Should Students Stay In School Until 18 Essay

Schools play a significant role in defining one’s character. They inculcate into students various social, moral and academic traits that enrich their life further. Therefore, many people are of the opinion that the school graduation age should be extended to 18 years, but there are others who oppose this view.
In today’s competitive world, a student cannot be successful depending upon skills learned in school alone. For instance, machines are replacing jobs of unskilled workers and it has become inevitable for an individual to learn marketable skills at an early age. Hence, increasing school leaving age does not necessarily help students. Furthermore, students struggling with studies will find this change overwhelming, because they will now have to wait more to graduate from school. Such students might prefer dropping out from school.
Nonetheless, there are others who think otherwise. According to them, this change will better prepare students for the actual life problems. Schools can play a significant role in nurturing during teenage years, a crucial time in an individual’s life. Additionally, at the age of 18, an individual is matured enough to take life and career decisions. For instance, in many countries a citizen over 18 is considered an adult and gains a right to vote. Therefore, this should be an appropriate age to graduate from school and face the fierce world.
In conclusion, students should be required to stay in school until they are 18 years old not only because this is an apt age to start facing the worldly problems, but also because this will give them enough time to think about their ambitions and to prepare for it.

This is one of my model IELTS essays lessons where you can

  • read the essay
  • do a vocabulary exercise
  • get a full lesson on how to write the essay

Read the IELTS compulsory education essay

Everyone should stay in school until the age of eighteen. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It is often said that if you want to succeed in life, you need a proper education. While there may be arguments for making school compulsory until the age of 18 , I disagree that this should apply to everyone.

Perhaps the strongest reason for not leaving school early is that it prepares you for your working career. If you leave school early with only a basic education, you are unlikely to be able to find any skilled work. Indeed, the education you receive between the ages of 16 and 18 is crucial for anyone who does not want a lifetime of unskilled work in a factory.

Another compelling reason for remaining in school until 18 is that school provides moral and social education too. This is particularly important for  people between 16 and 18 who have many temptations and benefit from the organised framework that school provides. Young people who stay in school until the age of 18 tend to be more responsible and help build a stronger society.

There are, however, equally strong arguments against making school compulsory until the age of 18. One such argument is that not everyone is academic and that some people benefit more from vocational training. For instance, someone who wants to become a car mechanic may find better training and more satisfaction in an apprentice scheme. Another related argument is that, in today’s world, young people are maturing ever more quickly and are able to make their own life decisions by the age of 16.

To my mind, everyone should be encouraged to stay in school until 18 both for social and career reasons. However, I believe it would be a mistake to make this compulsory bearing in mind that different people have different needs and abilities and the possibilities of other forms of vocational training.

Practise using the essay vocabulary

 Learn how to write the essay

How to approach the essay

Address the question

The first step is to make sure you address the question. It asks you to discuss to what extent you agree or disagree with the proposition. One logical way to approach this type of essay is to look at both sides of the argument and then state which side of the argument you favour. A very useful tip is that in “agree/disagree” essays, there are at least three possible answers:

  1. I agree
  2. I  disagree
  3. I agree and disagree

Many candidates do not see the possibility of answer number 3. This is a shame as it is often the most intelligent way of answering the question for mat least 3 reasons:

  1. “to what extent” means “how much” and this implies that the answer is something like “completely”, “not at all” or “slightly”, rather than “I agree” or “I disagree”
  2.  in academic writing, we almost always look at both sides of the question and then come to a balanced conclusion. Also, if you take a more balanced approach
  3. if myou balance your arguments, you get to use some extra grammatical constructions such as “may” “tend to” “sometimes” – this extends the range of your grammar and vocabulary

Education vocabulary

This essay is about school and so we will need a variety of vocabulary for “school”. My first step is to write down as many related words as possible. I do this before I start writing as it should help me get ideas. Here are the words I came up with:

school –  education – college – university – further education – higher education – training – academic – vocational – apprentice

You can find lots more education vocabulary and some exercises to help you learn it on my education vocabulary page.

Another issue is to vary the language for “stay in school” and “until the age of 18”. There are fewer possibilities here, but there is some choice:

stay in school – leave school – remain in school – compulsory education

until they are 18 – the age of 18 – 18 year olds – from 16 to 18 – young people – teenagers

I’m not going to use all this vocabulary, but now at least I have some choice.

Other useful vocabulary

This essay contains some useful language you can borrow for discussing “reasons” and “arguments”. I repeat these words in the content paragraphs of the essay; this is not ideal but see how I use good word combinations to vary the language a little:

  • strongest reason
  • Another compelling reason
  • equally strong arguments
  • One such argument
  • Another related argument

You should also note that repeating these words actually helps the paragraphs become more coherent. See paragraph coherence 3.

Essay structure

I am going to look at both sides of the question. This is one possible approach for “agree/disagree” essays. It is possible to write from just one point of view but it is easy to run out of things to say. The main body is going to have 3 paragraphs:

  1. good idea: career – need education for skilled work
  2. good idea: social responsibility – young people need guidance
  3. bad idea: vocational training better/people differ – car mechanics need apprenticeships

Answering the question

In the introduction, I am going to outline that there are 2 points of view, but state that it is “debatable” whether it should be compulsory. “Debatable” is a very useful word as it signals my point of view and allows me to discuss both sides of the issue.

In the conclusion, I give my own answer to the question (“To my mind”). This answer that they “should be encouraged” to stay in school but not forced to reflects the balance of the essay.


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