Easily explained. Ghostwriting in academia is a violation of academic ethics, a basis for expulsion or withdrawal of a granted degree. Ghostwriting in the everyday world is accepted, indeed it's not uncommon to see a ghostwriter's name alongside the putative author's name on the book's cover. In fact, that represents the only acceptable use of a ghostwriter, by simply acknowledging his contribution.
> No lower-income family could afford SAT prep, so if we view ghostwriting as "unfair" then test prep should be unfair by the same logic.
Yes, there's some logic there, but ghostwriting doesn't expose the student to the material to be learned, but test prep does. One might even argue that all classroom time is test prep.
I addressed the academic ethics part in my post. But ghostwriting for a personal statement? Some employers will definitely look at some projects/essays you did for the completion of the degree if they are relevant to the job (making cheating in that sense impractical), but I've never heard of any employers asking for the personal statement that got them accepted into a college.
> ghostwriting doesn't expose the student to the material to be learned, but test prep does
Personal statements don't have any material to be learned to begin with. I don't have anything to back up this statement, as this is all anecdotal, but those who spend more time preparing for a test are more likely to do better, as much of test prep is simply rote memorization/practice. A bad writer writing a personal statement can spend weeks writing his personal statement and it can still be crap, but a good writer writing a personal statement can produce a pretty good first draft.
Some will say that a bad writer should send the personal statement to a proofreader or editor, but then comes the question--where do we draw the line between proofreader/editor and ghostwriter? The experiences in the final product are likely to be the submitter's own experiences (unless the ghostwriter adds his/her own experiences as in this article), but much of the content will certainly not be from the submitter's first draft.
What's the difference between sending a first draft to an editor and having them add eloquent language and coherent stories, and sending a few basic facts/experiences to a ghostwriter? Is it the percentage of original content?