Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Term Paper Mills - Final Draft

Term Paper Mills
Term paper mills are an easy way out of an assignment or semester final, and are commonly used by many students all over the world. “Anywhere from 9 to 95 percent of students surveyed admitted to some form of academic dishonesty” (Maramark and Maline – 161). Paper mills have been supplying illegal essays for decades and are easily accessible through the internet. However, the invention and growing uses of paper mills have created a need for a cure.
Plagiarism detection services, which are found online, are actively fighting against this disease that plagues millions of people all over the world. These detection services are moderately effective against plagiarism; they tend to act more as a deterrent then actually preventing plagiarism. When used correctly these powerful detection services can search through thousands of archived papers and tell the user if there has been plagiarism involved. Every day, services like Turnitin.com grow and therefore become more effective at finding copied material.
Despite the advancing technology that merely deters plagiarism; college students are plagiarizing more and more. Many of these students feel that they just don’t have the time to devote to an honest essay assignment, whereas others may be subconsciously forced into it by peer pressure. “If students perceive that a majority of their peers are going online to plagiarize, they may be more apt to plagiarize themselves” (Scanlon and Neumann-383).
Thanks to our advanced technology computers are allowing students extraordinary access to a vast array of internet sources. Using the internet students can easily enter a web site that sells term papers and choose to receive an essay in a matter of days. With an option so simple who wouldn’t choose a bought essay over hard work and hours of research? The offer is almost too tempting, even when one knows the consequences of using illegal written material as your own. One may think, “Well I won’t get caught,” or “my teacher will never know the difference.” However professors hold their high esteem position because they worked for it. As a student, would you want a professor who’s used someone else’s research and finger-sweat as their own? If you knew, could you be sure that they weren’t just feeding you a bunch of garbage and un-researched topics?
Students often rely on paper mills numerous times for their source of trust ‘worthy’ material. What if this inadequately rehearsed student becomes a surgeon or even a pediatrician? How would you feel if you knew an unstudied, unqualified doctor was treating your child, your mother, or your spouse? The reality is however, that most people don’t know. This could be the case for many people in the near future. In these times people are always moving full speed through each and every day, always looking for a faster ways to get things done. After all, ‘time is money.’ Students don’t take time to stop and think about the repercussions of taking the quick and easy way through college. Students also do not seem to realize that plagiarism is illegal. This means serious consequences if they are caught. Students caught using a term-paper mill essay could receive anything from a slap on the wrist to expulsion. Commonly students manage to slip by, and this could put many people in danger.
Paper mills are not cheap, in fact essays could run you about 20 dollars a page -depending on your source. I could never afford to buy an illegal term paper and still make my car and insurance payments, not to mention all my other expenses. Does this mean that mostly the wealthy upper-class students can afford to spend money (which is probably their parents) on these ‘quick and easy fix’ papers? And how would these parents (who probably worked hard to get wherever they are in their career) feel if they knew that their little ‘over-achiever’ is skating through school and is not really learning much of anything?

Below I have listed some of the going rates on term papers:

$4.95 per page
$16.00 per page
$14.95 – 1 year membership
$12.95 – $26.95 per page
$6.95 per page
$8.99 per page

I spent many hours looking through articles, essays, and countless web sites painstakingly trying to find information about the writers ‘behind the curtain’ of illegal essay distribution. However I had absolutely zero luck. The only source available to me was given to my by my written argument professor, Dr. Susan Stewart. This document by Abigail Witherspoon titled “This Pen For Hire,” is an excellent 11 page account of what this “academic call girl” encounters on a daily basis. The author begins by telling the reader about her “specialties” and how well she has learned to play to professors and especially teachers assistants’ interests. Abigail Witherspoon wraps us in a vivid detailing of her work environment, home, co-workers, and customers. She describes the majority of her customers as classy and sophisticated. These customers however, show anything but class. Their only purpose for being in that office is purchase a term paper written by someone else’s had. Students usually buy these papers with the sole intent of using its material as their own. This is illegal; however paper mill web sites casually state that these bought essays are to be used for research purposes only, and credit should be given to the paper mill site for its contribution.
How can this epidemic be solved? Can we save ourselves from a future of unethical slackers and uneducated leaders? Universities should be responsible for instructing students about plagiarism and what they can know to avoid it. Freshmen should be required to take an in-depth class to learn how to not only stay away from term paper mills and other forms of plagiarism but to recognize the threat paper mills have on the future of literature.
The bottom line is that this disease has the potential of drastically lowering the quality of creative written work. Term paper mills prevent students from thinking creatively for themselves and act as a mental crutch that could and will most likely last for the rest of their life.


Bates, Peggy; Fain, M. “Cheating 101: Internet Paper Mills.” Coastal Carolina University (2006): http://www.coastal.edu/library/presentations/mills2.html
Maramark, S., and M. B. Maline. “Academic dishonesty amound college students. Issues in education.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (1993) ERIC Document No. ED 360903.
Scanlon, P.M., and D.R. Neumann. “Internet plagiarism among college students.”
Journal of College Student Development 43(3)(2003): 374-85
Whitherspoon, Abigail. “This Pen For Hire.” Harper’s v290 (1995): 49-57

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