If you’re a uni student, there is no doubt that you’ve come across essay writing services at some point. They’re all over the internet! In fact, I’ve even been approached more than once by the people behind some of those services, asking me to promote their work on my writing blog or forum.
They can be pretty tempting, right? You wouldn’t be alone if you felt that way. There have been times when I’ve been sitting in the middle of a pile of library books, with jitters from my twelfth cup of tea and lack of sleep, desperately trying to pad out my essay to hit the word count. You can bet that I briefly considered hiring someone to do the work for me then. But is it worth it?
No. The few days of relaxation that you get from pushing your essay responsibilities onto someone else aren’t worth it. No matter how good they make these services sound in their ads, please don’t fall for the allure. The chances are that you’ll just end up with a considerably lighter pocket and a sour mood.
Still not convinced? Well, here are the top reasons why you should never use essay writing services and what you can do to make essays easier for you instead.
Essay Writing Services are Against University Policy
Let’s be clear. The most important reason why you shouldn’t use essay writing services is that your uni doesn’t want you to. Unis hate them. In fact, they hate them so much that they have made them against university policy.
When you submit your essay, the chances are that you’ll need to assure your uni that you are submitting your own work. Usually, they will ask you to fill out a form, sign a document or tick a box on your online submission. At my uni, they had a Declaration of Originality that they expected you to fill in and sign with every essay.
It’s not only that! The use of essay writing services is explicitly referenced with other kinds of plagiarism and academic misconduct on the Student Code of Conduct that we are all expected to abide by.
I have been on a lot of uni websites to see what they say about essay writing services. The answers are pretty bleak: there are severe punishments for those who get someone to write their essay for them. If they find out, you could get a zero on that course, or even be kicked out of university.
That’s right. They could expel you if you use an essay writing service. All of that time, energy and money that you spent on your degree up until now would go to waste. Is it really worth putting your future at risk for a bit of laziness?
Yes. Laziness is the only reason why you’d use these services. If you have a medical issue, a family emergency or a mental health problem, your uni will do all that it can to help you. So, there’s no need to cheat.
They are Misleading to Unis and Employers
There is a really good reason why your uni doesn’t want you to get someone else to write your essay for you, though. It’s not about wanting to make your life harder or to force you to study when you just want to relax. In fact, in my experience, I’d say that unis are actually on your side. The problem is that they care about authenticity.
The whole point of uni is to grade your work. They want to see what you can do so that they can give you suggestions and feedback. That way, once you (hopefully) leave with your degree, you’ll have the knowledge and skills that you need to get a job in your field of study. They can’t do that if you aren’t submitting your own work because you aren’t showing them how much you know the topic.
If you pay someone to do your work for you, your degree is meaningless. After all, employers don’t just look for graduates to narrow down applications. They look at your history of education so that they know if you have what it takes to work for them. For example, a publishing house will look for English graduates to make sure that their workforce can edit and proofread books. They are checking that you can handle what they expect from you
That lovely certificate that you get at the end of the course is proof that you can work in a related field. It’s not the main achievement; your education is. If you buy your essays, you will be misleading your university about what you can do. Then, your future employer might expect you to be able to know way more about your field than you learnt in class.
They Are are a Waste of Money
Essay writing services cost a hell of a lot – especially for a broke student.
This is especially true if you find a service where they actually use professionals. The websites for these companies claim that they hire people with an MA or a PhD to write the essays, right? Well, how much would you expect to be paid if you had that much education under your belt? I’d ask for quite a bit!
There are usually real people doing the writing here. It should take them hours and hours to research your topic, write a good piece of work and then proofread it. Even if they’re working for a relatively low amount like £10 per hour, that’s going to add up very quickly. Are they really going to charge only that much if they’re a professional, though? That’s highly unlikely. It’s probably going to be £20-£50 an hour instead!
For the most part, you’ll pay for quality. People who write great essays aren’t going to sell their services for cheap!
