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Academy caught hiring writers for UK uni applications


Eldorado
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An education firm has been advertising to pay people to write university applications for students, including their personal statements.

Winland Academy, which specialises in helping Chinese students to study in the UK, put an advert for a "university application writer" on LinkedIn.

The Sutton Trust social mobility charity said it raised serious issues about fairness.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62305043

Some students might get help from schools or family in writing personal statements - and next year's applicants will be starting their application forms after the summer.

But an online search shows many companies selling services to help with university applications.

That includes a "personal statement writing service" which charges between £79 and £169, with the most expensive service promising that "we write for you" and "first-class service for those who dream big".

This includes the testimonial: "My statement is beautiful and could never off (sic) got my place without the help."

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So, the service misspelled "of" after being paid?  Seems like a quick writing test is all that'd be required to verify literacy.  Someone who hires a service like that should just be disqualified after the fact.

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I have spent my life lecturing in third level institutions and, no matter how much money they had, no foreign students would be admitted to an Irish university unless they had a certified minimum level of ability in the English language. It is very lax if British universities are allowing a foreign student's personal statement to be the deciding factor.

It is my experience that British and Irish students can be pretty poor in their standard of literacy and proficiency in written English. If they too are making these personal statements on seeking entry into third level, then they are equally capable of getting help with them.  

In Ireland entry into university is based on a points system. I would imagine that the same applies in Britain. If prospective students have not got the minimum general educational qualifications required, then they cannot be admitted no matter how good their personal statement might be. 

I am not sure that native students are asked to write these personal statements. Are they? Or is it just foreign students? If all students applying, both British and foreign, have the requisite educational standards then I can see that personal statements could be a deciding factor, but in that case, native and foreign alike could pay these companies to write their personal statements. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Ozymandias said:

I have spent my life lecturing in third level institutions and, no matter how much money they had, no foreign students would be admitted to an Irish university unless they had a certified minimum level of ability in the English language. It is very lax if British universities are allowing a foreign student's personal statement to be the deciding factor.

It is my experience that British and Irish students can be pretty poor in their standard of literacy and proficiency in written English. If they too are making these personal statements on seeking entry into third level, then they are equally capable of getting help with them.  

In Ireland entry into university is based on a points system. I would imagine that the same applies in Britain. If prospective students have not got the minimum general educational qualifications required, then they cannot be admitted no matter how good their personal statement might be. 

I am not sure that native students are asked to write these personal statements. Are they? Or is it just foreign students? If all students applying, both British and foreign, have the requisite educational standards then I can see that personal statements could be a deciding factor, but in that case, native and foreign alike could pay these companies to write their personal statements. 

 

All applicants write personal statements and non-native English speakers all sit an English proficiency test, which is required to get in.

The main issue is that some foreign students, particularly Chinese, pay other people to take these tests and write these statements for them.

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23 hours ago, Setton said:

All applicants write personal statements and non-native English speakers all sit an English proficiency test, which is required to get in.

The main issue is that some foreign students, particularly Chinese, pay other people to take these tests and write these statements for them.

Well then, the fault is not with the purchasing of personal statements, but with the administration and verification of identity regarding the proficiency in English tests.  

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18 hours ago, Tatetopa said:

In our current world, money is often a substitute for talent.

In third level education, systems should be in place to see that that is not the case. A university is only as good as the degrees it awards. 

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4 hours ago, Ozymandias said:

Well then, the fault is not with the purchasing of personal statements, but with the administration and verification of identity regarding the proficiency in English tests.  

Personally, I think fraud is the fault of the fraudster, not the victim who didn't notice it.

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On 7/31/2022 at 5:41 PM, Tatetopa said:

In our current world, money is often a substitute for talent.

That's probably always been true, along with 'who you know'.

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On 8/1/2022 at 4:44 PM, Setton said:

Personally, I think fraud is the fault of the fraudster, not the victim who didn't notice it.

Well, of course, there is culpability on the part of the fraudster. That goes without saying. But my comment was in reference to the administration and verification of candidates' identities who are taking proficiency tests in English. Any system worth its salt should be robust enough to screen out people who are engaging in identity fraud.

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18 hours ago, Ozymandias said:

Well, of course, there is culpability on the part of the fraudster. That goes without saying. But my comment was in reference to the administration and verification of candidates' identities who are taking proficiency tests in English. Any system worth its salt should be robust enough to screen out people who are engaging in identity fraud.

I dont see the problem with someone paying for help on their application to university. Its like paying for help creating a CV.

The degree course itself will of course sort the wheat from the chaff. To those that dont have degrees then they are hard, they require a lot of work, and they have plenty of exams. It really is the case that only 20% of the population are capable of getting most degrees, and a lot less with the harder subjects. I suppose people could cheat through their coursework if they had the money too, but if they arent up to it they will struggle with the exams.

Take Carol Vorderman as an example. She is on old Countdown episodes and is seen as a maths genius. She only managed a 3rd on her engineering degree (a bottom grade pass). A 3rd is basically worth very little in the jobs market. It says she really wasn`t up to getting a degree. Companies usually want at least a 2.2 and a lot a 2.1 before they will consider an applicant. Except, apparently Countdown!

Oh and the more elitist a university the harder it is too. What is usually the case is the better the uni the more of your marks will be coming from the exams rather than the coursework.

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