Are Essay Writing Services Ethical?

The internet is chock-full of essay writing services ready to take on paper assignments for struggling students. Pay a certain fee for a writer's service and get a paper that will leave your teachers impressed.

Sounds convenient, right? The problem is that the use of such services remains questionable, with many people pointing out its ethical side.

Each university has their own academic codes of conduct, oftentimes forbidding students from buying custom papers - one they consider "contract cheating". But if that were the case, why then, does this industry continue to thrive through the years?

An even bigger question arises: Is academic writing ethical or not?

Are Essay Writing Services Ethical to Use for Students?

There's a crucial caveat to the ethical use of essay writing services among students. Paying for and getting a 100% original paper won't get you accused of committing plagiarism, which in itself, isn't a criminal offense but one that could get you suspended from school or worse, expelled.

However, submitting a paid essay and passing it off as your own work is, by all means, wrong and unethical.

Then again, how is getting academic writing assistance any different from hiring a tutor? Or when an industry professional hires a ghostwriter to work on a business pitch or leadership paper? This practice is surprisingly common among businessmen, celebrities, and even politicians who want to publish content they can't write themselves.

Because of this, the issue of essay writing services being unethical remains heavily debated in the academe. But statistics don't lie. Essay writing services have been around your years and according to research, 16% of students worldwide have admitted to using such services to get writing help - and that number is rising.

So is it ethical for students to buy custom papers? It depends on the circumstances through which essay writing services are being used. And for companies that offer said services, it's essential that they clearly state their ethical policies and guides on how their clients should use their papers.

Which brings us to the next question…

When Can One Justify the Use of Essay Writing Services?

Many people presuppose that students who turn to academic essays for sale are simply "lazy" or "privileged". But the real reason these companies exist is because they understand there's a necessity for their services. They've saved students who aren't able to work on their paper assignments for many different (and completely valid) reasons, including:

  • Academic/work overload
  • Familial responsibilities
  • Lack of knowledge on a subject
  • Lack of writing skills

Despite these challenging scenarios, most universities still frown upon essay writing services. This is simply unfair for many students because they completely disregard the many legitimate reasons a student would opt to get academic help in writing their papers.

Of course, in light of the tendency for academic dishonesty with the use of paid essays, professional writers are aware that there's a chance their work may be misused by students.

Reputable custom writing companies condemn this act themselves, so customers are always reminded that ordered papers are quite simply model papers - samples or additional sources they have at their disposal, much like a textbook.

In short, customers are not meant to put their name on a custom paper and submit it as their own in order to get good grades.

Because of this, companies have adopted a strong ethical standpoint and robust terms and conditions that aim to avert any potential legal threats. The more a company demonstrates that they don't encourage "over reliance" on their writing services, the less likely they are to be considered a medium for academic dishonesty.

Ultimately however, it's the intentions of a customer that determine whether or not an essay writing service is unethical. While it's clear that the need to get a paper written for a specific topic means that abuse is more likely, we can't deny the fact that most students rely on essay writing services in order to further their own learning.

Why Do Essay Writing Services Exist?

Essay writing services exist for a reason: There's a high demand for them.

Paper assignments play a vital role in our academic system. The biggest problem a student has to face is that they need to cope with too much workload with too little time in their hands. Combine that with the intense pressure they have to face in terms of society's expectations of a "successful individual", with grades being touted as the single most important facet in determining one's academic success.

Students are forced to write sophisticated academic papers (often beyond their capacity) while juggling between part-time jobs and building their personal lives. But this is just part and parcel of the problem. A large percentage of customers are international students - non-native English speakers who may not easily grasp the ins and outs of writing essays in English. So while they can be experts on a subject matter, they may lack the necessary written English skills to get good grades.

This alone explains the necessity for essay writing help. But with most of the schools and universities' strict policies, they're being barred from seeking the assistance they need which is, quite honestly, unfair and discriminatory to foreign students whose main language isn't English.

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What's In It for the Writers?

Writers themselves have noticed the rising popularity of essay writing services among students. Freelance writers have especially benefited from this industry. Not only does it help students with their academic workload, it has also enabled struggling writers to earn a decent income and even get recognized.

This is especially true for a lot of academic writers from third-world countries like Kenya, who have to work tooth and nail to make ends meet. The essay writing service industry has given them a chance to make a living.

Let's consider looking at it from this bigger perspective. Any questioning of the ethics behind custom writing services should account for the positive impact it brings in helping not just students but also the writers.

Why Are Some Major Countries Still Lenient With Essay Writing Services?

There's an ongoing battle to eradicate essay writing services and imposing legal sanctions to any company that offers their services to students. But at the time of writing, only the government of Australia has made the big move to ban them from doing business in the country.

The UK is slowly following in the steps of Australia, but it won't be anytime soon until the government declares a law that makes the use of essay writing services illegal. And the US? They're a bit behind the times and aren't making any moves to combat contract cheating issues, if at all.

So if using essay writing services is such a huge problem in the academe, why is it that major countries still haven't banned the industry? Depending on how you look at it, the answer to the question may be because essay writing services aren't just ethical (in a sense that they exist to assist students further their learning), but they're also a necessity - both in the academic and economic standpoint.

Given the many situational challenges, a student can either write papers of poor quality or try to complete them in time with the help of top essay writers. Buying a custom essay isn't the same as copying test answers, and even though they're often labeled as "academic cheating", it doesn't stop students from achieving their goals.

Most students are aware of the repercussions that come with academic cheating and at the end of the day, they know their works are original, and nobody can say that a paper assignment wasn't written by them. So perhaps changes must come not from the students, but from the academic institution itself. If instructors make some changes to their students' academic requirements and workload, then students won't find the need to buy academic papers at all.

What Are the Major Setbacks?

On the other hand, there's no denying that relying too much on essay writing services, where a student graduates without ever having to learn how to write an essay themselves, can be detrimental. If they lack the necessary knowledge and research skills because they've blindingly relied on such services, it could undermine the academic system's social and economic role in producing capable employees for the future.

Therefore, allowing custom writing services to go unchecked could have serious implications for the value of a student's qualifications and in turn, affect the economic well-being of a country.

Conclusion

Is it ethical to buy essays at custom writing services? There could be one too many answers to this million-dollar question. At the end of the day, however, only you can decide that.

It's important to consider the completely legitimate reasons students turn to such services for help. The idea of ethics is subjective to say the least. It differs from one person to another, influenced by years of family and societal conditioning.

While it may undoubtedly appear unethical to many people, there's no denying that using essay writing services for learning purposes is ethical - even necessary - especially when juxtaposed to the pressures imposed on students.

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David Anderson is the founder of IHateWritingEssays. He hates the idea of companies baiting unsuspecting individuals with fraudulent services. Starting from school, he too, struggled to find a helping hand when it comes to writing assignments. Over time, he focused on publishing comprehensive reviews and helping students find reliable essay services. Thus, the review site came to be – serving as the "voice and the iron fist" of an industry expert.