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The Custom Essay Man November 16, 2010

Posted by Sarah in Uncategorized.

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.