I got notified the other day about a new follower on Twitter. I won't say her name. She apparently runs some kind of business where she charges aspiring medical students as much as $2000 to edit their application essays. She's a doctor. From a real medical school. My first thought was what kind of money can a doctor be making editing application essays. And then I saw what she charges. And then I read some of the testimonials on her website. Stuff like "residency director said my essay was the best essay he's ever read."
And I'm sure that residency director would be thrilled to find that testimonial and realize there's a good reason that essay was the best one he's read-- someone paid an awful lot of money for it.
I'm not presuming to know how this business works, but if I was paying someone $2000, I think I'd expect more than just the kind of edit you get from a friend you might send an essay to. I know it's not illegal to get essay help-- or take test prep classes, or pay money for all sorts of things to give you an edge in the admissions process-- but I feel like there must be a line somewhere, and I feel like an $2000 essay coach who is in fact also a doctor is on the wrong side of the line.
I wasn't going to write this post, but when I followed this person back on Twitter, I got an automated message that said something like, "I level the playing field for applicants to selective medical schools. Check out my website..."
Hold on just a second. You do what? You level the playing field? What does that mean? Seems to me you do exactly the opposite. You enable rich kids to game the system. You enable people who don't think paying someone to write their essay is a bad thing to get into a better medical school than they would have otherwise (assuming her work actually makes a difference and the whole thing isn't just a scam).
I don't want the playing field leveled. I want the people who deserve to get into a good medical school to get into a good medical school. And we could debate whether or not the current system works, and whether a lot of well-qualified students are actually denied entry -- they are, of course, and I'm not arguing otherwise. But essay coaching is an enemy, not a solution.
How much does she charge to help me with rounds? To save my patients? To take my boards? The people who can afford to pay someone $2000 to write their essays are the last people I want getting a leg up in the admissions process. This is not leveling the field. This is an unsavory way for a doctor to make money on the side, and a disgrace to the profession.