Plagiarizing a College Application? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Barry Lenson

Let’s say you’re applying to college, but don’t want to waste time writing an application essay when you could be skateboarding. No problemo! If you goofy-foot around the internet, you can find lots of college essays that you can slap right into a college application, and you’re back on your board.  Or you can pick up a book of successful application essays and steal one of them. I mean, how are the admissions stiffs going to know that you never really had a dog named Pedro who taught you all about life, right? 

Well, forget it. Plagiarizing a college application was always a terrible idea. But now you are probably going to get caught too, thanks to a new service called Turnitin for Admissions. You’ve probably heard of Turnitin – it’s an online service that professors have been using for years to determine if students’ term papers have been plagiarized. Turnitin for Admissions is something new. It will send up a red flag if college applicants have plagiarized any of the following stuff:

  • Admissions essays
  • Application question responses
  • Personal statements
  • Reference letters
  • Residency statements
  • Scholarship essays

Turnitin for Admissions is yet another indication of how much pressure college applicants are under today. They have pressure to keep their GPAs up, pressure to take a lot of AP classes and tests, pressure to get 2,400 on their SATs, pressure to do community work to round out their college applications. Pressure, pressure, pressure. 

And when the pressure hits the breaking point and the stakes are impossibly high, that’s when people look for an easy out and cheat. It’s another symptom of just how broken the American system of college applications really is.

Unrealistic pressure could also be a reason why more and more people are deciding to start college online. You can’t plagiarize an admissions essay for StraighterLine, because there are no admissions essays. There are also no SATs, no letters of recommendation or personal statements to write. You simply sign up and start learning. 

Sounds kind of like the way college ought to be. Agree? 

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