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The Shadow Scholar

legendofmaxlegendofmax 4528 replies209 postsRegistered User Senior Member
edited November 2011 in College Essays
The Shadow Scholar - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

I can only wonder if he roams this site? What do you think of this guy?
edited November 2011
55 replies
Post edited by legendofmax on
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Replies to: The Shadow Scholar

  • jshainjshain 5750 replies54 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I can only wonder if he roams this site? What do you think of this guy?


    I truly hope someday we read that "this" guy (and many more like him) gets busted in a giant sting operation, along with the records of all of his clients, and that justice is served......
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  • jshainjshain 5750 replies54 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is a previous thread about this guy and his story, using the same Chronicle article:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1033110-goes-much-further-than-private-tutors.html
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  • PhotographerPhotographer 197 replies9 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    What exactly should this guy be busted for? It's the students' fault for paying him. And, as he argues, the educational model's fault for creating an environment focused on grades instead of learning.

    I think he's damn well right.
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  • AverageBobAverageBob 57 replies20 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I too agree that the education system should be reformed to educate and produce learning capable students instead of stressing performances on numbers and pressuring young adults to a brink of desperation.

    At the same time cheating should not be taken advantage of to earn money and students who are incapable to do their own work shouldn't be in the given curriculum.
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  • wantonwanton 838 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    I've written essays that could be adapted into Meryl Streep movies.
    Meryl Streep is my queen. I will cut him.

    Besides that quip, I found his writing boring, and all of his answers to the topic predictable. He writes like he has a pretty big ego too, which gets boring pretty quickly if you aren't Humbert Humbert.
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  • jshainjshain 5750 replies54 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Meryl Streep is my queen. I will cut him.


    Make sure you go for the "low hanging fruit". You will get some big ones....
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  • DescarteszDescartesz 1711 replies29 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    This guy probably isn't charging enough. If demand is as intense as he says it is he should be able to double his rates.

    And if he waits a few years for his clients to establish themselves there is the lucrative prospect of blackmail...

    I fail to see how grades play a role in this. Do we expect that his incompetent and lazy clients will be better detected or more motivated if they weren't graded? Education can't avoid being evaluative, both for the sake of its students (assessment determines where services need to be delivered) and its need to validate (a degree signifies a level of mastery has been attained). What is problematic here is the method of evaluation: requiring his clients to take the occasional well-monitored essay exam would go far to eliminate some of this.
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  • raideraderaiderade 2319 replies180 posts- Senior Member
    At my old school, cheating was absolutely rampant. It was an extraordinarily competitive environment where kids' parents frequently did all projects, essays, and homework. Kids also paid other students to write papers for them. As a result, the school decided that all essays had to be completed in supervised study halls in handwritten form and could not be completed in any way at home.
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  • AudreyHAudreyH 685 replies33 postsRegistered User Member
    This makes me so angry. There are so many kids out there, like me, who are honest and put in our best efforts to try and get into college; and then lazy kids take up the spots at good schools without putting in any time and effort.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33093 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If the buyer can't write an understandable email, chances are he/she can't speak English well enough to hold a decent conversation with a professor. So, what is the prof thinking when a perfect paper comes through? I wonder if the papers-for-hire issue is more prevalent in universities with lower overall standards.
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  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife 2282 replies88 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ugh. This is depressing. Disgusting. Pathetic. I had no idea this sort of thing existed. I disagree that it's only the fault of the students who hire him. He, and others who do the same work, are just as unethical for participating in the scam. Yuk. I'm sorry to hear that this goes on.
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  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 postsFounder Senior Member
    It's hard to believe that profs wouldn't question how a barely literate student could suddenly produce a well-written and styled termpaper. Or, perhaps some do spot the discrepancy between in-class work and take-home but choose to ignore it.
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  • wantonwanton 838 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    ^^^
    I'm absolutely positive it is. I'm only a stupid senior with some basic writing skills, and even I can somewhat easily pick out a plagiarized essay. Can't even imagine how obvious it is to profs who actually know the kids.

