Plagiarism (Don’t do it!), the Internet, Admissions Essays, and EssayEdge

By Scott Johns + updated on March 9th, 2010

Every year at about this time, it seems like the issue of plagiarism in college and graduate school admissions essays comes out for another round of conversation. Hundreds if not thousands of candidates around the world try to cheat by submitting an essay they didn’t write. Plagiarism is a serious problem, and admissions officials are right to immediately reject candidates who don’t write their own essay.

If you are currently writing an admissions essay, and thinking about submitting a paragraph or an entire essay you didn’t write, then I feel fortunate that EssayEdge has your attention right now.

Don’t do it – don’t plagiarize!

First and foremost, plagiarizing a personal statement or statement of purpose is unethical. You are being asked to submit your own work, not someone else’s. Take the time to write a magnificent essay – tell a story so compelling that the admissions committee can’t turn you away. That’s a great technique to help you get into the program of your choice.

Right now, some of you may be thinking, “That’s ridiculous! Copying someone else’s magnificent writing is the easiest way.” You need to understand that you are wrong. The technology to scour the entire internet to find a match for your all or part of your essay is out there now. Colleges and universities are paying money to use software designed for this very purpose. You will be caught.

Some of you see the free sample essays provided at and on other sites and think, “I can just copy this, stick in the name of my home town and other details, and I’m done.” If this is what you’re thinking, I’d like for you to understand three things:

  1. EssayEdge doesn’t provide free sample essays because we want you to use them for yourself. We provide them to help inspire you to create your own essays. At EssayEdge, we take our ethical standards very seriously. There isn’t one “right” way to write an admissions essay; your essay needs to be in your own voice, and tell your story in a unique and memorable way.
  2. Admissions officers will compare your admissions essay to every other sample of your writing they can get their hands on. They read thousands upon thousands of essays per year, so they are expert at comparing writing styles and figuring out if your admissions essay was written by you or not.
  3. Admissions officers have all heard of EssayEdge. They know that we offer free samples, and they know to check your essays against what we have on the site. They’re also aware of all the other places where sample essays are available on the net.

You put your best foot forward with the admissions committee by telling your story in an amazing way. There’s no one right way to write your essay – but there is one wrong way to do it. If you plagiarize, you’re going to get caught.

Scott Johns is the manager of the EssayEdge business for Peterson’s, and can be reached at

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