Essay
Idealisticaly, a job well done is reward enough for the effort. Logically it is dangerous to complete tasks merely for the personal economic gain or recognition since there will be nothing left but disappointment if the task fails to bring these rewards. Despite such common sense, society today revolves largely around the promise of wealth and fame, partially due to the capitalist system it is governed by. People today are motivated to acheive by materialistic promises, rather than a sense of personal acheivement.

Capitalist society revolves around the promise of material rewards for accomplishments, making it easy for the people of todays society to be motivated by greed. Money and fame remain part of the American dream, following closely the promise of being able to pursue a goal for more than a sense of accomplishment. The "invisible hand" assumes that when people are left to pursue their own interests, society will in turn benefit. What becomes lost is part of the individual's benefit that is the self-fulfilling notion of having completed a task only for the happiness it gives.

Striving to be accepted to an ivy league college is a less dramatic example of pursuing recognition, rather than happiness. Many children of today are flocking to afterschool activities so that they may add them to their growing list of accomplishments for the colleges. Many of these students become machines, working mindlessly towards the recognition they will receive once they are accepted to Princeton, or Harvard, or Yale. The buzz on school campuses near college decision dates demonstrates the effect that society has had on its youth. While some students have learned to follow their heart and receive happiness from participating in the activities that they love, many other have fallen victim to today's trend; the pursuit of the material or egocentric goal.

Whether looking at the macroscopic view of our capitalist society or the specific case of college fever, people today are motivated by the promise of wealth and fame. Lost are the days where pursuits led to happiness and fulfillment. The personal satisfaction of a job well done is no longer its own reward.

Why this essay received a score of 5
This essay effectively develops the point of view that "People today are motivated to acheive by materialistic promises, rather than a sense of personal acheivement," even though "common sense" would suggest that "it is dangerous to complete tasks merely for the personal economic gain or recognition since there will be nothing left but disappointment if the task fails to bring these rewards." The response demonstrates strong critical thinking by supporting this position with the generally appropriate examples of "the macroscopic view of our capitalist society" and "the specific case of college fever." The writer first explains that "the American dream" has become so closely associated with "Money and fame" that "What becomes lost ... is the self-fulfilling notion of having completed a task only for the happiness it gives." Next, the essay describes how high school students, "Striving to be accepted to an ivy league college," "are flocking to afterschool activities so that they may add them to their growing list of accomplishments for the colleges" rather than learning "to follow their heart and receive happiness from participating in the activities that they love." The focus and organization of this essay demonstrate coherence and progression of ideas. The writer uses appropriate vocabulary, exhibiting facility in the use of language ("Many of these students become machines, working mindlessly towards the recognition they will receive once they are accepted to Princeton, or Harvard, or Yale"). Although this essay is effective, in order to merit a score of 6, this essay needs to demonstrate slightly stronger critical thinking by offering more insightful details supporting the examples provided. This essay demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery and receives a score of 5.

Source: The College Board

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