08/02/2017 07:28 GMT | Updated 08/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Is It Legal To Buy An Essay?

There is plenty of debate surrounding the question of paying for academic essay writing services. Students who find themselves overwhelmed by the pressures and workload of school are sometimes driven to seek out these services, seeing them as the only practical way out of a tough situation. But, there has been much arguing from the side of academic faculty, who contend that buying an essay is akin to plagiarism. Researcher and scientific assistant, Linda Mendez of Academized writing centre has done significant amounts of investigation into this topic and has compiled the data used as the foundation of this article.

It is estimated that upwards of 20,000 students utilise custom essay writing services on an annual basis. And, while students have argued that their reasons are purely workload driven, professors beg to differ. Having a professional essay writer compose their work may give those students a certain advantage over others, who have elected to do the work themselves. But, where anti-plagiarism systems make it easier to spot when things have been copied, there is no way of detecting whether or not an assignment has been purchased or written by the students themselves.

One major issue that faculty have brought to light is that, students who are financially able to purchase essays, may be buying their way to top grades, while those students who are not as financially well off struggle to achieve and maintain those same grades. It can tilt the scales in favor of students who can afford to pay for such services, rather than favoring those students who are working harder or have a better understanding of the topic.

As of now, buying an essay remains legal, although academics and lawmakers are working on changing that. The goal is to level the playing field for all students, regardless of financial standing. Students should be learning the material themselves, and demonstrating that knowledge through their academic writing. When they are able to pay a professional to write an essay for them, it not only negatively effects their learning, but it can delegitimise their educational pursuits overall.

One challenge in enforcing a potential law against buying essays or dissertations would be determining which students are actually doing this. Many online essay writing services operate outside of the country, making it difficult to track. When examining the profits of these companies, their soaring numbers show that there is a high demand for these services and that demand continues to grow.

If there is any hope in enforcing a law prohibiting this activity, there first needs to be an incentive for not participating in buying essays online. Students need to understand that it can and will be treated as an act of plagiarism if they are caught. But, more importantly, they need to be empowered to take their education into their own hands. The value of trying, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes needs to be embraced.

Yes, completing an education can be difficult for some. It's a time consuming and demanding pursuit, but it is also filled with an immeasurable satisfaction and sense of achievement. Students must learn that they cannot simply buy their way out of a difficult situation they find themselves in. Working hard, but also smart, is a learning curve that helps a student develop their time management skills and helps them stay disciplined and focused in order to reach their end goals.

In the end, it is the student who loses when they participate in these questionable activities. Although they may feel as though they're getting themselves through the difficulties of their workload, they are only setting themselves up for increased difficulties down the road. It is a temporary moment of relief, that may have a lasting impact on the way they deal with similar situations once their time in school is done and they enter the workforce.

Having the experience and ability to work through tough, stressful situations is a valuable skill to have, which can be applied to all types of situations throughout someone's life. Not only is this a great skill to learn, but in the process of writing their own essays, they'll also be learning and absorbing that information. When this work is contracted out to a professional, that learning opportunity just doesn't exist.

So, while it is currently not illegal to buy an essay online, the ethical question will always be there. A student needs to evaluate for themselves if this is the path they want to walk down, or if they want to put in the hard work, time and effort on their own - with the possibility of failure. In the end, taking their educational experience into their own hands is an incredible learning exploit that will prepare them for the reality of a real world filled with pressures, struggles and workloads that they will likely not be able to buy their way out of.