Why the fuss about the Essay Mills?
When a student hears about an essay mill, they see a “savior” coming to their rescue in their hour of need. On the contrary, when a college professor hears about an essay mill, they visualize an enemy eroding their efforts to instill knowledge in their students. Here, we are going to have an in-depth exploration of these mills so that at the end of the day, you will have clear information regarding these online writing services. Remain with this discourse to get to the gist of the matter.
What is an essay mill?
Essay mills, also commonly known as term paper mills, are online businesses that allow students to order for pieces of academic writing and can present them as their own original papers. Their clients give them specific instructions regarding their academic assignments such as the title, word count, styling, and deadlines. Other mills also offer already written assignments on various topics where students can purchase and use them on the spot. The big challenge with the latter option is that it is easy for instructors to detect the fraud.
Paper mills are not a creation of the 21st century. These mills have their roots in the 19th century when scholars used to share papers that they had done in collaboration with their academic “fraternity.” As time moved on, the “fraternity” attracted the attention of some enterprising minds who gave it a commercial angle. The move was so rapid that in the middle of the 20th century, we had commercial ghostwriters offering services such as term papers, theses, and dissertations.
The moral and legal status of essay mills: Is it a fraud or not?
Regarding the moral standing of these services, controversy still lingers with each side of the divide offering their own reasons. Many students who use these services say that they help to fill up for their inability to measure up to the expected standards of quality that their instructors expect from their assignments. Others say that they hire writers because their professors do not exhaust everything they should learn to write perfect essays. They claim that some of their lecturers are “multitaskers” who are always on the move from one college to another. When faced with these allegations, tutors claim that they have “holes” in their salaries, and hence, they need to supplement them by taking jobs at several colleges.
Also, lecturers dispute the argument that students who order for online papers don’t get enough teaching to receive excellent grades. They argue that the same students share lecture halls with other students who do not order for papers, and yet, they pass. This side of the divide maintains that fraud is fraud as long as the student did not make the effort to write their own papers.
Why do scholars pay for papers?
Well, this question has multiple answers to it because the reasons why different students order for papers online vary from one student to another. Here are some of the common reasons why scholars use essay mills to do their assignments:
- Lack of time:
- Fear of failure
- Life disruptions
Anyone living in this century knows too well that time is a scarce commodity. This reason applies mostly to scholars who have other full-time commitments such as parenting and employment. Most of them have challenges maintaining deadlines due to the overriding priorities attached to their employment and family issues. To them, hiring the services of an academic writer is their only way of beating strangulating deadlines.
We have many sincere students who would like to get the best grades possible. However, some of them are not as academically gifted as they would wish. When faced with an assignment, they know too well that they may not score as high as they would wish, and hence, they turn to essay mills. Additionally, they know the consequences of failing, especially when it involves repeating. Since most of them don’t want to waste the time and money to repeat classes, they opt to pay a few hundred dollars to advance to the next level or graduate.
Laziness is another reason for contracting the services of academic writers. With some students playing with their parents’ money and fearing to bring home bad grades, most of them resort to essay mills to get the much-needed help.
With life being unpredictable for every human being, some students find themselves caught up in the middle of such situations. Some encounter attacks of sickness on their bodies or their close family members, hence losing concentration. In such satiations, they only have the two options: to lag behind or seek external help.
Essay mills and plagiarism
It is difficult to establish who should own the copyrights to essay mill materials. The reason is that different essay mills have varying contractual agreements with their customers and writers. This variation makes it difficult to draw a universally applicable and accepted line that you can use to determine what kind of work is plagiarism or not. The reason is that the mills own the work as long as the student has not paid for it. When the scholar pays for it, they get the rights, without the mills saying so directly. However, by allowing their customers to submit the assignments as their own writing, the mills clearly imply that they have transferred the ownership rights to the student.
In this case, the copyrights of the papers keep moving from the writer who surrenders their copyrights to the mill at a fee, and then to the mill which transfers the same rights to the end user at another fee. Technically and speaking, the copyrights remain with the buyer. The only option the college can challenge these rights is by detecting that the essay was ghostwritten.
Possible punishment for students ordering for online papers
Currently, many countries do not have defined laws that they can impose on students who use essay mill services. The only punishment that learners can face can only be imposed by concerned learning institutions. Some of them may include suspension, expulsion, or a repeat of the paper. It is only early this year (2017) that the UK government came out strongly urging learning institutions to deal firmly with students using contracted services. But so far, we don’t have clear laws that stipulate penalties for the mills.
Benefits of using essay mills
Here are some of the benefits of using the services of an essay mill.
- Busy students get time to focus on other important priorities such as family and job duties
- Students can get higher grades and save themselves the time and cost that accompany repeating classes
- Students can get their assignments done on time
The cons of hiring essay mills
Here are some of the disadvantages that accompany the use of essay mills.
- Some instructors see it as cheating
- If an instructor detects it, they may mete regrettable consequences on the student
- Not all mills produce quality work as they may claim to do
- A student misses the opportunity to deal with their academic weaknesses and improve their writing skills
- Students don’t learn as much as they would have learnt if they had handled their assignments on their own
- You will spend money on the project
- You will still need to spend time following the mill’s writers to remain in touch with the progress of your project
Criteria for selecting a good provider
Since the Internet is filled with numerous companies offering professional academic writers, you need to pay special attention to several issues before settling for a particular mill. Here are some of the factors you need to consider before you choose a given service provider.
- The quality of the mill’s writers
- Promptness of delivery
The first factor you need to consider is the quality and qualifications of the company’s writers. The reason is that the quality of your writing is directly proportional to that of the writer. Make sure that the mill has writers who can handle assignments at post and undergraduate levels. This requirement is more important than their native origin—whether they are native or non-native English speakers. The reason is that being a native English speaker does not automatically make one a good writer or an authority in a particular academic field.
Before awarding an assignment to a company, ensure that they can deliver your project on time so that you don’t become stranded at the last minute.
Since you are dealing with a commercial entity, ensure that their pricing gives you value for your money. They should be affordable, but not necessarily the cheapest.
A good service provider should offer you original work. Make sure that their work does not contain plagiarism so that you don’t ruin your reputation as an intellectual thief.
Services that essay mills offer
Essay mills offer various academic writing services and products. Some of them are listed below as follows:
- Term papers
- Regular class essay assignments
- Research papers
The cost of using an essay mill
Since professional academic writing is a free market, the pricing varies from one service provider to another. On average, they start from $15 all the way to hundreds or even a few thousand of US$. Additionally, the prices these mills charge depends on several factors such as:
- The complexity of the project
- The urgency of the assignment(shorter deadlines cost more)
- The length of the project
The emergence and spread of essay mills remains a subject of heated ethical and commercial debate. This debate pitches students and mills on one side, while colleges take a contrary stand on the other side of the divide. So far, no regulation exists to criminalize their activities even though a few governments are raising an alarm over their use. When you need to use them, be careful so that you get value for your money and avoid the trap of plagiarism. With all the facts at your fingertips, you are not in a better position to know how to deal with them.