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Should college applicants (who can afford it) spend thousands of dollars for coaching on what to write?Are those who take their money just doing a better (and less visible) job than are many parents?
Sometimes, as in the example at the beginning of this article, they don't tell the others who are advising them about the practice.
In interviews, those who provide these services insist that they don't actually write essays.
But increasingly a new industry (completely unregulated) has grown.
Students -- many of whom are also paying for private counselors, sometimes at hefty rates -- are also paying thousands in fees for help on their essays.
Counselors (those who work for high schools and those hired by families) have long provided various forms of help on application essays.
So have parents, English teachers, family friends and others.For the counselor, his answer raised ethical and practical issues.On ethics, she asked herself (and colleagues in a series of emails) whether it was proper for her to let the student submit the essay as his own work.It's what you feel right doing," said Christopher Hunt, a former journalist who runs College Essay Mentor."What feels ethical to me is to help kids identify what they want to say about themselves." The counselor quoted at the beginning of this article said -- even if essay coaches don't actually write essays -- she worries that the growing industry adds another level of income inequality to the admissions process.I get into their heads and help find what is unique about them, then show them the insights into their life experiences." He said that he asks questions and makes suggestions, but "their story is the star." He said he views himself as "shrink, tutor, editor and cheerleader." And he said students appear to most appreciate that "I marginalize their parents." The idea of helping students tell their story is a common theme with coaches, and they say that helps them stay away from actual writing."My personal view is that it's a matter of personal ethics and professional ethics, even if it's a service with no regulation whatsoever.So she asked the question: Did you get help on this?The student answered yes -- and the help from a paid essay coach had been substantial.The college counselor couldn't help but be impressed with the draft application essay.It had a solid theme and related to the student's academic interests. But the counselor, who described the situation on condition of anonymity, said that she just didn't think her student could possibly have written it.