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Hello, I wrote a quick Issue Essay in preparation for my GRE. I found myself pretty short on time, but nonetheless here it is. I welcome constructive feedback.

Prompt: Government funding for purely scientific endeavors, such as space exploration should be reduced in order to direct more funding toward humanitarian science projects.


As children, our teachers taught us that we could be anything and do whatever we dreamed. “People have landed on the moon,” they’d tell us, “anything is possible!” This exploration into the unknown, for the mere sake of exploration, inspired a generation of scientists and engineers to pursue science. While it may seem a fruitless effort, purely scientific pursuits result in boundless rewards for humanity, if indirectly.

Since the beginning, humans have been given the ability to wonder about the unknown, to search for explanations for the holes in their knowledge; this yearning is what has pushed us into the modern era. Scientists looked at the skies for generations until finally Kepler developed a telescope powerful enough to study the skies. Where would we be today if we had never developed telescopes and further refined our lens technology? Furthermore, this allowed us to understand the laws that govern the universe itself. Gravity, elliptical orbits, etc, were all discovered by Kepler. Likewise, today we have managed to develop technology with the pursuit of space exploration. GPS would not be possible if we did not have the technology to sent satellites into space. While space travel may appear to simply be an effort to satisfy our everlasting curiosity about the unknown, it results in various technologies being invented that positively affect our lives.

That is not to say that funds cannot be allocated to humanitarian projects, but undoubtedly there is room for both. Research into antibiotic resistance, GMOs, climate change, etc would surely benefit humankind and funds can be used toward these efforts. If they aren’t, we will surely be in trouble within a few generations time. The majority of our funds should be dedicated to these endeavors - and they are. Nassau funding is only a small fraction of the overall budget toward scientific research. It is best if we maintain this course and retain the current budgeting of scientific funding; this will maximize the benefits of both types of research.

Purely scientific pursuits not only have the ability to inspire and motivate a generation of young minds, but it creates a wealth of technology that can be used to benefit society. Humanitarian projects will benefit us, as well, but its important to maintain funding for both.

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I've also written an Argument Essay, which you are welcome to read!


Five years ago, the local university built two new dormitories through different contractors: Aleph Construction and Gimmel Builders. The buildings were nearly identical, though it cost Gimmel Builders approximately 20 percent more to construct their dormitory. Aleph’s dormitory, however, has required approximately 10 percent more in maintenance costs per year over the past five years. Therefore, to construct their new dormitory with the lowest overall cost, the local university should hire Aleph Construction.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions in the expert’s claim. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.


While the argument may appear sound on the surface, the information provided relies on a shaky foundation. The language used to qualify the buildings as “nearly identical” is vague and the idea that 10%/yr additional maintenance costs is less money than a 20% additional initial investment may not be true, meaning that Gimmel Builders may be more economical, especially in the long run.

First, the author of this argument qualifies the dormitories as being nearly identical, which is not only vague, but most likely incorrect. If one building requires 10% more in maintenance costs per year, then the dormitories are most certainly not identical. The Gimmel Builders make a higher quality building. Perhaps, they use higher quality materials that have less wear and tear or more durable pipes in their plumbing. Perhaps the inferior quality of the Aleph’s work is hidden behind the walls or maybe the author is not qualified to accurately assess the nature of the builder’s work. Regardless, this assertion that the buildings are the same is on shaky ground and the Gimmel Builders are likely a more beneficial choice than the author realizes.

Second, the author makes an unstated assumption that the 10% additional maintenance costs will sum to less than the 20% initial investment of the Gimmel Builders, which could be untrue. Without knowing the actual numbers, we are not able to assess which value is greater. Perhaps the maintenance costs are small to begin with and the 10% increase is minimal, or perhaps not. In addition, we don’t know what time scale the author was looking at. Maybe the Aleph Builders are cheaper in 5 years, but what about in 10 or 15 years? Do we know if those maintenance costs will remain constant or will they increase as the building deteriorates? If this calculation turns out to be untrue, then the Aleph builders may not be as affordable as they seem.

It may appear that the Aleph Construction are the obvious choice initially, but there are some very important assumptions that need to be reviewed before that conclusion can be drawn. It is possible that Aleph Construction makes an inferior quality building that will require the university to pour an increasing amount of money into over the years. If so, Gimmel Builders are the economical choice.

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