Fallacy within the “App Store”: A Critique of “The Common App Fallacy” In “The Common App Fallacy” written by Damon Beres, he argues that students would have a better chance at getting into college by banning the college application which, he says, does not help students conduct individualized searches for colleges but is rather a “cheap, money-making scheme”.
The author informs the audience that due to the convenience the Common Application, lack of commitment to personal college applications has become more abundant. He tries to convince the people who work and care about student college application processes that this will do nothing but harm the students because they “aren’t getting into the schools they want or deserve” due to the increasing competition in the process.
First off, Beres starts his essay by introducing the statistics that 11,000 students out of 34,000 students are chosen for NYU’s freshman class alone and that he was lucky enough to be one of those accepted.
He continues with another example, telling us that no matter what his friends’ GPA’s were or the extracurricular activities they did, they were simply “shutout of everywhere.” There is no doubt, he explains, that there are definitely increases in applications due to this; which means that while more kids are after higher education, many schools turn them down. To overcome this obstacle, students apply to whatever position in the university that they feel they have a chance of getting into.
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He goes on to remark that with the promotion of the Common Application by universities and College Board, students are tempted to use these “mass applications.” This means that rather than being more beneficial to the student, the Common Application puts students at a risk because they show a lack of serious interest. Beres argues that the individualism and unique talents shown in the application, essays, and letters of recommendation simply are not there if a Common Application is used.
For the sake of the NYU reputation, the author believes this application process needs to be completely transformed. He also provides a solution in which he suggests that perhaps “the College Board and Common App should go all-out with their greed and charge more to send out scores and applications to discourage students from sending them out with reckless abandon”. Conclusively, he believes this is a better way of students obtaining a better possibility at getting into the college that is right for them.
In the first paragraph, the author relates the words miracle and lottery to his acceptance in NYU. He does not state whether the university is his “dream school” which may be implied that the author is one of those students using “mass applications”.
This can perhaps explain his bitter reaction towards the Common Application. In the next paragraph, his use of descriptors such as “GPA’s that resemble the population of China” and “Jimmy Carter look[ing] like a lazy old coot” are extreme but effectively persuasive when discussing his point. However, he contrasts his lucky acceptance to his other friends who were rejected by the Ivy League schools and other places they applied to.
He compares NYU to many other Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton but NYU is not entirely comparable to those. To even have a chance of being accepted to the Ivies, students must have an outstanding application. This is a false analogy. In addition the Ivies are not the only schools out there. Therefore, the false analogy and failure to mention other schools hinders the power of his argument.
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After that hiccup, the author builds up his argument in a much more successful way. He displays the purpose of the essay with facts and many useful comparisons such as “reporting substantial increases in applications” and “schools have a larger, more competitive application pool… kids are taking spots at universities that they may, in fact, have little to no interest in”. This information is significant and logical.
It captures the sympathetic attention of the audience, a want to help these students. However, when he says, “the average [schools applied to] from people I’ve talked to seems to be around 10, though many I know have applied to upward of 16,” the number of people he talked to needs to be clarified.
Also additional research needs to be done to make sure he is representing the larger group of college applicants. Lastly, his later paragraphs provide a poignant thesis to this essay displayed with an abundance of passion.
Not only that but he provides a solution, “Maybe it has to be a joint endeavor… to discourage students from sending them out with reckless abandon”, which adds to his argument. However, the last paragraph seems to be out of place as it does not properly conclude this essay. The statistics, if used at all, would best be placed somewhere in the beginning of the essay. This would better support and lead into his argument.
I agree with Beres on this issue, but only to an extent. I agree with his solution that if Common Application was no longer used, then students would put more effort and time into college applications. Each student would at least be distinguishable from each other rather than “common answers” such as “Did your parent attend our college?” or “Have you visited our university?” etc.
However, a major flaw is that he does not provide accurate evidence to supports his argument. He manages to sway the reader in his favor, but fails to fully persuade them that his argument is correct. Words: 923
Behrens, Laurence, and Leonard J. Rosen. What It Takes: Academic Writing in College. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2012. Print. Beres, Damon. “The Common App Fallacy.” Washington Square News. 10 Jan. 2008. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.
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