    At smaller LACs, I'm pretty sure the bigger issue is people taking old papers, and rewording them into the plagiarizer's voice, maybe twisting the theme a bit, and then handing the paper in as original work.
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  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife 2282 replies88 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^I totally agree, Roger_. How could the girl he specifically mentioned in the article manage to convince a professor that a well-written paper was her work?! Unless professors just assume that their students are paying others to merely "edit" their work, for proper grammar and spelling, and that such "editing" is okay in the profs' minds. As long as the ideas themselves -- the outline of the paper, the concepts, etc. -- spring from the students. Are the profs giving the students the benefit of the doubt on this? I mean, I just don't get how this goes on!! It is very disturbing to me.

    I'll never forget our visit to Wash U. We ate lunch with another kid who was visiting alone. He went on and on, over our lunch period, about all the clever ways he was going to scam Wash U into accepting him. He had somebody who was going to write his essays (I didn't know it was a widespread practice!) and he listed all the fake EC's he was going to put on his application. He was convinced that no school would take the time to investigate whether he was telling the truth. And, he said proudly, he's a URM! So ANY school would be HAPPY to have him!!! They aren't going to look any deeper, he told us, with no discernable sense of embarrassment or inappropriateness. And so, he said, he would definitely go to Wash U. He had made up his mind. And so it would, naturally, come together for him.

    Even though he lives 20 miles from us (hundreds of miles from Wash U), we never did hear if he made it in or not. Personally, I sure hope not!
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  • mommusicmommusic 8232 replies69 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Appalling. The whole idea.

    But I understand how at least one group (the foreign students) escape detection. It is possible to have very good written communication skills and very poor mastery of the spoken language. With time to edit, (and possibly outside editing), the written paper may not seem to be a product of the barely understandable student, but is assumed to be, nevertheless. A professor may be surprised, but not necessarily suspicious.

    This may explain how some "educators" got their degrees. I have seen principals with poor grammar and lousy letter-writing skills, and wondered how they managed to get their Master's or PhD.
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  • mantori.suzukimantori.suzuki 3245 replies102 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is an example of why it's important to look at the whole college admissions application. A student with great essays and a 4.0 GPA but a 22 ACT should raise suspicions.
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  • schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 posts- Senior Member
    The "Shadow Scholar" is a rather interesting person. Regardless, I don't like his practice.
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  • ItalianStallianItalianStallian 29 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I believe that many people are misinterpreting the girl's emails.
    It wasn't that she did not have the capability to write like a human being, it is just the fact that she did not out of either laziness, habit or convenience. Papers present teachers with the ultimate way to explore a students thoughts... So would it surprise a teacher if an "uninformed" student wrote an amazing paper? Yes, but it is not inconceivable. In all honesty, one of the smartest kids I ever met appeared to be a moron in class. When he wrote a paper, his words evoked an image of a higher power divulging the secret of life onto your ears... Really, this kid was a kick ass writer.

    In China at least, English class can be anywhere from 40-160 students... The teacher can't test the spoken ability of students, but the writing sections can be very easy to grade when they are entered by computer. Plus certain applications can turn small Chinese ideas into English words/phrases for 40 dollars a year...

    This just proves why essays are not weighed heavily. This also attests to the idea that testing and "controlled measures" are by far the best... I wouldn't be surprised if they have an SAT III to make sure that students actually know about their entire junior course load. I've seen so many students get by with last years tests and such... I go to one of the best schools in the US and I see this so often from international students.

    Saying this pains me, but more often than not the student that is willing to compromise their values and collaborate or employ outside help gets the result that they want. The rest just normally "scrape by".
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  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife 2282 replies88 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^But essays ARE weighed heavily! Do you mean in the admissions process? The admissions officers at nearly every campus I've visited with my kids say, as a foot-stomper, "Essays are looked at very closely. They're very important. They're the only piece of the puzzle that tells us who you really are, beyond the numbers."

    And I disagree that "controlled measures" are by far the best.

    One thing I will agree with -- we see it all the time in the news -- people who compromise their values are often publicly rewarded. It's a shame.
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  • LingerLinger 1008 replies40 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You know that for the 48 hours that you dedicate to writing this paper, you will cease all human functions but typing, you will Google until the term has lost all meaning, and you will drink enough coffee to fuel a revolution in a small Central American country.

    I thought this was a very witty line.
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