Then there’s the fact that you could become dependent on these services. Courses are usually more lenient about essay quality at the start. Things get more and more complicated as time goes on. So, if you use writing services early on, you won’t have the chance to use your tutor’s guidance to improve. Then, you could get left behind! What do you do then? Turn to more writing services, of course!
That’s going to rack up a huge bill very quickly. Frankly, there are better things you could be spending your money on – like a good guide to writing essays! Plus, you could spend £5 a month here on Shani’s Tutoring and get lots of tips and tricks on how to write like a pro! That’s much cheaper than cheating!
You Could Get Scammed
Lots of these essay writing services will just straight-up scam you. They will take your money and disappear, never to be heard from again. Even if you’re quite savvy, there are plenty of ways that they can trick you. For example, they might have a similar name to a real, legit service out there. It could be so close that you don’t even notice – like the difference between a .com and .co website.
Most of the time, though, you will get an essay. The scam comes from how they advertise their services, their refund policy and the way they protect themselves from repercussion.
A former uni student named Dan Burns wrote all about his experiences with essay writing services when he was a student. You should check it out! He paid over £60 for a lousy essay that barely got him a pass. In fact, they gave him an ok-ish history essay (minus the grammar and typos) to submit for his literature course! That means very few quotes or examples from the texts. No subject terminology whatsoever. I teach my GCSE students better than that! How could anyone expect a good grade for that at uni?
The worst part of his story was his attempt to get his money back when the essay wasn’t up to scratch. The essay wasn’t a literature essay. His tutor said it was bad. Surely he’d be able to get his money back, right? Wrong. They basically washed their hands of him, saying that they’d warned him that they couldn’t assure a good mark. No money back for him!
So, a scam might not just be running off with your money. It could be that they’ve built their policies to make sure that you’re stuck with a bad essay and you can’t do anything to change that.
You Can Never Be Sure with Essay Writing Services
There are so many reasons why you can never be sure about hiring an essay writing service.
First of all, you don’t know if the quality of the essay is going to be good. This is especially true if you hire a writing service in the final days of your essay deadline. Once they write it, your options are limited. You can get a new, rushed essay – sometimes for even more money. Or, you can rewrite it yourself. That defeats the whole point of the service, though, right?
Then there’s the fact that you don’t know if the writer will use original content or if they’ll just plagiarise from another source. After all, they have very short deadlines and loads of essays to write! It isn’t going to affect them if they copy and paste from another source. They aren’t the ones who will get in trouble if the uni finds out. You are.
While there are steps that you can take to reduce your essay’s similarity to other work, they aren’t perfect. Grammarly can be an amazing way to find plagiarism online. When it comes down to it, though, do you think many students use its similarity checker? I can tell you right now that it doesn’t even occur to most. Even then, most schools and unis use software such as TurniItIn, which has a huge database made up of so much more writing.
Most importantly, though, is the fact that you don’t know if you will be caught. You might get away with it, but the chances are slim. Tutors and professors aren’t stupid. They’ve seen so many students just like you. They know what to look out for. Do you really want that uncertainty around something as important as your degree?
They Defeat the Purpose of Studying at University
I’ve mentioned this quite a lot so far, but let’s lay it out straight: there’s no point in going to uni if you’re just going to get someone else to do the work for you.
You are spending your time, money and energy to get a degree. Your essays are part of that! If you take them seriously, you can develop some great skills that will make you so much more employable!
Don’t let someone else take away your chance to build up some great skills that will make it easier for you to find a job. Essay writing isn’t just about assessing how much you know about the topic. There are so many other things that you can talk about in job interviews if you master the art of a great essay.
As a history graduate, I know this first hand. People were confused about how a history degree would help me to find a job in the real world. How would it be relevant? What could I give to my workplace? Well, there was so much that I could write in my CVs (resumes) and personal statements, thanks to writing so many essays. Here are some of the skills I improved on during my degree:
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- Formulating arguments.
- Reading comprehension.
- Evaluating other people’s arguments.
- Using facts and figures to come to logical conclusions.
