We know that none of you would ever cheat. You’d never lie on your application to graduate school. You’d never write your own letter of recommendation. You’d never copy an essay that you found on a website. (Or, 2016 version: You’d never lift key elements of a speech you were giving to a political convention. )
So this post is definitely not for any of you.
We just figured we’d point to some recent news items about plagiarism in university admissions. And what some adcoms are doing about it . Just, you know, because it’s interesting. And we like to know what adcoms are doing.
We’ve been following Turnitin on Twitter for some time. They’re this company that makes plagiarism-detection software. We first heard of them several years back, when we had a client who we suspected had plagiarized his work: the drafts he was submitting to us were way better than what this guy could write. At the time, we did some research on available options, and even toyed with the idea of getting a license to the Turnitin thing. But then we realized that the proper response was to educate the client. Clearly he must not realize the problem (he was a foreign candidate, morals are different in different countries). So we talked to him. But that didn’t work. The next set of drafts had the same issues, but worse: this time, he included sentences lifted straight from the target school’s website. We found it easy enough with Google.
So he made it easy on us. We fired him.
Yes, we can, and will, fire a client if we feel you’re being unethical in your application process. If you’re lying. If you’re plagiarizing.
Turnitin got significant play a few weeks ago when an LA Times article talked about how their software was being adopted by grad schools – including UCLA Anderson and Stanford . We tweeted about it the morning that article came out:
In other words: Yes, we are well aware of this. And yes, we are in favor of it, too.
But since then, a couple BSers who apparently don’t follow us on Twitter have gotten all dramatic about this issue in posting comments on our blahg. One expressed his concern that an innocent Brave Supplicant who had an essay reviewed on the EssaySnark blahg might get somehow entrapped by this software and then rejected by the school.
EssaySnark is actually not concerned by this at all, and given a proper perspective and sensible analysis of the situation, you will realize that you need not be either.
We’ll cover this in much detail tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say that EssaySnark is not into plagiarism. It ranks right up there with parking in a handicapped spot when you’re not disabled, and not picking up after your dog when you’re out on a walk, and a long list of many other things that get EssaySnark plenty riled up. EssaySnark is, uh, a writer by trade. We detest it when someone takes credit for work they did not do. And we cast plenty of blame on Wall Street and the ratings agencies and all those other bad actors for the state of economic affairs that the world is still suffering through. If you’re gonna cheat on your MBA admissions essays, where else are you gonna cut corners and take advantage in your quest for #1? Nope, not gonna let that slide, ever.
For today, all you Round 2 candidates can go back to manically checking your email for your 12noon Eastern time announcement of your Harvard Business School fate.
(And for anyone reading this more recently: Here’s a news clip from 2016 on what can happen to students who plagiarize .)