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Author Message
Manager
Joined: 13 Dec 2013
Posts: 154
Location: United States (NY)
GMAT 1: 710 Q46 V41
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V40
GPA: 4
WE: Consulting (Consulting)

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09 Feb 2017, 10:04
2
Hi All! Here is an AWA prompt with my answer in bold. Please critique it and I hope it's useful.

The following appeared in a memorandum written by the chair of the music department to the president of Omega University.

“Mental health experts have observed that symptoms of mental illness are less pronounced in many patients after group music therapy sessions, and job openings in the music-therapy field have increased during the past year. Consequently, graduates from our degree program for music therapists should have no trouble finding good positions. To help improve the financial status of Omega University, we should therefore expand our music-therapy degree program by increasing its enrollment targets.

The argument concerns the timely issue of university finances, which is frequently discussed in the media. The chair of the music department argues that since job openings in the music-therapy field have increased in the past year, Omega University should expand its music therapy program in order to improve the financial status of the university. The conclusion of the argument may be correct; however, the chair of the music department fails to provide several pieces of key evidence that would allow the reader to reach the stated conclusion. In addition, the argument presents irrelevant data that may be confusing for the reader. Lastly, the argument requires the reader to make assumptions which may or may not be true.

The argument states that job openings in the music-therapy field have increased in the past year and from this premise concludes that graduates should have no trouble finding good positions. There flaws with this reasoning. Firstly, although job openings have increased, the number of good positions may actually have decreased. This would mean that graduates would in fact have more difficulty finding good positions. Secondly, the argument fails to mention how easy it is for graduates to currently find good positions. This is important because if there are currently three good positions for every five graduates and this increases to four good positions for every five graduates, this does not mean that graduates will find it easy to obtain good positions.

The chair writes that to improve the financial status of the university, the music-therapy degree program should be expanded. This requires the reader to make the assumption that the profitability of the program increases with the number of students. If the program operates at a loss per student, increasing the number of students will have a negative effect on the financial status of the university.

The passage opens with a statement regarding the symptoms of mental illness following group therapy sessions. This premise has no bearing on the argument and does not provide any relevant evidence. In fact, by opening with this statement, the author actually confuses the reader.

To strengthen the argument, the author could provide concrete figures on the ease with which graduates are expected to be able to find a good job. This would help to qualify the conclusion that graduates should have no trouble finding good positions. In addition, the author would be well advised to include information regarding the expected change in profitability of the music program with increased enrolment. A breakdown of the expected increase in revenue from the program with an increase in e.g. 5, 10 and 15 students would be beneficial. The author would also do well to consider whether there will be a general increase in music-therapy graduates for the following year. If the number of graduates is expected to rise at a rate greater than the number of good jobs, then this would negatively affect graduate prospects and would be critical flaw in the argument.

To sum up, while the conclusion that the author presents may be valid, the evidence provided does not allow the reader to arrive logically at the conclusion. Including additional evidence would help to strengthen the argument considerably.
Intern
Joined: 14 May 2017
Posts: 1

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25 Jun 2017, 20:23

The passage presents an argument in which Omega University concludes that it must increase its enrollment target for the music therapy degree program, because there are high openings in the music therapy industry over the last one year. The evidence used to explain this trend is based on a study by mental health experts, claiming that symptoms of mentall illness become less pronounced in many patients as they participate in group music therapy sessions. The overall explanation and its conclusion relies on weak evidence and assumptions, which are questioned below.

Firstly, the plan assumes that job openings available now are likely to exist even in the future. Its supporting evidence is the current state of the job market, but there is no data cited that can explain sustainable future opportunities.

Secondly, the argument assumes that all graduates of the mental therapy course will be able to match the requirements of the jobs currently available in the market. There needs to be a thorough understanding of whether the graduates from the university are required to undergo training programs post their education for a few months or years before they are even qualified to fulfill the requirements of the job on offer.

Finally, the conclusion that the college must increase its enrollment targets could work contrary to what the college seeks out to do in the first place. An oversupply might cause a reduction in the overall quality of the graduates coming from Omega University and might actually work against it in the future, even affecting its other courses.

