Hiring Someone to Complete Your Coursework? Ethical Aspects
There is no secret that many students use academic writing services at least once during their college or even high school. Hiring someone to complete your coursework is a massive trend that you should be aware of — many students are caught, and papers of much more Bachelors, Masters and Ph.Ds. remain unknown.
Of course, colleges try to deal with plagiarism, and infamous Turnitin has announced an update that will identify style differences between papers of the same students. It is supposed to reveal students that hired someone. Let me assure you that updates will not work — essay mills are well-trained in providing disguised papers.
So, we are left face to face with ethics. I have conducted my research among students, tutors, and ghostwriters, and revealed that paying someone to do your homework is much more controversial that one may expect. Interestingly, proofreading is not a one-size-fits-all disguise for ghostwriting, but there are many other legal options — let us see!
Do Students Really Pay Someone to Do Their Assignment?
You may have noticed that the Internet is very partisan on the issue of contractual plagiarism — that is how buying original essays is called officially. Big media and universities are fast to defame any kind of external collaboration of students, even with their peers. In turn, essay mills and coursework help services turn too apologetic, saying that purchasing essays is as safe and secure as buying soda in a vending machine.
So, Mr. Rights are trying to prevent you from even thinking about plagiarism, and Mr. Wrongs are desperately trying to sell their products. Let us burst the bubble of ignorance and grab some statistics.
- At least 36 percent of students do some kind of plagiarism in their writing.
- 95 percent of students who use bought papers are never caught.
- Again, 96 percent of students who are caught with third-party essays are identified by five simple clues (I will discuss them here later).
- Anti-plagiarism organizations are not very sure about the possibility to identify all students that buy papers consistently.
- English coursework help is in high demand in ESL students, whose interest in third-party help with writing proliferates over the years.
- Ghostwriting and academic writing assistance services have grown into the market of several hundred million dollars, and they continue to grow. There are 100 essay writing companies in the UK only!
- In turn, about 15% of tutors and teachers in colleges assume the possibility of getting paid to do homework of anonymous students.
Do you see this? Students keep paying to do their coursework, and their amount is significant and keeps growing. Therefore, you may be sure that we are discussing a real and colossal issue that almost everyone is involved in. Here mills win — third-party assistance with homework is not a mere quirk of academic outsiders as Universities pretend.
Legal Penalties for Paying Someone to Do Your Work and Top 5 Methods that Colleges Use to Catch Cheaters Without Turnitin (Beware!)
Teachers and administrators are trying to bring up academic honesty ethics with a policy of a stick without a carrot — namely, all the disciplinary practices, rules, and punishments. Different states, countries, and colleges have their own codes, but all of them can be narrowed to three main principles.
- Unless it is permitted, students must do their assignments alone.
- The submission of someone else’s work is illegal and will be prosecuted.
- All the considerable help received, such as proofreading or advice, should be acknowledged at the beginning of the paper.
If these three requirements are not met, the student can be dropped out of the college or university, and commissioners may withdraw her degree. Sometimes, prosecutors are lucky to catch as many as 56 students with bought papers, but such massive scandals like this are rare.
Interestingly, hiring someone to complete your work is not a violation of the copyright law in the US and the UK, so students can not be held liable for the civil or criminal offense. At the same time, acknowledgment requirements make proofreading a kind of plagiarism too. For example, Cambridge states that there is a “permissible” level of colluding work — hence, a substantial help with grammar or style will still qualify as plagiarism.
So, essay mills lie to you — proofreading may be deemed illegal and unethical.
Ok, but how were these students caught? I had a couple of private talks with academic integrity officers and tutors in colleges. Here goes a short list of the silliest yet popular ways to disclose your cooperation!
- Using campus Internet to order or download the ghostwritten essay. Sad but true — the majority of students does not realize that their Internet traffic via college’s Wi-Fi is tracked and analyzed, especially for Docx and PDF files downloaded. Tutors revealed me that conspiracy was started because of students and tutors who shared their personal credentials with Sci Hub. Then, it became useful to identify academic misconducts.
