“Her parents had me come in and look at all her college essays.
The shape they were brought to me in was essentially unreadable.
I had this past year 40 students in the fall, and I wrote all their essays for the Common App and everything else.”Not every consultant was as explicit about the editing world’s moral ambiguities.
One administrator emphasized that his company’s policies were firmly anti-cheating.
He conceded, however, that the rules were not always followed: “Bottom line is: It takes more time for an employee to sit with a student and help them figure things out for themselves, than it does to just do it.
We had problems in the past with people cutting corners.
“I do the help that I can, but I say to the parents, ‘You know, you did not prepare her for this. Because obviously, the skills necessary to be at Columbia—she doesn’t have those skills.”The Daily Beast reached out to numerous college planning and tutoring programs and the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, but none responded to requests to discuss their policies on editing versus rewriting.
The American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers also declined comment, and top universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Brown did not respond or declined comment on how they guard against essays being written by counselors or tutors.
I was given a rubric of qualities for the essay, and I was told that the essay had to score a certain point at that rubric,” he said.
“It was never clear that anything legal was in our way, we were just told to make essays—we were told and we told tutors—to make the essays meet a certain quality standard and, you know, we didn’t ask too many questions about who wrote what.”Many of the tutors told The Daily Beast that their clients were often international students, seeking advice on how to break into the American university system.