"Shadow Scholarship"  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

The topic today is a "shadow scholar" who is paid to write essays for college-level courses. Completely fascinating throughout; I think I missed my calling. He got started when some frat boy friends wanted him to write papers for them, and today he makes more than $60,000 a year. Key quotables:

"I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph."

As an online-course-taking, weekly-paper-writing-machine, I can definitely sympathize with that one. He goes on:

I've read enough academic material to know that I'm not the only bullshit artist out there. I think about how Dickens got paid per word and how, as a result, Bleak House is ... well, let's be diplomatic and say exhaustive. Dickens is a role model for me.
People sometimes ask me (when they found out I did graduate school online) how I can write papers each week about different topics without going to the library. Given that I didn't go to the library in college except to print, my answer approximately mirrors this explanation with the caveat that I did use the e-library to assemble and read legit sources:
I haven't been to a library once since I started doing this job. Amazon is quite generous about free samples...Google Scholar is a great source for material, providing the abstract of nearly any journal article...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.
The Shadow Scholar is quite explicit about the variety of "students" he has helped, and includes a pretty funny list of the different types of papers and assignments he has written over the years. He takes on nurses, social scientists, architects, and plenty of others. But he saves a particular vitriol for one branch of higher education:
I've written papers for students in elementary-education programs, special-education majors, and ESL-training courses. I've written lesson plans for aspiring high-school teachers, and I've synthesized reports from notes that customers have taken during classroom observations. I've written essays for those studying to become school administrators, and I've completed theses for those on course to become principals. In the enormous conspiracy that is student cheating, the frontline intelligence community is infiltrated by double agents. (Future educators of America, I know who you are.)


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