Very interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the pay for paper writing business and one writer's account of the job. I'm currently a senior in a top private university (see if you can guess which one) and this article honestly made me sick to my stomach.
This anonymous writer has written everything from college admissions essays to graduate thesis papers, over a wide range of subjects, but it is hard for me to find fault with his actions. I put the onus more on the education system and the students themselves, although there is a compelling arguement to point the finger at the author. It just makes me sad that while I knew of the existence of this black market, it is more prevalent than I thought.
Also, let me say, I am not a saint when it comes to academics, and this is probably why I side with the author. While I have never cheated personally, I have been in the authors situation, albeit on a much much smaller scale. I have helped friends and gfs write papers, I have sold assignments and lab reports and I have even written one paper on a 'for pay' basis. I regarded these situations as capitalizing on opportunities presented, and as a broke college kid, I could not turn them down.
With that, I can't help but feel a certain superiority in taking a hard science/engineering major. While I know that there are brilliant people in all majors and subjects in higher education, I also know from personal experience that this kind of cheating will not fly. Yes, there is cheating here and there in my major and similar ones, but without actually knowing and understanding the material that is taught, there is practically no way one could pass and get a degree, unlike other college level subjects. To think that there are people out there getting undergraduate and even advanced degrees because they can cheat their way through all the while being essentially incompetent does not lend to a great future for America.
Edit: Lulz, talk about irony. Can a mod please fix the spelling error in my subject title. Flame away.