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The Custom Essay Man November 16, 2010

Posted by Sarah in Uncategorized.
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I was somewhat disturbed to read this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s written by a man who writes papers for a custom-essay company; students pay him to write their papers for them. Obviously it’s sad to see how common academic dishonesty is. But what really shocked me was something else.

A lot of “Ed Dante”‘s customers (he goes by a pseudonym) are in graduate or professional school. And apparently they’re really terrible writers. When they write him asking him for help, it’s something like “You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?” I have to wonder — why are these people in graduate school in the first place?

I don’t mean that pejoratively. I don’t think you’re inferior as a person if you’re bad at writing or not gifted at academics. But look. I’m a grad student myself. I’m here because I want to be a mathematician. While the future is uncertain for all of us, I wouldn’t be here if I thought that was a completely unrealistic goal. If I were so overwhelmed by the work here that I was tempted to pay someone to do it for me, and if I’d already tried tutors, adjusting my sleep and study schedule, etc. then I’d start reevaluating my plans. It would be insane not to! The way I see it, going to graduate school is a decision that has to be justified — you should do it only if you think it’ll help you in the long run.

If you can’t write your own briefs in law school, you really think you’re going to be a successful lawyer? If you can’t write your own PhD thesis, do you really think you have any chance to make it in academia?

This article really makes me worry that lots of people are going for extra degrees just for the sake of doing it, or to escape the job market, and not because they’re really pursuing a passion or talent that has a realistic chance of paying off. That’s disturbing — it seems like a bad sign for the economy as a whole.

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Comments»

1. Igor Carron - November 17, 2010

Sarah,

Do you really think that somebody so unprepared for the ruthlessness of a thesis would even consider the argument that you need to actually be semi-good at what you do after getting your degree ? If these students had any ounce of good judgment, they would be making money already instead of taking a double financial hit (first the tuition and then the ‘other’ tuition) that will linger on their financial situation for a long time. But is the world really hurt when somebody receives a degree in ethics ?

I think the real question that has more long term impact stands from the shadow person’s salary. If 66K is a full time job in the humanities being a shadow student, how much would a shadow student in mathematics or engineering at the MS level be worth ? I would not be shocked to hear that there is a higher yield market in this area as well, except the subject is much more taboo: When bridges fall, people die.

Cheers,

Igor.

2. Sarah - November 17, 2010

Honestly, it didn’t occur to me that there might be an equivalent in the sciences or engineering. But it’s not impossible.

3. Mitchell Porter - November 19, 2010

“If you can’t write your own briefs in law school, you really think you’re going to be a successful lawyer?”

Look at it this way. You come from a country where English is not the main language. You go to America and struggle to get a law degree. But if you succeed, you can return to your own country, where language is no longer a problem, and you now have the added prestige of being a graduate of an American school of law.


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