As college admissions consultants, one of our primary tasks here at college is to help students write the best personal essays they possibly can. As we've noted before, the personal statement has the potential to seriously help a college understand why they should accept you. At the same time, knowing how powerful a personal essay can make the prospect of writing one seem difficult intimidating.
The stress of writing a personal statement that some students face can cause some to feel tempted to instead cheat the system for fear that they can not succeed or will not be accepted to a satisfactory college otherwise. Some recruit someone or several people to write their essay for them, or even try to submit essays or portions of essays that they find online as their own work. This is considered plagiarism, and we do not condone it in any way.
Because we know how stressful the college application process can be, we'd like to take the time here to remind you that plagiarism is never the answer. Although competitive and complicated, the college admissions process is not an unwinnable game. There are basically no benefits to being dishonest; meanwhile, cheating leaves you vulnerable to endless issues and negative repercussions. What many students do not realize-and what we would like to highlight here-is that it is remarkably easy to identify plagiarism. Chances are, if you do not write your own application essay, you'll get caught – and here's why.
What Counts as Plagiarism?
First, let's clarify what a university admissions committee would consider to be plagiarism to avoid unknowing offenses. Plagiarism is defined as is the act of claiming another's work as your own. The most obvious form of plagiarism in the college application process involves hiring a freelance writer or company who will write your essay for you. Although it may seem appalling, these companies and individuals do exist and operate. However, if you are using their services, it is you, not them, who will suffer through the negative repercussions.
Another form of plagiarism involves copying-and-pasting sentences or entity paragraphs that you did not author into the Common App. Even if you generated some of the content of your essay, one stuben sentence or paragraph is enough to be incriminating.
Additionally, gross over-editing from a parent, guidance counselor, or tutor becomes plagiarism when you are no longer writing the essay but rather directing your family and teachers to do so. What's more, there really is no "fine line" between getting help and plagiarizing-if you are cheating, you will know. It is certainly okay and even encouraged for students to seek advice and feedback from teachers, parents, and guardians. But when you begin to allow your helpers to sit at the computer and type for you, a red flag should arise in your mind. When an editing session reaches that level of involvement, it has usually gone too far.
Why Is Plagiarizing Bad? An Ethical Approach
Before we ever launch into a discussion of …