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View Full Version : The Shadow Scholar The man who writes your students' papers tells his story



bijou
11-15-2010, 12:22 PM
By Ed Dante

Editor's note: Ed Dante is a pseudonym for a writer who lives on the East Coast. Through a literary agent, he approached The Chronicle wanting to tell the story of how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and to describe the extent of student cheating he has observed. In the course of editing his article, The Chronicle reviewed correspondence Dante had with clients and some of the papers he had been paid to write. In the article published here, some details of the assignment he describes have been altered to protect the identity of the student.

The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): "You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?"

I've gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

I told her no problem.

It truly was no problem. In the past year, I've written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won't find my name on a single paper.


I've written toward a master's degree in cognitive psychology, a Ph.D. in sociology, and a handful of postgraduate credits in international diplomacy. I've worked on bachelor's degrees in hospitality, business administration, and accounting. I've written for courses in history, cinema, labor relations, pharmacology, theology, sports management, maritime security, airline services, sustainability, municipal budgeting, marketing, philosophy, ethics, Eastern religion, postmodern architecture, anthropology, literature, and public administration. I've attended three dozen online universities. I've completed 12 graduate theses of 50 pages or more. All for someone else.

You've never heard of me, but there's a good chance that you've read some of my work. I'm a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can't detect, that you can't defend against, that you may not even know exists. ...http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/

Long article, but an interesting insight into the dark underbelly of academia.

Gingersnap
11-15-2010, 04:37 PM
Very interesting. I'll admit to contributing to my share of academic fraud as an undergraduate. To get spending money from time to time, I'd write papers for people. This guy is absolutely correct about nursing students and education majors.

What's worse really is that it was so easy. Even though my college was one of those pricey little schools much praised for the academic quality of its faculty, I had no trouble reliably producing solid B papers in subjects I knew nothing about. They were never questioned.

noonwitch
11-16-2010, 08:52 AM
Very interesting. I'll admit to contributing to my share of academic fraud as an undergraduate. To get spending money from time to time, I'd write papers for people. This guy is absolutely correct about nursing students and education majors.

What's worse really is that it was so easy. Even though my college was one of those pricey little schools much praised for the academic quality of its faculty, I had no trouble reliably producing solid B papers in subjects I knew nothing about. They were never questioned.




I wrote english and sociology papers for people, for money or barter (alcohol, mostly, since I was under 21). I went to a second-tier state university that didn't have very high standards about such things. I was surprised by how many undergraduates couldn't write a decent paper. That was one of my high school's major goals for a graduate-to be able to write a college level paper before graduating.

Gingersnap
11-16-2010, 10:07 AM
I wrote english and sociology papers for people, for money or barter (alcohol, mostly, since I was under 21). I went to a second-tier state university that didn't have very high standards about such things. I was surprised by how many undergraduates couldn't write a decent paper. That was one of my high school's major goals for a graduate-to be able to write a college level paper before graduating.

I learned how to write a decent little paper in high school but I learned really excellent technique in college. I eventually codified this as the Instant Paper method. This could be used for genuine, serious papers, of course, but it made writing abnormal psych or poli sci papers a real breeze back in the day. :)

Wei Wu Wei
11-16-2010, 10:19 AM
Bunch of lazy students shouldn't even be in college. Get these people to a trade school STAT. Universities are for higher learning, not a mindless stepping stone to get a job.

noonwitch
11-16-2010, 12:51 PM
Bunch of lazy students shouldn't even be in college. Get these people to a trade school STAT. Universities are for higher learning, not a mindless stepping stone to get a job.


I thought Universities were for recreational pharmacology and sexual exploration.

I guess the 80s are over.

Odysseus
11-16-2010, 02:25 PM
Bunch of lazy students shouldn't even be in college. Get these people to a trade school STAT. Universities are for higher learning, not a mindless stepping stone to get a job.

Yes, but they wouldn't be there if they hadn't been passed through the public school system without being taught anything, and the universities aid and abet the fraud by taking their money and accepting their lack of knowledge, when it's obvious from one conversation in a classroom that these kids are barely literate.

In other words, it's the education establishment that lets them get over. What subject do you pretend to teach again?