Similarly, many high schools that do not offer a dedicated class like the one at Oyster Bay nonetheless include college essay-writing as part of the English curriculum. Many other schools, of course, do not. College officials will rarely know if an essay has had the benefit of an English teachers intervention nor how extensive this intervention might have been. Personally, I have seen hundreds of essays that I am certain are not the students original work even some pretty lousy essays that reflect their too-many-cooks construction.Ive also seen some wonderful essays that Im sure had no adult intrusion and yet might still trip the sensitive seismographs of suspicious admissions evaluators. Although application forms commonly require students to supply a signature that attests to the originality of all materials, its not really clear where one draws the line. For help in writing essay for college instance, if a parent, teacher, or other advisor tells a student that his or her opening paragraph is a snooze and suggests a snazzier one to replace it, is the work still authentic? I have reviewed countless essays myself over several decades, and yet I continue to struggle to find that fine line between editing and altering.If, i ruled the world, entire college applications would be done under proctored conditions in a single Saturday-morning session, much as the SATs and ACTs are conducted now. All writing would be authentic (albeit not perfected due to the time constraints). The application would also include a slew of short-answer questionssuch as Princetons renowned hodge-podge queries.(Your favorite book, Your favorite movie, Your favorite keepsake or memento, Your favorite source of inspiration, etc.) But in my application utopia, these questions would vary from year to year to help guard against professional tampering. (Geez, Louise, do you really think any Ivy will admit you if you list.
This essay business has gotten way out of hand, and its near the top of the (lengthy) list of my admissions-process frustrations. College folks claim that they can usually sniff out essays that are not the students original work. Of course its true sometimes particularly now that a growing number of admission officials are requesting the writing-sample portion of the SAT do aliens exist essay or ACT so that they can compare work that was done in proctored conditions with that done at homeand which may have passed.Among college staff, guidance counselors, and teachers there are two camps. The first includes those who say, Admission officials should use only the essays that are produced in proctored sessions to be sure that the applicants themselves are the authors. The other camp, however, maintains that even the best writers deserve a chance to edit and revise and that a short and pressured test administration does not produce the sort of writing sampleor revealing information about the applicantthat the traditional college essay is designed. Personally, while I can see where each argument has its merits, I land in the first contingent.There is not only rampant cheating out therewith students paying ringers to compose their essays (or to whitewash their fledgling efforts beyond recognition but also there is way too much gray area when it comes to what is ethical and what is not. For instance, I read, acceptance, by Dave Marcus (a book I highly recommend. It shadows one outstanding guidance counselor in Long Island and shows us what the guidance gold standard should be for all our kids.) The seniors at Oyster Bay High School, who were profiled in the Marcus book, took a fall-term elective class called Essay Writing. Even if the instructors did not write a single word of the student prose, certainly the advice they provided, their attention to detail, and the time allotted to the task gave Oyster Bay students a huge edge over their counterparts elsewhere who didnt have access.
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