With more and more students turning to essay writing services for a quick and easy solution, the work of that industry has become perfected to the point of unrecognisable similarity.
Essays, coursework, and applications, written for hire, have been problematic in the educational system. It is as easy as to google “essay writing service” and be taken to any of the hundred existing websites. The topic is put in and the price is calculated. In a couple of days, you get essays with close-to-none plagiarism. These websites vary from reliable, almost official services, to something resembling more an Internet scheme than an actual web page.
Students said essays can sometimes cost £200, without provided results or a money-back guarantee. This is a risk every student is willing to take, though. Along with the problematic factors of plagiarism, there is the inability to recreate work or discuss the subjects, if necessary, or even genuine unfairness towards other students and themselves.
However, worried about the unexpected consequences of turning towards a fairly unreliable source for help, some students find it easier to turn to a sort of freelance writers. Whereas the subject of essay writing services online has been identified as a problem and in some cases is easily detected, the writers for hire make the issue of getting caught almost disappear.
While approaching every new piece of writing with a similar template, the work written by one person, rather than an unknown service, is more reliable and less likely to get any unnecessary attention. ND, a freelance writer, who has produced and edited several applications, said: “There is a certain structure, an algorithm of words.”
The use of certain keywords is clearly important to present good work for the students. SK, another writer, said: “What we end up producing is never prosaic or sophisticated in any way, you have to adapt everyone’s individual story into the pattern and the structure.”
There is always a certain type of people ordering essays online, which becomes a part of a big problem. It is usually wealthy students with little knowledge of humanitarian subjects and writing skills. Moreover, when writing MA applications and essays for students, SK said: “People, who work in a corporate environment for most of their life, pick up a certain habit off a phrase that reads very banal and oversimplified and that’s not what admissions commissions are looking for.”
Freelance writers work both for themselves and certain companies and get different types of tasks and profits. When writing for a person independently may cause changing the work to fit someone you know, wiring as a task for a company may prove to be less personal. SK said: “If you work through a company you receive a topic and you have to write to the best possible standard, but when you know a candidate, you can judge some other factors.”
ND said: “Working for a company really enjoyed my writing style, as I answer to someone else.
“I usually write essays on subjects that are new to me, I research everything I do.” This leads us to believe that writing essays for hire are more about the skills of writing and the knowledge of what the person who grades the work is looking for than the knowledge of the subject itself. This alone causes an issue of students not only failing to learn the information they themselves pay universities to be taught but to think it is unnecessary.
Both writers mention that sometimes they just edit an already existing essay, but are forced to rewire most of it due to lack of proper academic terminology or simple structure of sentences. Most of the work they produce does not cause any suspicion. This can also be explained by big universities not paying attention to the students’ individual writing styles, as much as the context of the work itself. On one of the issues of producing similar essays for different students, ND said: “The biggest problem is plagiarising yourself.”
When it comes to the moral reasoning behind the service itself, most writers do not excuse their services with anything but the fact that they need money and writing for people is a good way to get it.
“We are a part of a humongous problem in higher education and I don’t think it is morally justifiable. We are taking places from people with underprivileged backgrounds and ethnic minorities and women because most of our clients are men, it’s a big issue.” SK said quite clear on the fact that writing essays and university applications for hire are a big issue not only because of the unfair advantage it gives to the student and the lack of work and effort put by the student who orders the work but because of the disadvantage it puts other students who choose a more honest way. ND put it as simple as “it’s wrong, but we need the money.”
As an average university student, it might be hard to sympathise or relate to people who take part in putting you in a disadvantage and support the system that continues to tick universities into believing people who don’t work hard and try to improve still deserve a place, but the issue goes beyond the writers themselves. On the issue of university spots going to students who simply have money to spend on purchasing a professionally written application, SK said: “I haven’t had a single candidate who I think deserved a place yet.”
The truth is, as long as there are wealthy students, who are incapable of producing quality work but still simply want to have a university degree on their wall, there will always be the services to provide that easy way out. Students will always look for loopholes to cheat the system itself, so where there is demand, there will be supply. The only thing that the writers themselves actually do is “cash in” on the need for quality work.
The problem of writing services doesn’t seem like it will be resolved any day soon. The only thing that students can truly do is to realise that universities are there to provide them with the education that they themselves desired when they applied and by not completing the work they only cheat themselves out of something that might be a hard but, in the end, quite a rewarding experience.
Words: Assiya Mukhamedrakhimova | Subbing: Kristina Hristova