Adcoms’ New Tool to Detect Plagiarism in Essays

Writing Your MBA EssaysRather than go through the hassle of writing your application essays yourself, especially since you’re not the most effective or practiced writer (or since you don’t have enough time), why not have someone who really knows how to do it well write them for you?   That someone could be a friend or colleague who’s offered to help or who has some essays that worked in previous years, or it may be a paid essay writing service you found on the web.

This line of thinking is not rare nor unfortunately is the next logical step: going ahead and actually getting someone to write your application essays or personal statement.

In fact, I had a client ask me to write an essay for him just last week. I declined this request, as I and my colleagues have declined all such requests, and convinced the client to draft his own essay. He discovered it wasn’t impossible after all.

And what about your friend’s offer? It may not provide much camouflage,.  And as for services and others you’d pay for an essay, consider the risks: if you’re willing to take the ethical misstep of passing off work as yours that isn’t yours, how and why can you trust someone else to provide original work? How can you be sure this essay is really being written just for you and wasn’t used previously and slightly doctored? Or not doctored at all? Can you trust that service not to take a shortcut and recycle previously used content rather than labor to create a unique essay for you from scratch?

No. You can’t.

The potential danger from compiling essays from previously developed content has just increased significantly: some b-school adcoms are using anti-plagiarism software, called Turnitin, which compares applicants’ essays to a database of previous essay content to identify reused material.  If they find enough matches to indicate plagiarism, they just reject the applicant.  Period.  UCLA Anderson has rejected 52 applicants based solely on plagiarism concerns detected by Turnitin. Anderson doesn’t waste time explaining its reasons to the cheaters, and the applicant may never know the real reason for the rejection.

If you are tempted to hire a service to write your essays and the ethics of the situation don’t deter you, think of the significant  risks inherent in hiring others to author the essays. Those risks may be the shield from temptation. It’s just safer – not to mention better – to do it yourself.

Cindy TokumitsuBy Cindy Tokumitsu, author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last thirteen years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning admissions strategy.