- Submitting the essay without deleting author’s data. Microsoft Word has a useful but treacherous feature — it adds the name of document’s author in each file. In the most recent versions, Word also attaches author’s email address, which is used in Microsoft Account. When teachers see that the name of the author does not match with the name of the student, she soon becomes a suspect.
- Metadata. Sometimes, Word also includes additional hidden data — for instance, comments, regional settings or template names. Moreover, if the file was stored on a work server, then its technical information will be included as well. Without their removal with Document Inspector, they are number-one friends of Academic Integrity Commission.
- Language settings. Many ghostwriters work from abroad, and the problem may be far more tricky than poor quality of some ELS writers’ work. For example, a writer in the UK may create a perfect essay for the US students, by spellchecker will remain switched to British English. One tutor has said that this trick helps him to catch plagiarists every year.
- Lack of Course Material Use. Students who buy papers often want to remain anonymous, so they try to conceal their educational institution, personal name, and even gender. However, it often leads ghostwriters to create maybe excellent but irrelevant papers. “When I know that the student has attended some lectures, but there is no trace of my words in the essay, the paper is clearly bought in the mill,” — one teacher said.
So, as far as you may see, no super technology is used to identify essays that were purchased in writing companies — student’s worst enemies are neglect and lack of precautions. At the same time, it is not surprising that the majority of students are never caught. Teachers confess that in general, students hire professionals to write capstone papers, where sudden changes in language and knowledge are common. People tend to work on their final essay as rigorous as they can, so plagiarizers easily pass all barriers in the crowd of ardent students.
However, ease of submitting a bought paper is not an invitation to do so. For instance, will you trust a physician who has purchased his diploma thesis from the professional writer? Alternatively, say, will you buy a ticket for a plane that is lead by a pilot with a purchased license? Some challenges should be passed by yourself — what does not kill us makes us stronger.
Why Do We Need Ethical Alternatives to Homework Help?
By this point, you may be pretty sure that paying for university homework is unethical, and tutors and politicians from all over the world will definitely share your point. Quality of services determines the quality of our life, and services are created by skills and knowledge of people who provide them. There is no place for the man-in-the-middle between the student and her diploma.
However, in some situations, seeking for professional help is the best option possible. Let us consider a couple of real-world cases — I know these people personally, and they did not mind mentioning.
- An experienced human resource manager sought master’s degree to get a promotion to the executive position in headquarters. For her, the purchase of papers was an easy way to save valuable time because the diploma would be nothing but a disposable ticket.
- A war veteran got his first-time college education in the midst of his 30s. He had two children and family and must work a lot to win bread and finance his costly treatment of the post-traumatic syndrome. Sometimes he had neither energy nor time to write essays by himself, and academic services helped him to pass through.
- A student from Germany did her best to get by in the US — she took many courses and ran a little but a rapidly growing startup. In her final year of studying, she got trapped by deadlines and failed a couple of assignments. If she had not hired a professional that wrote her capstone paper, her final grade would be too low for the successful graduation, and she would be expelled from the US.
- A simple American student paid $25,000 for his bachelor’s degree, but the life can be really evil sometimes. Due to personal issues, he had no time to complete his final assignment, and after music in dean’s office, the risk of drop out emerged. For him, a choice between buying an essay and keeping academic integrity was a choice between saving and losing $25,000.
Dramatic and true-to-life situations often happen in academia and ignoring them is very unwise of college administrators and professors. People are not likely to make choices that will damage them just because unauthorized cooperation is bad, and even 100 articles in the Huffington Post will not persuade them.
Luckily, some ethical solutions will help you to get the help of the pro writer and remain free of plagiarism and academic misconducts.
Ethical Workarounds for Professional Academic Help
How are these workarounds possible? According to the majority of academic integrity statements, plagiarism is the usage of the intellectual property that does not belong to you. However, receiving and training your own intellectual assets is a primary aim of education, which is never restrained. Thus, you may hire professional that will teach and guide you in expressing your ideas and completing assignments.
