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Some websites provide access to sample essays on a particular subject or actual essays that were written for a particular class in response to a particular prompt. There are many reasons that accessing and providing these essays is unethical and contrary to colleges’ academic honesty policies:
- Students can only access the essays provided on the website’s platform for free if they provide essays and other work that they have completed for past classes. If a student provides access to an essay they have written without the instructor’s knowledge, this means that other students in that instructor’s class may use the essay. It is against LPC’s policy for students to aid others in cheating or plagiarism.
- For their part, the students who use the essay in crafting their own are also cheating, because they are getting help on the essay assignment without their instructor’s knowledge from a source the instructor has not approved.
- In addition, students who use the essay are plagiarizing because they are unable to cite the work of the student whose work they are using. Putting the wording in quotation marks is not sufficient, and changing the wording serves to hide the plagiarism, not help the student avoid it.
- Even if the identities of the students uploading their work are not hidden, the student has a disincentive to cite them because it would then be obvious that the student is cheating.
- Finally, the student who uploads their own work to these websites is giving away the copyright to their work. As it will usually say in fine print, the website can then use the student’s work however it pleases.
Only use model essays for inspiration under the supervision of your instructor, who will often provide model essays, or a trained university writing center tutor. Keep in mind also that the quality of “model” essays found on these websites may not be high—they are not vetted by the website.