There is an editorial in “Forbes” written by Hannah Lincoln and Sean Ages entitled “Ghostwriting for Chinese Applicants” that we wanted to share with our readers. In the piece, Lincoln and Ages describe how, as American graduate students at a Chinese university, they were presented with the chance to make cash ghostwriting college admissions essays for Chinese students applying to universities in the United States. To our loyal readers, this practice should come as no surprise as we’ve been writing about unethical admissions agents in China for years. These admissions agents quite literally allow students to pick preselected essays from a stack of different options. In many ways, the process is like Chipotle’s. You pick whether you want white rice or brown rice, pinto beans or black beans, chicken or steak, medium salsa or mild salsa, etc. It’s like Chipotle’s new Southeast Asian concept (Shophouse), too.
While this practice works quite well for Chipotle and Shophouse, it does not — we repeat it does not — work in highly selective college admissions. College admissions officers at the most highly selective colleges are well aware of the practice and they are finely tuned readers and evaluators. They’ll know if the essay has been ghostwritten by one of these students hired by unscrupulous admissions agents in China. As stated in the editorial, “The education consulting company Zinch published a white paper on the subject in 2010 which suggested that, among college applications coming out of China, ‘…90% of recommendation letters are fake, 70% of essays are not written by the applicant, and 50% of high school transcripts are falsified.'” We would venture to say that even this 70% figure underestimates the practice.
If you’re a student or parent in China, how do you feel about these unethical Chinese admissions agents? Did you know that some even put our name on their websites to try and give themselves credibility? And many copy some of the text of our homepage and more. It’s rather absurd and, we feel, it should be addressed appropriately and promptly.