Therefore, the university needs to keep a fine balance instead, by not increasing the quantity of supply of graduates in the market and investing more in quality of training programs, internship opportunities and facility provisions to its existing students. This will eventually also lead to an increase in enrollment into its other programs due to a jump in its overall quality standards.
Intern
Joined: 10 Jan 2018
Posts: 10
Location: Morocco
Schools: HEC Montreal '19
GMAT 1: 490 Q36 V20
GPA: 3.1

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07 Feb 2018, 12:18
Hi everybody!
Here is my version of this AWA with my answer in quotes. Please come up with as much critiques and comments as you can!
Quote:
To a broad extent, the chair of the music department is trying to be persuasive about many statements throughout his letter. In fact, he recognizes that there is high demand in group music therapy sessions and consequently assesses that many students will not get any problems finding positions in the field. Moreover, he mentions that increasing enrollments in the music degree program will beneficiate the university financial situation effectively.

First and foremost, the argument fails to address the fact that even if the music therary sessions demand increased, nothing guarantees that there will be also an increase in people showing mental illness problems. The chair didn’t go further through the argument by stating any useful data treating about these mental illness statistics whatsoever. Thus, we could consider this as a major flaw in his argument process.

Furthermore, the music department chair adds in his letter that the financial status of the university will only get better as long as the university somehow is convinced to increase enrollments targets for the music degrees program. However, the argument clearly misses to weigh or mention the music department weight within the university - Are most of the students in the Omega University usually enrolled in Music programs? Are the music programs the most expensive programs in the university or among the most expensive programs for instance? Clearly, the argument would have been more consistent by responding to those questions.

In addition to that, the letter doesn’t mention anything about the department tools expected to be used in order to expand their enrollments targets. What’s the main strategy to be used in order to attract new enrollments? The chair didn’t address the market he is targeting as well, is it a national market, state or international market? How many students would be interested by taking the degree program? By responding to those questions and establishing a concise department strategy and market analysis, the president would certainly be more convinced about the chair’s proposition of increasing enrollments. Without these, the argument remains subject to a main review.

In conclusion, although the argument has some merits, it certainly failed to address the points established above, which would have certainly served as indiscussable proofs and evidences, and which is not the case. These also would have provided more insights about a future vision.

Intern
Joined: 12 Sep 2017
Posts: 28

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08 May 2018, 01:37
Hi Everyone ... Please review my essay. Thank you

The following appeared in a memorandum written by the chair of the music department to the president of Omega University.
“Mental health experts have observed that symptoms of mental illness are less pronounced in many patients after group music therapy sessions, and job openings in the music-therapy field have increased during the past year. Consequently, graduates from our degree program for music therapists should have no trouble finding good positions. To help improve the financial status of Omega University, we should therefore expand our music-therapy degree program by increasing its enrollment targets.
*****

The given excerpt is taken from the memorandum written by the chair of the music department to the president of the Omega University in which the author suggests to expand the enrollment targets in music-therapy degree program to improve the University's financial status based on the observation of mental health experts that the music therapy sessions help reduce the mental illness in many patients. Though the suggestion seems appealing, it lacks proper evidence on which the observation is based and the conclusion is derived.

First, the assumption on which the argument is based is that the music therapy sessions alone helped in reducing mental illness symptoms in patients. However, this observation requires solid grounds to back it up as it is possible that the group music therapy session worked with the medicines given to patients and a study to analyse the contribution of music session and the medicine in reducing illness symptoms. Hence, a comparative study must be done to arrive at any conclusion.

Second, the author does not provide any details on the degree of improvment in patients whether the symptoms were reduced temporarily or it was a long term improvement.

Moreover, the university cannot rely on the enrollments in music degree program completely because the number of enrollments depends on the students having interest in music therapy and on the awareness of this observation amongst potential students. Furthermore, the enrollments also depends on the number and ranking of universities offering such courses.

Finally, the music therapy session depends on the patients' interst in music also. If there are fewer patients who like music then this therapy could not work on them and hence, could be ineffective.

In conclusion, the author's argument is flawed. the author fails to present any relevant evidence that would convince the reader of his position. If he had presented the examples and substantiated his argument with clear evidence, it would have stregthened his conclusion. The argument in its current form is unpersuasive and requires a detailed study.
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