Image may contain: Bench, Worker, Person, People, Human

Universities call for ban on essay writing services

You mean I might actually have to write one myself?

More than 40 universities have called for a ban on essay mill companies, where students can pay to have their assignments written for them.

Letters written by more than 40 university bosses say that the providers of these cheating services should be targeted, rather than the students themselves.

Some of the more bespoke services students can pay for promise to be undetectable by anti plagiarism software – which universities say undermine the work by fair and honest students.

Six months ago, The Tab investigated essay mill services and their effectiveness. Writer Dan Burns paid £65 to have an essay written for him to see if it would fool his lecturer.

Image may contain: Paper, Reading, Person, People, Human

Dan and his essay – written by an essay mill service

He found a company called Essay Writing Lab to write his 1000 word draft for a deadline that was 12 days away.

He gave a deadline of ten days and paid extra for 24/7 writer support, costing a grand total of £64.63.

Speaking to the BBC, Dan said: "The service was quite professional. It wasn't some kind of dark website.

"You could get undergraduate essays, postgraduate essays. You could get whole dissertations. [There were] different services where you could actually talk to the person who was writing your essay.

"This person told me I would be getting a high quality product written by masters students, PhD students, and he was essentially telling me no-one would know I'd used a fake essay writing website and that it would get me this 2:1, First kind of level, and I would have to put no work in.

"The essay was terrible. I took it to my lecturer and he kind of skim read it and said, 'Well, it wouldn't get any more than a 2:2'. But the more we looked into it and the more we read it and the way we looked at the grammar it would barely scrape a Third really… There were just really basic sentences".

So maybe even if essay mill services do get banned, it won't be too much of a loss.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

1) I paid someone online to write my essay for me, but would it fool my lecturer?

2) I used an online tutor to help me with my essay and got a 2:1

3) If you don’t write essays last minute, you’re missing the point of uni