This is the second writing question on the TOEFL iBT Test. Get more samples here.

Your professor is teaching a class on public administration. Write a post responding to the professor’s question.  In your response, you should

  • express and support your personal opinion
  • make a contribution to the discussion in your own words

An effective response will contain at least 100 words.  You have ten minutes to read the question and write your answer.


Professor: Funding for education is a really hot topic nowadays, so today we’re going to talk about how universities use their limited resources.  In the discussion board please respond to the following question: Should universities prioritize funding academic facilities like libraries, or is it okay to spend just as much money on sports and athletic programs?

Rachel: I think universities should prioritize funding for libraries. Libraries are essential for academic research, and they provide students with access to information and resources that they might not have otherwise. Investing in libraries can also help attract and retain the most talented professors, which can ultimately benefit the university as a whole.  Sports, on the other hand, appeal to just a few people. 

Mike: While I agree that libraries are important, I think that sports programs should also be a priority for universities. Sports can bring the campus community together, even if that just means they attend sports and cheer for their favorite athletes.  Meanwhile, among the athletes themselves, sports promote teamwork and leadership skills. Additionally, successful sports programs can generate revenue for the university and boost its reputation.

Sample Answer

In my opinion, universities should spend more money on academic facilities. I’m convinced  that they also help schools recruit the best possible students, which improves their whole academic environment. Everyone enjoys classes a lot when their classmates are intelligent and devoted to their studies, so this seems like an obvious choice to make.   Mike raised the relevant point that athletic events bring people close together, but he didn’t mention that there are other ways to do that which are much more affordable.  For example, organizing a campus festival is a more cost-effective way to help students bond than funding an entire football team.

Another Sample Answer

While Rachel brought up a few great points, I still believe that it is worthwhile to fund athletics.  Remember that most universities in this country are pretty much the same in terms of classes and professors, but a winning sports team can help a school stand out from the crowd.  Many high school students pick their university based on the success of its sports teams, so it is probably a smart idea to make sure those teams get enough funding.  I certainly agree that libraries are ultimately more important than football stadiums, but when enrollment goes up there will be more money for libraries and other academic facilities.

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