The Term Paper “Business”

The term paper biz is managed by brokers who take financial risks by accepting credit card payments and psychological risks by actually talking to the clients. Most of the customers just aren’t very bright. One of my brokers would even mark assignments with the code words DUMB CLIENT. That meant to use simple English; nothing’s worse than a client calling back to ask a broker — most of whom had no particular academic training — what certain words in the paper meant. One time a client actually asked to talk to me personally and lamented that he just didn’t “know a lot about Plah-toe.” Distance learning meant that he’d never heard anyone say the name.

In broad strokes, there are three types of term paper clients. DUMB CLIENTS predominate. They should not be in college. They must buy model papers simply because they do not understand what a term paper is, much less anything going on in their assignments.
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The second type of client is the one-timer. A chemistry major trapped in a poetry class thanks to the vagaries of schedule and distribution requirements, or worse, the poet trapped in a chemistry class.
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The third group is perhaps the most tragic: They are well-educated professionals who simply lack English-language skills.
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There’s another reason I never felt too badly about the job, though I am pleased to be done with papers. The students aren’t only cheating themselves. They are being cheated by the schools that take tuition and give nothing in exchange.

The Term Paper Artist: The lucrative industry behind higher ed’s failings.” By Nick Mamatas, The Smart Set, October 10, 2008
And we wonder why a college degree doesn’t mean what it used to….


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