Can A Professor Actually Identify An Essay Purchased Online? We Bought One to Find Out.

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Writing academic papers sucks.  Writing academic papers on a deadline when you realize you have 3 papers due in a week, not enough time to do them, and there’s beer to be had because Tuesday is also Tim’s birthday, well, that sucks even more.

Enter for-purchase essay websites. They promise good grades in exchange for money. But like everything else that litters the dark corners of the internet, you don’t really know what you’re getting until you pay for it, so The Black Sheep decided to do that for you.

We set out with a simple mission: If we gave the same 5-page assignment with a bibliography to both a college senior and a for-hire essay company, would a professor be able to identify which is the fake? And even if they couldn’t, would the paid-for essay be worth it—would it get a respectable grade?

The Participants:

For the experiment, we worked with EssayPro. EssayPro is an online bidding service that pairs in-need college students with freelance writers to knock out essays in a timely manner. A writer hired through EssayPro then composes the essay based on the student’s needs and turns it around by a specific deadline at about $9 per page.

For a student-written essay, we used one of our very own and very special The Black Sheep writers. Rachel recently graduated with a degree in journalism, so, like, we didn’t get one of those moron chemists who don’t know how to write words good or anything.

As for the professor, we reached out to a former instructor at a large state university who currently edits books for a major university press. Given her academic history and her current role as an editor, if anyone would be able to figure out which article was the purchased paper, it would be her.

If you’re interested, you can find the essays here and here. You can also see the prompt here.

So, could the professor identify the paper purchased from EssayPro?:

NO.

You’re in the clear for using EssayPro for paper purchasing. In fact, thinking that our college student had produced a very worthwhile piece, the professor stated:

“[The purchased paper] was, I am pretty sure, written by a pretty good student scholar who demonstrated a devotion to the actual (very specific) assignment and had a consistent writing style throughout the essay–even in some of his or her weaknesses. There wasn’t any really disjointed material, no feeling of a duct-taped effort. And the citations were so so so good–all from pointedly relevant sources for this particular topic.”

And remember, this is someone who has dealt with plagiarism before. Given some shaky editing, she was certain that Rachel’s paper was the fake:

“The [paper written by a college student] is the purchased paper…My guess is that a student bought a pretty good paper… and literally inserted three paragraphs right before the concluding paragraph–and then only bothered with a cursory mix-in of the topic in the introductory paragraph and then again (in a minor way) in the concluding paragraph.”

All essay services aren’t the same, and from someone who has encountered the issue before, it’s clear EssayPro is the way to on the purchased paper market. Who shouldn’t you use? Well, our professor also claimed that “if I had to guess, it was from PaperStore, file 99sherm.wps (but I ain’t buying it to find out).”

So, uh…don’t buy your essays from PaperStore, people.

What grade would the EssayPro paper receive?:

Even though the professor was unable to identify the paper purchased from EssayPro, the service would still be pointless if you just paid $100 for a paper that’d get you a D. And, beyond meeting deadlines, EssayPro boasts, “over a 90% satisfaction rating.

The paper written by Rachel was as disappointing as a Sunday morning hangover, with the professor noting, “I’d have graded the [paper written by a college student] with a D for simply not following the assignment, which I made crystal clear, I think–probably overly so for this level of student.”

On the other hand, EssayPro lived up to their promise of quality work. The professor claims, briefly:

“I’d have graded the [purchased paper] an A- for following the assignment, for a clear and consistent voice, for organized thought, concrete details I’d asked for, etc. The ‘minus’ was just a little carelessness with prose, such as repeated words or not the best choice of terms, and a handful of syntax/grammar issues that are not egregious. If this were a freshman paper, A+. But by, say, mid-junior year, humanities students ought to be able to clean out the little stuff in their writing.”

Our professor also noted, “If a person needs an ironclad A or B paper that is nearly impossible to impugn, then whatever source you used is the one every student ought to use.”

And that’s the convincing argument. Sure, a broke college student dropping a hundred bucks on a term paper may seem like a lot—and it is. You might have to take a few Fridays off. But you know what else is expensive? Another semester of college.

Unless, of course, daddy’s paying for it.

Interested in EssayPro? Find more info here.