Custom essays not such a good idea

By Ivan Danielewicz

Online essay sites can provide students with an easy way to get assignments done at a price. Not only are these sites expensive to use, but students can find themselves being accused of plagiarism by their professors or departments.

An online essay site has recently come under scrutiny by staff at the university. The site provides “models” for all different forms of essays as well as editing and rewriting services. Additionally, the site states that it “does not endorse plagiarism or promote any form of academic dishonesty.”

“The university is very strict about its rules of plagiarism,” said Students’ Union Vice-President Academic Laura Schultz. “Plagiarism immediately occurs when a student tries to take credit for someone else’s work.”

Despite the fact that the website states that it only provides the essays as models, it goes on to state that the models it provides are fully presentable essays. This means that a student could immediately hand an essay in after it receives the model from the web site. Along with writing the essay, the site also offers to do all of the research for the papers and provide any references.

A basic 10-page research essay can cost $210 ($21 per page). Any additional features can boost that price significantly.

Sites such as have also brought up concerns in the U of C Effective Writing Center.

“If a student simply has his essay fixed or rewritten by someone else, that is plagiarism,” explained Douglas Brent, Associate Dean of the Faculty of the Communication and Culture. “These online essay services simply provide an end product that doesn’t benefit the student. The Effective Writing Center is here to help students develop a better end product and the process of developing that end product.”

The web site also offers editing and rewriting services. This service cost $35 per hour and there is no mention on how long an average paper costs. This feature has also been scrutinized by various individuals at the university.

“The line between editing and plagiarism is very blurry because there are a number of arguments that can back both,” explains Schultz. “Plagiarism comes into question when a student can no longer consider the work their own. The is no difference between revision by someone else or outright copying, if the piece is no longer their own work.”

The university deals with all matters of plagiarism very seriously. If a student is suspected of plagiarism, then the professor has to immediately report the incident to the head of the department. Plagiarism could result in a failure of the course, academic suspension or outright expulsion.

“If a student is caught plagiarizing, their punishment will depend on what year they are in and whether or not they have committed this offence before, ” said Schultz. “A first year student can probably expect a lighter punishment then a fourth year student who knows the rules of plagiarism.”

For more information on plagiarism, contact the Effective Writing Center, located in the Social Sciences Room 110. The Effective Writing Center also offers classes and drop-in sessions for students who wish to work on grammar and language. Individual sessions can be arranged for students who want help developing their essays.

“It’s getting easier and easier for students to copy of someone else’s work,” warns Schultz. “It’s also getting easier for professors to catch them.”

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