Thanks to MOBYC (Mom of Brilliant Yale Chemist) for this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's about a college grad, referred to as "The Shadow Scholar" who's making $66k a year writing papers for college students. He even does 75-page assignments for kids who are barely literate enough to send a legible text, people who send him thanks you's with profound messages such as "thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now."
The Shadow Scholar can stretch a 40-word paragraph into four pages. His biggest customer bases are nursing students and "lazy rich kids." And he has perfected the use of stock academic phrases like the following (fill in the blanks):
"A close consideration of the events which occurred in ____ during the ____ demonstrate that ____ had entered into a phase of widespread cultural, social, and economic change that would define ____ for decades to come."
If I were a professor, I must admit that I would not be thrilled to have to read hundreds of 75-page papers. In fact, I can barely get through my book club book every month. So I might even be tempted to hire somebody to read the 75-page papers written by random ghostwriters who had never attended my class. With this in mind, the Neurotic Parent Institute has commissioned a study to find out whether a new crop of "Shadow Professors" has emerged.
In the meantime, the Institute is also pondering why any professor in his or her right mind would assign a 75-page paper. Why would anyone possibly want to encourage kids, who lack clarity of thought to begin with, to ramble on forever? Kickbacks from Shadow Scholars, perhaps?