, or that it is always harmful to them in some way? Choose one position or the other; I will not accept essays trying to argue or compare both sides. Your purpose is to convince your readers to agree with you. Also, you will note that certain potential supports for either side have been listed above. Yes, you may “borrow” these. Whichever position you choose, you must support that position with three supports.


This topic is about the difficulty many students (like yourselves) have in finishing their college educations. Note that you should not focus this essay only on yourself. Word it so that what you say can apply to other students who might share your circumstances. The exception to this focus beyond yourself will be in any stories about yourself which you may use as specific examples.

Please approach this topic in one of the two ways below:

(a) Write a thesis stating how difficult you think it is for many students (not just you) to successfully complete college. (This thesis assumes you do think succeeding in college is hard.) As main body supports, choose three major problems students encounter in trying to succeed in college. Note that these problems do not need to have anything directly to do with the classroom, but instead may focus on students’ lives, problems at home, on the job, etc.

(b) OR, write a thesis stating that despite the many difficulties, students can still succeed in college if they will do certain things. Then as main body supports, discuss three major strategies or ways in which students may help themselves succeed in college.

In either case, be sure to include specific examples to illustrate each body paragraph. These specific examples will be stories about yourself or others you know.

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