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Write My Essay, Please! - Richard Gunderman - The Atlantic

Stashed in: Education!, Awesome, Ethics, education, Ethics, Writing!, Morals

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tl;dr paying someone else to write a paper or take a test...not good for a lot of reasons, but in today's culture, it is par for the course...

i think the author needs to be told about taskrabbit or odesk or 4hour work week, etc. since the outsource my job idea has been around for awhile now.

some problems as I see it

1) college degree is the gateway (ivy league on down) vs. college education for most undergrad jobs...and likely both are not needed to do actual job

2) desire to increase metrics in education (more students, better grades, better test scores, more requirements) likely decreases appreciation for learning for self-improvement, problem solving, and curiousness.

And why stop with exams? Why not follow this path to its logical conclusion? If the entire course is online, why shouldn't students hire someone to enroll and complete all its requirements on their behalf? In fact, "" sites have already begun to appear. One site called My Math Genius promises to get customers a "guaranteed grade," with experts who will complete all assignments and "ace your final and midterm." And why should the trend toward vicarious performance stop with education? How long must we wait until some intrepid entrepreneur founds """ or ""

Meanwhile, the proliferation of essay-writing and exam-taking services is merely a symptom of a much deeper and more pervasive disorder. For that reason, the solution is not merely tougher laws and stiffer penalties. We need a series of probing discussions in classrooms all over the country, encouraging students to reflect on the real purpose of education: the new people and ideas a student encounters, and the enlightenment that comes when an assignment truly challenges a student's heart and mind. Perhaps an essay assignment is in order?

There's a longer, deeper essay written by someone who makes his money by writing his essays. I'll try to find it if you haven't read it. It's fascinating.

GREAT ARTICLE! many blurbs below

From my experience, three demographic groups seek out my services: the English-as-second-language student; the hopelessly deficient student; and the lazy rich kid.

For the last, colleges are a perfect launching ground—they are built to reward the rich and to forgive them their laziness. Let's be honest: The successful among us are not always the best and the brightest, and certainly not the most ethical. My favorite customers are those with an unlimited supply of money and no shortage of instructions on how they would like to see their work executed. While the deficient student will generally not know how to ask for what he wants until he doesn't get it, the lazy rich student will know exactly what he wants. He is poised for a life of paying others and telling them what to do. Indeed, he is acquiring all the skills he needs to stay on top.

As for the first two types of students—the ESL and the hopelessly deficient—colleges are utterly failing them. Students who come to American universities from other countries find that their efforts to learn a new language are confounded not only by cultural difficulties but also by the pressures of grading. The focus on evaluation rather than education means that those who haven't mastered English must do so quickly or suffer the consequences. My service provides a particularly quick way to "master" English. And those who are hopelessly deficient—a euphemism, I admit—struggle with communication in general.

I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.

I haven't been to a library once since I started doing this job. Amazon is quite generous about free samples. If I can find a single page from a particular text, I can cobble that into a report, deducing what I don't know from customer reviews and publisher blurbs. Google Scholar is a great source for material, providing the abstract of nearly any journal article. And of course, there's Wikipedia, which is often my first stop when dealing with unfamiliar subjects. Naturally one must verify such material elsewhere, but I've taken hundreds of crash courses this way.

I've also got a mental library of stock academic phrases: "A close consideration of the events which occurred in ____ during the ____ demonstrate that ____ had entered into a phase of widespread cultural, social, and economic change that would define ____ for decades to come." Fill in the blanks using words provided by the professor in the assignment's instructions.

How good is the product created by this process? That depends—on the day, my mood, how many other assignments I am working on. It also depends on the customer, his or her expectations, and the degree to which the completed work exceeds his or her abilities. I don't ever edit my assignments. That way I get fewer customer requests to "dumb it down." So some of my work is great. Some of it is not so great. Most of my clients do not have the wherewithal to tell the difference, which probably means that in most cases the work is better than what the student would have produced on his or her own. I've actually had customers thank me for being clever enough to insert typos. "Nice touch," they'll say.

that list line is particularly hilarious.

It is.

I tell kids today if there's one thing they need to learn while in school, it's how to write.

And the only way to learn how to write is to PRACTICE.

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