Kira Burton | Staff Writer | [email protected]
Photo Credit: Valerie Cheatham
Plagiarism is a term students hear often enough, but many students have a hard time avoiding it and don’t understand the penalties of using someone else’s work. Plagiarism can be as simple as turning in something you didn’t write, or as minute as improperly attributing a quote in your essay.
As outlined by the university’s plagiarism policy, if a student turns in work that reflects ‘intentional plagiarism’, the work will receive a failing grade and the student will fail the course. A written summary of the infraction will be also be submitted to the office of the dean of student services for future records.
There are resources available on campus to prevent plagiarism and improve overall writing quality. The Writing Lab is located on the second floor of the library and offers appointment-based editing help for students. However, some argue that the appointments may not be long enough for students who seek a more in-depth review.
“There are a lot of factors that go into whether there is enough time, I think it depends on the individual assignment that they are working on,” Writing Center Director Leigh Ann Copas said. “I think I would always argue that we could always provide more time if we had more resources to do it. But overall we feel fairly successful.”
Most students don’t purposely plagiarize their papers, but all students need to learn how to avoid it. Copas said it isn’t common that students turn in essays that are entirely plagiarized, but she often sees sources that are not cited correctly.
“The key to avoiding plagiarism is correct citations. When students come here, often they’re learning how to cite correctly,” Writing Lab Editor Tierra Healy said. “Learn what needs to be cited and what doesn’t need to be cited, and that can help you avoid plagiarism.
Another way students can improve their writing and avoid plagiarism is using online editing services. Hello Essay is a startup that connects users to thousands of qualified editors and allows them to review essays and even resumes for a flat rate.
“Hello Essay was created to offer writing and ESL centers a safe place to send students who require assistance beyond the center’s availability who otherwise might have plagiarized or sought out unethical help,” CEO and founder Zack Homer said. “It was established to provide students with an honest, legitimate, and useful tool.”
The cost of using Hello Essay to find an editor ranges from $40 to $100, depending on the type of document that is being reviewed and how quickly you would like your edits back.
“We do our best to keep our pricing as low as possible for students, while employing top-notch professionals. In addition, we frequently offer coupons and discounts,” Homer said.
Rather than choosing to risk your paper of falling in line with plagiarism due to an unattributed quote, students should seek counsel from peer-reviewing programs such as the writing center or online services.