The college counselor couldn't help but be impressed with the draft application essay.
It had a solid theme and related to the student's academic interests. But the counselor, who described the situation on condition of anonymity, said that she just didn't think her student could possibly have written it.
He said he takes a few pro bono clients, but that most low-income students could never find someone to do what he does.
"How does someone without money" compete "on an equal footing? He said that essay coaching is becoming the norm for wealthy families, just as test prep has over the last few decades and private counselors have in the last decade or so.
Counselors (those who work for high schools and those hired by families) have long provided various forms of help on application essays.
So have parents, English teachers, family friends and others.
But increasingly a new industry (completely unregulated) has grown.
Students -- many of whom are also paying for private counselors, sometimes at hefty rates -- are also paying thousands in fees for help on their essays.
It was too perfect for a student whose writing wasn't.
It was more focused than the student's writing.