- Time management.
- Project planning.
These are all things that most essay subjects give you. They are also things that loads of businesses are looking for! You’ve just got to sell yourself properly
You can’t boast about those skills if you use essay writing services.
Using Essay Writing Services is Cheating and Morally Wrong
I was going to put this reason first because it is probably the most obvious one. Let’s face it, though. Not everyone is going to be convinced by morals, and that’s fine! I had much better reasons to convince you not to touch these services – reasons that have a clear, visible impact on your life.
The fact that it’s wrong is still the truth, though.
There are so many people who are out there doing their best to pass their classes. They can’t afford to pay someone else to do their work for them. They show their tutors some real work that they actually made and get the benefits from it. The fact that they provide their own work means they can learn, get feedback and grow.
If you use essay writing services, you are cheating them, your uni and yourself. You didn’t do the work, so you don’t deserve the grade. You can’t truly say that you’ve learnt from your time in education if you’re not working for your grades. Those that try hard deserve a better grade than those who cheat and do nothing. You shouldn’t get good grades for being lazy. Plus, you shouldn’t get a free pass just because you’re rich enough to cheat and waste your money on nonsense.
If everyone with money just bought their grades, workplaces would be very bad places to be. You’d have lots of people who bought their way to where they are and don’t have the skills or know-how to do their job well. Don’t be part of that. It’s wrong.
What You Should Do Instead
But writing essays is hard, right? At uni, you don’t get a lot of help to know how to do them well. It’s not like you can submit a few drafts for your teacher to look at before you give them the real thing. Usually, you get one shot.
So, I don’t blame you if you feel frustrated by this. You want to get a good grade, but how are you supposed to do that without submitting work first?
There are lots of ways for you to make essay writing easier without the need to resort to one of those scam services. Sure, it takes more hard work and dedication. However, it will be worth it in the long run. Here are some of the best ways to do that.
Discuss the Essay With Your Tutor
Your first option should always be to discuss the essay with your course tutor. After all, it is their job to help you to make the most out of your course. They are usually very willing to help you. So, reach out to them! They can’t give feedback for your essay before the due date. However, they will usually be able to give you advice on:
- Where you can look for sources.
- How you can improve.
- If you are going in the right direction with your plan.
- Legitimate essay help services at your university.
- Essay extensions for when you think you’re going to miss your deadline.
- Mental health and disability services at the uni that could help you.
- Services for when English isn’t your first language.
Frankly, a discussion with your tutor is going to be much more useful than an essay writing service in the long run.
If you’re lucky and the uni allows, you might be able to get a tutor to look at a paragraph or plan and give you some informal advice. If they can’t do that, they’re not going to bite your head off for asking! It’s their job to tell you how much they can help, so speak to them and see!
Most tutors and lecturers have office hours where you can take your work and go to see them. Make the most out of this! They do it to help you!
Look for Example Essays
When I was writing my dissertation, one of the most valuable things for me was the example papers from past students. The uni had a whole load of them on the history dissertation Moodle that I could have a look at. They helped me to grasp the structure and referencing style. Plus, I could look at the different grades and figure out what made the high-mark texts the best!
If you’re lucky, your uni might have a stock of example essays for you to look at. They might already be on your student portal (mine was Moodle). Or, your course tutor could have a few up his sleeves to help you to understand. There is really no harm in asking.
You might even be able to ask your course tutor to guide you through the sample work and explain what makes it so good.
Never copy from any essay. You need to do your own piece of work! Copying from someone else’s essay counts as plagiarism, just like essay writing services do.
Attend Essay Writing Classes
Most universities offer some sort of essay writing class or resource for you to check out. A good number of them have actual lectures or seminars that you can go to on campus or through a Zoom link. Make sure to ask about them! There is a bunch of material for you to check out online, too, though. Here are a few of the many examples:
- Manchester University’s Phrase Bank is an online guide to writing academic work.
- For GU students, Glasgow offers an essay-writing test, which they will then use to recommend you classes if you need them.
