Can You Get Expelled from College/University for Using an Essay Service?
So, you've decided to hire someone to work on your essay. There could be many reasons, but you can't deny the fact you're going to "cheat the system" by not writing it yourself.
Knowing this, do you truly understand the risks you're going to take by using an essay service? And if you ever get caught using such service, would it go as far as getting you expelled from college for cheating?
Writing Agencies: Are They Legal?
Many students ask this all-important question. And the answer is simple: YES. Since it's legal for these online services to write model essays, in most cases it's therefore safe for students to hire essay writers.
When ordering an academic paper, it's considered a purchase. Basically, you hire a ghostwriter who works to create original content for you. Once the work is done and you've made payment, the ordered paper becomes your property.
At this point, the ghostwriter – or anybody else for that matter – has nothing to do with the finished paper. You can do whatever you want with it, including putting your name on the paper.
Whether or not this is a form of cheating remains a grey area, since the writer transfers full rights to the student. Understandably, teachers and professors won't appreciate it if students always rely on essay services for their paper assignments. Then again, if the question of morality and ethics doesn't concern you, then you can use essay services without worries.
However, there's a catch to it.
Buying Essays: What Are the Common Risks?
Many students are worried they'd face severe consequences for buying a custom essay. There are even reports of students being harassed for something as minor as inquiring about essay writing services online (however, it was a ghostwriter on Craigslist - NEVER hire freelance writers!). Some colleges and universities impose heavy punishment for anyone who violates the code of conduct.
But is there really cause for concern?
You're Cheating Yourself
Earlier, I mentioned the word "model". To begin with, custom essays are supposed to be used merely as reference, not meant to be submitted to your professor as-is. After all, the reason students are asked to write academic papers is that it helps hone one's critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to come up with sound arguments – vital skills that are necessary in life.
Moreover, essays are excellent ways to polish up your skills in writing and comprehension. Being able to write what you've read and learned means you've understood the material well.
So, take this with a grain of salt: If you're cheating your professor for submitting an ordered paper, you're pretty much cheating on yourself.
Rousing Your Professor's Suspicion
Having a meticulous professor is a great thing, but it's an entirely different story for the student who's looking to use an essay writing service.
If a professor knows each of his students' writing and knowledge style by heart, then it'll be easy for them to know that it's not you who's written the essay. This is especially true if your previous submissions weren't as good as the paper you've ordered from an essay service. And since the new work is in a whole different league, then sure enough your professor will suspect something is amiss. After all, becoming a writing guru doesn't happen overnight.
But this isn't the worst yet…
Getting Expelled from College
The risk of getting kicked out of college depends on where you're studying and how the academic institution deals with student misconduct. One of the most Common Code of Conduct violations is academic dishonesty. This is a broad category, and any of the following acts are considered as academic dishonesty:
If you choose the wrong essay writing service, you put yourself at risk of getting caught for plagiarism and contract cheating. Both are, in fact, the most common violations students commit when they get caught using an essay service. While many schools impose minor disciplinary action like reprimanding or giving the student an informal warning, some institutions don't take such violations lightly.
For example, the student may be given a failing grade or worse, face expulsion. But this isn't the worse-case scenario.
In the US and Australia, some universities have much stricter policies that could land students who plagiarize in jail, for a maximum of 2 years. If not imprisonment, the student could face huge fines that will have them pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Crackdown on Essay Writing Services
Essay writing services are also being targeted by academic institutions and the government itself, as a way to "eliminate the root cause of the problem". Take the case of MyMaster, for example.
In 2015, the essay writing industry was swept by a huge scandal when two university students in Australia were expelled (and many more facing severe punishment) due to contract cheating. After a series of investigations, it was revealed that these students have hired Sydney-based MyMaster, to ghost-write their paper assignments.
Owned by Chinese-born businesswoman, Yingying Dou, MyMaster has since been heavily scrutinized by the Australian government. Ms. Dou has denied all allegations of cheating but the website has since been taken down and is no longer in operation.
While this wasn't the last major case of large-scale academic cheating, it definitely changed the face of essay writing services. Until today, academic institutions and governments continue to crack down more essay writing companies and investigating students who are suspected to be using such services.
Expulsion – What's the Real Deal?
According to a 2017 research conducted by leading experts in essay cheating, over 20,000 students turn to essay services every year. Surprisingly, more than a third are enrolled at prestigious universities in the UK.
Another study conducted by Studiosity in 2018 further supported this, revealing that 31 million university students from all over the world have used essay services to complete their assignments – 15% of which have admitted to outsourcing their essays.
Looking at the figures, it's shocking to know how many students seem unconcerned about the practice of using custom writing services. This is why schools can't be blamed for imposing more stringent measures regarding code of conduct violations. Some countries, like New Zealand, even passed a law that criminalizes the provision and promotion of academic cheating services.
But according to a survey, students who were previously caught submitting plagiarized work are very rarely expelled from college for cheating. In fact, out of the 9,200 recorded cases of student misconduct, only 143 students faced expulsion. That's more than 98% who were allowed to stay at the university. And in the case of criminalizing academic cheating, even a country's legal system (like New Zealand's) is still reluctant to prosecute the offenders.
All these data and survey results only mean one thing. And for academic institutions, it may be a hard pill to swallow: The need for essay writing services is far greater than the risks involved. Students are willing to take chances by continuing to use these services, despite almost all academic institutions threatening expulsion as their most severe sanction.
Is There A “White Way” to Use Essay Writing Services?
Essay writing services have been around for well over a decade, and that’s because there’s a demand for them. While some people believe that using essay writing services can get you expelled for cheating, the truth is that it’s absolutely safe and legitimate to purchase papers from them.
Is Using An Essay Writing Service Cheating?
No. But to maintain academic integrity, a paper that’s purchased from an essay writing service must only be used for their intended purpose: an additional reference material or a model paper. Below are the white ways to use an essay writing service:
- Buying a custom paper as a reference/additional source for better understanding of a topic or subject
- Using the paper as a guide to proper citation
- Getting a custom paper or hiring a writer to help find research sources for a writing assignment or project
- Using an ordered paper as a source of inspiration for your own writing
Can Professors Find Out If You Bought an Essay?
No. Trusted essay writing services are committed to protecting the anonymity of their customers. Additionally, they ensure that you’ll get original papers that are written from scratch, and full ownership rights will be turned over to you, which means there’s no chance of you getting expelled for plagiarism.
The good news is that there are numerous essay writing services that do their best to provide high-quality papers and don't plan on cheating students with stolen or pre-written papers that could get them expelled. After all, this would surely put them out of business. Right?
Of course, some students would still be unsure about using essay services, despite knowing it's legal in most countries. It's understandable. Besides, it's your own choice and responsibility whether or not you should use such services. Policies vary from college to college, and it pays to be fully aware of your school's own code of conduct.
Just remember the popular adage, "Better safe than sorry"!
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Author: David Anderson
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.