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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?After all, those using these services already have wealthy parents and are likely to attend high schools (public or private) with far more resources than the average institution attended by a low-income student.
Some of the demand for his services, he said, comes from families that have money, but who may feel that they don't have the cultural connections to know what a college admissions officer will want. This counselor charges a flat rate of $2,500 to help with a student's undergraduate essays.
As a result, much of his clientele comes from the children of immigrants from China, India and Korea -- students whose parents have succeeded economically in the United States, but who themselves didn't go to college (or who didn't go to college in the United States) and worry about missing secrets of U. While admissions officers don't all agree on how important the essay is, this essay coach said that parents increasingly feel that the essay matters more than it did in the past.
His website stresses that the work must be from students. He charges $1,500 for the basic Common Application essay and then $700 for each 500-word supplemental essay.
(Those essays include questions asked by individual colleges and prompts related to why someone wants to go to a particular college, and so most students would have one or two of them for each college, on top of the main Common Application essay.) The pricing is strictly by the essay, not an hourly rate -- and so his fee covers however many drafts a student wants him to review (after the brainstorming session on what the essay should cover). Schwartz stressed in an interview that he has "never" written an essay for a student, and said that he is "aware of the reputation of people who do what I do." Periodically, he must turn down parents who assume he will do so, and he returns the fee.
I spotted it right away." He told the mother, "This is not going to serve you well.
If I can spot it in a minute, someone else will, too." One of the newer players in the space is Essay Dog, which is based on the film-writing experience of the company's founders, who stress that they teach students how to tell stories.
As for the practical, she found herself wondering whether the essay was "too good" for someone with the student's grades, and whether it would be obvious that the essay didn't reflect the student's skills.
The counselor said in an interview that the incident focused her attention on a growing part of the admissions process for students of means: writing coaches.
"My joy and expertise, I feel, is as the architect," he said.
"All day long I talk to smart, ambitious high school seniors.