21 Mar In Defense of Writing Tutors (Named Statement Guru)
A few days ago, one of my international clients excitedly told me that he got into one of his top choice programs, which also happens to be not too far from where I live. “Awesome! Congratulations!” I said. Then, we brought up the possibility of meeting for coffee (keep in mind, I’ve only interacted with this person through the internet). It’s a great feeling to not only be able to positively impact someone’s educational and professional goals, but to also gain a friend in the process. Rewind to several months ago, things were quite different. Before signing up, this person expressed doubt about my ability to improve his draft. I could sense even larger doubts about my legitimacy. Not that I’m blaming him. If a total stranger over the internet asked me to wire him money, I’d be skeptical, too. As the online presence of StatementGuru.com grows, doubts about legitimacy will shrink. But doubts about the efficacy of a college admissions essay writing tutor will remain. This is nearly universal among prospective clients. I’m hoping that this article will answer some questions skeptics pose.
WITH WRITING TUTORS, WHEN YOU SEND THEM YOUR DRAFT AND MONEY, DON’T THEY JUST REGURGITATE A REVISED DRAFT BACK TO YOU?
Judging from reviews I’ve read of many larger essay services, yes. I’ve seen some scathing reviews there, as they seem to try to fit your words into their own time-saving cookie cutter formula. I’m sure there are good services that exist, both in larger companies and one-on-one tutors. I can only really speak for myself and StatementGuru.com. With me, the client is ALWAYS in control. They know exactly what I’m doing. If I’m working on a rewrite, they know what changes I’m integrating into it. If I’m interviewing them, I toss out several potential concepts to base their essay on, not just one. I usually don’t work with more than a couple of clients at a time. If I find my schedule is getting too busy, I will refuse to take on more clients. I also make myself as accessible as possible, through email, text, Facebook, etc.
ISN’T WORKING WITH A WRITING TUTOR UNETHICAL?
This is a delicate area, and different people will have different opinions regarding this. I’d like to offer my take… The standardized test prep business rakes in billions of dollars as it helps applicants get a better grasp of the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GRE, SAT, other acronym-named tests. At one point in time, test prep companies were considered unethical and not egalitarian. What happened? Instead of taking a more diminished role, they kept getting bigger and bigger. Now, the idea of taking a standardized test without a prep course first or at least going through a workbook is just not in the thought process of a motivated candidate. As the trend of globalization continues, the competition for a place in the limited slots available in desirable institutions only increases. Candidates have to look for an edge whichever way they can. Enter the admissions essay tutor, the quickest and most inexpensive way to improve your profile. In addition to your test prep, think of working with me as word prep!
WON’T MY IDENTITY BE COMPROMISED?
Not by me, it won’t.
I WANT MY OWN WORDS TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.
That’s not really a question, but I’ll try to answer it anyway. I believe that the best admissions essays are the most genuine and real. The last thing I want to do as your tutor is put words in your mouth. Even if doing so makes the essay more sophisticated or more technically brilliant, it actually is doing more harm than good. I like to use the term congruency. Every part of your application and of you as an applicant should be congruent with everything else. To do this, my goal is to work with you and your ideas in an organic way to refine and polish what’s on the page so that it’s the best representation of you. So your words do speak for themselves. They just speak louder and with more clarity. Think of it like this. You speak English, your readers speak Paper. I’m your English-to-Paper translator.
MY FIELD IS IN <SUBJECT>, UNLESS YOU’RE AN EXPERT IN THAT, HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY HELP ME?
This perspective is kind of missing the point of what an admissions essay is supposed to accomplish. Yes, you should demonstrate an understanding of your field and a passion to continue learning more about it. But if you’re not coming across as a living, breathing human being in the process, admissions committee members are going to have doubts about you. I’ve heard of instances of them throwing out applications with perfect test scores because of subpar essays. So do not submit a boring, dense, mechanical essay. Those are exactly how “expert” essays read. When working with me, I’ll trust you to bring the technical expertise, trust me to bring my understanding of what needs to go in an effective admissions essay. Deal?
ISN’T IT EXPENSIVE TO WORK WITH A WRITING TUTOR?
I’ve done what I can to accommodate different budgets, including offering different types of packages people can sign up for. Ultimately, this is a college/graduate degree we’re talking about that can costs tens of thousands of dollars, and the quality of your admissions essay can determine whether you get accepted into a program or not. Or it can determine whether you get into an elite program or a so-so one. These variables have life-changing impact, with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of salary at stake. When you look at it like that, the price of a writing tutor is a drop in the bucket.