What exactly can be done? After I consulted with teachers and essay writers, I managed to find common ground — services that are both helpful for students and legit for professors.
- Proofreading, with nuances. If you write an essay for English class or require English coursework help, proofreading is not an option for you — instead, your own ability to proofread will be graded. However, in other cases, it is entirely acceptable to check your grammar and wording together with a third-party helper.
- Editing, without nuances. While proofreading deals only with language, editing will help you to structure and understand your paper better. So to say, while a proofreader is a tinker who puts patches and stitches, an editor is a tailor who redraws the whole essay and suggests areas for improvement and expansion. Academic writers say that editing becomes extremely popular today because students feel moral but empowered in such way.
- Formatting. Technical aspects of Word or Excel often prevent students from creating essays with the strong visual appeal. At the same time, citation styles with all their complexity may be really painful — at the same time, they affect the grade only a little. Thus, formatting is an exciting way to apply some cosmetic rework to your paper.
- Professors have a little of time available for individual work with students. Meanwhile, the latter may need more time to get an understating of the project — it is primarily topical for capstone papers. This issue is easily resolved by hiring a mentor who will work as a personal tutor. She may explain you the topic, suggest readings as future sources for your bibliography and share outlines, templates, and hints for more comfortable writing.
- Personal assistance. Some sources may be hard to find, and during a serious research project, students may face numerous issues while contacting with institutions, publishers and article databases. Academic assistance services may take a burned of all administrative work, remaining enough space for creativity — they will order and ship books, download articles, conduct surveys and get anything you need to start writing.
- Reading&using free articles from nerds. That is what I am doing right now — running a blog where I share all secrets and hints I have learned while being a nerd whose only friends are teachers and videogames books. Knowledge and experience should be free of charge, which is my mission here.
So, there is a variety of entirely legal tools that will significantly accelerate and improve your essay writing without risk of being convicted of plagiarism. The main idea is that your helper should not affect the value core of your essay — creative ideas and specific grading rubric categories.
For example, the help with sources is entirely legitimate, but ordering the complete annotated bibliography may raise concerns of professors. Keeping balance, however, it quite easy.
How Do I Help with Homework and Did I Pay Someone to Do My Class: Nerd’s Confession?
We have discussed all main and primary points of academic collaboration ethics, so now I feel free to go personal. My relationships with academic writing are complicated. Once in my life, I became a client of the essay mill. Now, on my new path, I communicate with all stakeholders — writers, teachers, and students — so I pretend to have enough credibility as a speaker.
What I love the most is a free knowledge, which inspired my first-and-only plagiarism — and my current blog obsession. Back in my scholarship times, there were not many options to pass by the paywall put on the majority of academic articles. In turn, my University did not provide takeaway access to the library via the Internet.
I ran as many courses as I could and also had a full-time job — so, I moonlighted at home. Under any circumstances, I could not work in the library — even if I wanted to spend all day long on campus, it closed at 8 pm. It was three days to capstone paper, I was unable to find rare sources and turned nearly suicidal. So, I ordered an essay from an essay mill.
However, instead of buying an essay on my topic, I asked to find sources I needed and write summaries of their main contents. It was completely legal — summaries provided only assistance for my original writing, and I hardly used exact words from essay mill’s document.
And it worked! While the paper had some language flaws, summaries were of the perfect quality, so I completed my capstone without further issues and got A.
Now, I try to lead students how to write essays by themselves — because academic writing is quite easy for those who know nerd’s writing tips. I create step-by-step guides for essay writing, suggest unique topics for a research paper and share some grading secrets for college admission essays. It would be unfair to be a nerd and keep my experience for me only.
Do you think that I was cheating back in my student years, or it was fully acceptable conduct? Drop into comments so we could discuss it together. If you like my point of view, please share this article with your friends so we could improve the situation with essay writing ASAP.