As the recent college admissions scandal is shedding light on how parents are cheating and bribing their children’s way into college, schools are also focusing on how some students may be cheating their way through college. Concern is growing about a burgeoning online market that makes it easier than ever for students to buy essays written by others to turn in as their own work. And schools are trying new tools to catch it.
It’s not hard to understand the temptation for students. The pressure is enormous, the stakes are high and, for some, writing at a college level is a huge leap.
“We didn’t really have a format to follow, so I was kind of lost on what to do,” says one college freshman, who struggled recently with an English assignment. One night, when she was feeling particularly overwhelmed, she tweeted her frustration.
“It was like, ‘Someone, please help me write my essay!’ ” she recalls. She ended her tweet with a crying emoji. Within a few minutes, she had a half-dozen offers of help.