The Truth of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a common taboo in the world of both students and professionals. As soon as we were taught how to formulate a paragraph and structure an essay, we were taught the golden rule of literature: Use only your own words and if you feel so inspired by the written work of others use quotations and cite your source. However, plagiarism is still a frowned on common occurrence frustrating teachers, professors, administrators, and business leaders globally.

Why is this still an issue, especially for brilliant students who know better? Plagiarism remains a constant problem because we are not talking about it enough and because we as an academic society have placed little emphasis on the different forms of plagiarism. All of the forms of plagiarism are ethically wrong and all of them share equally harsh consequences.

Forms of Plagiarism:

You hired a “coach”

Perhaps you hired a college admission or essay coach. Their fine print may not have stated, “we will write your essay for you”, but unfortunately too often that is the service ultimately being provided. It is truly a disgrace to the industry. If a “coach” writes all or even some of your essay that is a form of plagiarism. Yes, even if the original writer gives you permission to use his or her words it is still plagiarism. It is still wrong! Your “coach” gave you a disservice and you missed the chance to improve your writing skills and learn from a seasoned professional.

You resubmitted old work

It is rare that a teacher or professor will coincidentally give you the exact essay topic as another assignment you have already completed but it happens. In honor of the saying, work smarter not harder, it seems perfectly logical to simply re-submit your own work. Although you are the original author and it is a beautifully written piece it is still a form of plagiarism. It is considered self-plagiarism and is academic fraud.

Traditional plagiarism:

Traditional plagiarism has three common forms:

Using quotations without properly citing your source
Incorrectly or incompletely paraphrasing
Deliberate copy and pasting of someone else’s  exact words

The above offenses are not usually innocent mistakes but deliberate acts of carelessness. All three of these common forms of plagiarism demonstrate a poor work ethic.

Strong writing is not everyone’s talent but there are certainly tools and options available to help you survive your college admissions process and your academic career without putting your reputation and future on the line by committing academic fraud.   

Avoiding Plagiarism:

Hire a coach

Whether you need help with your admissions process or require long-term essay help a true, passionate, and skilled coach or tutor is definitely useful. A morally right coach will never do the work for you. A skilled coach will help you overcome your writing weaknesses and identify your strengths. It is possible that you have thoughtful content inside of you and struggle to organize your thoughts on paper. A coach will help you get organized and teach you how to successfully structure your thoughts.

Use your own previous outline

If you are given a familiar assignment that you nailed once before, take a peek at your archives! Don’t submit the same work but DO examine the flow and outline you used that made it such a successful piece. You can use some of the key winning elements and ask yourself the following:

– How can I explore this point further?
– How can I write a new piece that includes these similar topics but is tailored more to my current assignment?

There is nothing wrong with being inspired by your own work. Use it as a brainstorm to create something new!

Learn how to paraphrase

Paraphrasing is not rearranging words or simply adding adjectives. Too often students remove or add a word or two to a sentence and consider it paraphrased. Paraphrasing is a summary of what you read in your own very words. It is natural and smart to read something interesting and to decide that it is a useful component to your work. Do it right. Summarize the points that matter most to you, using your own verbiage and style of writing, completely make it your own.


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