Can someone please help me by reviewing and revising my introduction and thesis statement below? My topic is "contrasting traditional and nontraditional student" By tradition, we think of a...

Can someone please help me by reviewing and revising my introduction and thesis statement below? My topic is "contrasting traditional and nontraditional student"

By tradition, we think of a college student as someone between the ages of 18 to 23 years old. The traditional student starts their college education right after graduating high school. Our society tells us that this is what is expected and what is considered normal. Nontraditional students are considered someone who is beyond the age of 23 years of age or has been out of school for an extended period of time. THESIS STATEMENT--> A traditional student has an advantage over a nontraditional student because they have the ability to immediately pursue a higher education right after high school.

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Your thesis statement reads;

A traditional student has an advantage over a nontraditional student because they have the ability to immediately pursue a higher education right after high school.

You have a split infinitive there in "to immediately pursue." If you don't know what a split infinitive is, you should look it up. It is generally considered bad grammar.

I suggest:

Traditional students have advantages over nontraditional students because they are able to proceed to higher education immediately after high school.

This doesn't explain much, though. Why is there an advantage in being able to go to college immediately? I would suppose that one advantage would be that traditional students would be better able to meet and mingle with people their own age. College is a lot more fun when you're young. Nontraditional students have to make friends with other nontraditional students, if they make any friends in college at all. And some of the most important relationships in a person's life are formed in college.

By tradition, we think of a college student as someone between the ages of 18 to 23 years old. 

We don't tend to think of college students as people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three by tradition. We think of them as people between those ages because we see the college campuses crowded with young men and women who are all about the same age.

The traditional student starts their college education right after graduating high school.

I think it would sound better to say:

The traditional student starts college right after graduating from high school.

You are obviously trying to avoid saying "he" or "him" or "his," because that could suggest that only males go to college or that only males should go to college--or something. 

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that the paragraph offered is a strong one.  There is much there to introduce an interesting paper.  There can be some word choice and clarity offered in the first sentence:  "By tradition, we think of a college student as someone between the ages of 18 to 23 years old."  I think that being able to open your work with “In a traditional sense,” as opposed to “By tradition.”  The idea of mere “tradition” is different than a “traditional sense,” and I think that the focus of the introduction is to create the contrast between how college students are traditionally thought of and how they are viewed in the modern setting. There is clarity in the following two sentences: “The traditional student starts their college education right after graduating high school. Our society tells us that this is what is expected and what is considered normal.”  These two sentences help to establish what you are striving to challenge. I would put “normal” in quotation marks to clearly identify that you are using social expectation and not your own assertion.  Following the next sentence, “Nontraditional students are considered someone who is beyond the age of 23 years of age or has been out of school for an extended period of time,” it might be helpful to place a transitional sentence between your paradigm of “before” and “after.” For example, it might be transitionally effective to simply say, “This is not always the case” or “There are exceptions to this construction.” Placing some type of transition in between your distillation of the traditional and non- traditional student might make a more rhetorically effective moment in the introduction.

The thesis statement is clear and concise.  However, I think that you need to include some type of support to clearly illuminate how the “traditional” construction can provide benefit to the student.  While you are going to prove this in the paper, it might be effective to include a sentence of insight that helps to establish that the traditional construction is beneficial to students.  In your analysis, you suggest that society mandates what is considered “normal.” Perhaps, including some brief analysis as to why this might be the case could help to ease the reader into your thesis statement at the end of the introduction.  It could be something as direct as, "Social expectation and tradition helps the student find success in higher education."  Including analysis that helps to ease the reader into your thesis statement that will support the traditional understanding of being a student.

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