I discovered another site offering to polish your persona for application to college. This one is called Edit Strategies, and promises “Yale-Educated Editors At Your Service”. It seems a little less egregious (and a little more downmarket) than Ivy Success, which I wrote about last month in Purchasing the Right Personality For College. At least the people at Edit Strategies say up front they won’t actually write your essay for you.
I think my dislike of these services stems from when I used to work at the Writing Center when I was in grad school. The Center did all kinds of great work for students struggling with their writing, but it also served job and (especially) scholarship applicants who had to write personal statements. I remember once working with a guy who was applying to work at the Sports Desk of a major cable broadcaster. They’d asked him to write a one page report on his favorite Olympic moment, and his draft was a conventional piece of sentimental schlock. I worked on it for half an hour, and he ended up with something a lot better. Off he went. I got an email from him a few weeks later saying he’d gotten the job. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing.