Last Updated: Oct 6, 2020
It's 2:00 am and you're exhausted. Your bed sings the siren song of slumber, but you have a five-page essay due soon. You're currently two pages in, and you're stuck. You wish someone would just write it for you. Sound familiar?
When it comes time to turn in a college paper, some students make the unfortunate choice of paying an essay writing service instead of penning their own work. Why? Students often turn to essay writing services when they’re overwhelmed by all their work and feel like they can’t do it alone. It’s common for some students to procrastinate until the last minute and see a paid service as an easy way out. Alternatively, other students may feel as if their writing skills are not strong enough for college-level essays.
If you’re either kind of student, you’re not alone—but cheating is never the answer. Before you even consider using an essay writing service for a paper instead of doing it yourself, stop and think: is one assignment worth risking your entire academic career? Even if you don’t score the highest grade for it, doing your own work is always the better option. Here's why you should never use an essay writing service to help you tackle your college essays.
You could get expelled
Your college education is expensive—so why take chances with it? It costs nearly $20,000 for tuition at many four-year public universities. If you didn’t receive scholarships or grants, you may be taking out student loans to cover the cost. The fact is you need to repay those funds whether or not you graduate, so you’re literally wasting money if you get kicked out of school for breaking academic policies.
Penalties for cheating vary from institution to institution, but most colleges reserve the right to expel students. You may think cheating is no big deal, but it demonstrates dishonesty. Not putting effort into your classes is also unfair to the students who genuinely want to do the work or anyone who couldn’t get a seat in the class because it was full.
You could get scammed
There's no professional association for college essay writing service providers. If the person or company you hire to write your paper doesn't complete the work to your satisfaction, you may be out of luck and stuck with a bad grade. Alternatively, any service could just take your money and disappear, leaving you down some cash and without a paper. Isn’t it better to trust yourself to do the work? Always.
Your professor will be able to tell
Even if your professor can't prove that you didn't write your paper, it's pretty easy to tell if an essay’s quality isn't on par with what you've submitted in class before or if it’s written in a voice that doesn't sound like yours. It's better to talk to your professor if you're struggling because they’ll appreciate your honest attempts to master the material. Besides, you'll look foolish if you can't answer a question in class about the paper you recently earned an A on.
You don't learn the material
Your professors don't assign essays to torture you—they genuinely don't! Research indicates that the act of writing helps solidify knowledge in your mind. You also integrate what you've learned into your schema, making the material meaningful to you. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t ask a friend or find a tutor for extra help if you’re having a hard time writing a paper. Most schools even have writing centers on campus dedicated to helping students improve this skill! As long as you're actively involved in the writing of your essay, you’ll get the full intended educational benefits that come with the process.
You make it harder on yourself next time
Your brain and your essay writing ability are both muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become. By avoiding one essay now, you’ll make the next one more challenging—and that’s a big problem, because you’ll need to write many more papers in your college career. Instead of taking the dishonest route, build your writing skills by breaking your paper into sections and outlining ahead of time. Writing is just as much about the process as it is about the finished paper, and the more often you repeat the steps, the easier it will be to write your next essay.
Should you use a college essay writing service? No!
If you need writing help, don't hire a service to write your paper for you, as there are plenty of other options. Here are some free, honest ways to find assistance writing your college papers:
- Get a tutor: Seek out available tutoring services from professors or fellow students.
- Take advantage of campus support: Visit your college writing center for outlining and proofreading assistance.
- Don’t procrastinate: Make a plan for your paper and start working on it well in advance of the due date. This way, you can work on it in sections and have time for multiple drafts.
- Review before writing: Before you begin to write, make sure you have a clear thesis and full outline, which will make actually writing the paper more simple. Additionally, ask your professor to review your outline beforehand so you can get early feedback or ideas and make any adjustments accordingly before you write.
- Ask for feedback: Ask your professors how you can improve after you’ve received a grade for your essay to identify areas to work on in your personal writing goals. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.
Remember, there’s always a way to improve your writing when it comes to college essays—and the sense of accomplishment is so much better when you do your own work.
Get more advice on how to ace your classes and essays in our Majors and Academics section.