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There is a moral element to essay websites - they are wrong

14th April 2008

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The cost of a 10,000 word, first class dissertation from is £2,400. With the rumbling approach of final exams reverberating in the ears of many students, it is unsurprising that many might consider paying someone to absolve them of any shred of decency they might have.

Let us be perfectly clear - buying essays is the cardinal sin of academic life.

At least those who copy someone else's work and pass it off as their own knowingly run the risk of being caught. Anyone handing in work written by someone at (or any similar company) is less likely to be caught because it's completely original work - it's just not their own. The fact hundreds of students nation-wide have used this site alone is absolutely appalling and thoroughly infuriating.

The charming faux-altruism of the website, however, is deserving of an even greater level of contempt. "Are you paralysed under a pile of never ending essays and coursework? Are you blinded by nothing but deadlines with no guarantee of success in sight? Is your chance of a good degree vanishing under your very eyes?" the homepage asks. How kind of them to offer to relieve the load.

"Working harder is not the answer", roars one of the website's sub-headings.

The friendly and attractive girl on the information video - clearly representing the wholesome image aims to convey - offers more constructive advice. "All your work is yours and yours alone" she smiles sweetly, before reminding the viewer that it isn't really their work and should not be handed in under the customer's name. Students are advised to use the essays as inspiration, and then offered a £1,000 guarantee against plagiarism. Just in case!

The university which I attend, Bristol University, to their credit, promise a fire and brimstone approach to such shocking breaches of trust, but the sad fact is that students get away with it. The university itself admits that it is not aware of any such cases, but suggests that the figures are not overly reliable anyway.

Whether they are or not, the fact remains that students buy essays, and those students often do, well, far better than they would have done otherwise. So whilst the pragmatic side of the issue might be difficult to question, there is a moral dimension which is sure to make any honest student furious that such people can coast through intellectual mediocrity - or worse, unabashed laziness - and still gain a good degree. Family tragedies or financial worries aside, it is difficult to believe that anyone who has managed to get as far as Bristol University wouldn't have the capacity to produce something of at least a passing grade.

We all procrastinate. Sometimes the most enthralling topic can be reduced to concentrated drivel, but there is absolutely no excuse - none whatsoever - for such barefaced exploitation of the good faith of academics, employers and fellow students. Cheating is cheating, and those who do should feel thoroughly ashamed.

Thankfully, don't do articles. This one would have cost £180.

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