- Middlesex offers essay writing workshops – and you can look at the slides online!
- OpenLearn’s free Essay and Report Writing course is great!
- Oxford University has a whole big doc full of info on how to write a good essay.
The best thing about going to your uni for help is that they can get you ready for the specific type of essay and referencing style that they expect you to use. The referencing style will depend on what uni you’re at, so make sure you have a check!
If you still need some help, I am always offering essay writing advice! Reach out to me for a one-to-one lesson and watch out for my courses to come.
Ask Friends and Family to Read Through Your Work
The reason you can’t use an essay writing service is that you aren’t allowed to let someone else do the work for you. You can’t let someone else write the words down and then pass their work off as your own. It’s not allowed. They can’t add, remove or change a single word in your work. That’s your job. But that doesn’t mean they can’t read the work for you and tell you what they thought!
So, ask your friends and family to read through your work if you’re unsure. Let them give you verbal feedback separate from the place where you’re actually writing the essay. Take notes as they speak and use those to add to your essay later on.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if your friends and family aren’t specialists in your chosen field. They can still be a huge help to you. You just need to know what questions to ask them! For example:
- Does this make sense?
- Is there anything in my essay that you don’t understand?
- Can you see any typos or spelling errors?
- Is my writing formal enough?
- Did I connect these points well enough?
- Does my essay flow from one point to another well?
- Is there a better word for this?
- Do I repeat myself too much?
These are things that anyone can see. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about Queen Elizabeth I or the food chain. People can tell if you just jump from one point to another with no link, or if you accidentally type a word wrong. So, people who don’t understand the topic can be a great help to you. In fact, they can add value that your course friends might not: if they get what you want to say, it must be easy to understand!
Hire a Private Tutor to Help You
As a private tutor, one of the jobs I spend a lot of time on is helping students with their essays. This could be uni essays, A-level coursework or anything else! It makes no difference to me!
I’ve helped students in subjects that aren’t my strong spot, too. In my first year as a tutor, I helped a close friend to get a great grade on an essay for her Business degree! A private tutor who teaches English can help you, no matter the subject.
If in doubt about your essay, consider hiring a private tutor to help. We won’t touch the words on the page or do the essay for you like a writing service might. However, we can act as a great sounding board and help you to check for mistakes!
When a student comes to me with essay woes, I do a few things:
- Discuss the point that they want to make.
- Sort through the evidence they have and help them to find holes in their research.
- Discuss a plan for how the essay should go.
- Tell them how to cut the waffle and make their work more concise.
- Give them advice on tone and great vocab to use.
- Advise them on how to make sure that the paragraphs link up well.
- Do a small check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
This usually takes 1-2 hours to get through, which is over £20 cheaper than the bad, bad essay Dan Burns bought! I might not touch or change your work, but a session with me or a tutor like me can prepare you for uni in the best way: you build your skills.
Consider Proofreading Services For Your Essay Instead
If you’ve written the essay and SPaG isn’t your strong point, why not hire a proofreading service instead? This will go more in-depth than the usual essay advice sessions I offer and the proofreader will go through your work closely to see if it all makes sense.
This is great for the essays that are worth a great chunk of your final mark – such as a dissertation or piece of coursework. You get a fresh pair of eyes on your piece of work. That’s great because it can be super hard to see typos and errors in a piece of work when you’ve stared at it for a long time. You tend to just correct it in your head.
I only have two big warnings for you if you choose to go down this path:
One, make sure to check with your uni if you’re allowed to use proofreading services. Most unis allow you to use them, but they have strict rules on what they are and aren’t allowed to do. Also, check with your course convenor, too. They might have a piece of work here and there that they won’t allow you to use a proofreader for. You don’t want to get caught out like that!
Two, get a proofreader who leaves comments and does not actually touch or change the content of the work. No one is allowed to change the work but you! Yes, that means more work for you, as you’ll have to go and change things that they suggest. In the long run, though, it keeps you on the right side of uni policies.
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