Paying Someone to Do Your Homework? You Might Not Like the Results

At the very least, college should be a place where work isn't a total drag. The statistics suggest otherwise.
09/18/2014 09:34 am ET Updated Nov 18, 2014

This morning, a friend confided in me that he likes "every part of being in college except for the work part." Although I remember procrastinating in college, I was shocked. Isn't college exactly when you're supposed to be interested in assignments? College is where students have complete control over not only their area of study but also where and how they're going to study it (Do the ethics match their own? What kind of professors are in said department?). At the very least, college should be a place where work isn't a total drag. The statistics suggest otherwise.

SiteJabber is a National Science Foundation-funded consumer protection service, which means it hosts reviews of stuff to help prevent online consumers from getting entangled in scams. Because the whole platform is based on ethics, when the folks behind the site saw that plagiarism was one of the services being reviewed, they conducted some research. Sure enough, their site was home to reviews from a slew of college students who were paying outside sources to do their homework for them.

A fan-favorite seemed to be essay writing services that complete assignments for a fee. In the last twelve months, there has been a 250 percent increase in reviews for online businesses providing homework-related services, with 1268 reviews in total.

Yet, as the reviews point out, having a total stranger write your essay doesn't necessarily yield the best results.

"Not only is paying someone to do your homework unethical and antithetical to learning, but there are a number of scams associated with these services," Jeremy Gin, SiteJabber's Co-Founder, said. "Numerous SiteJabber reviewers have reported poor quality, including papers written by non-native English speakers, plagiarism, and bad grades as a result of this. Not to mention, they're known for missing due dates as timeliness is not a priority and refunds are not offered."

According to Jane C. Owen, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Midwestern State University, the consequence of utilizing essay writing services can be more dire. She believes that using these services can also have a long-term impact on the future of students, not least on their personal ethics.

"If you're a student who's considering using these services you need to be aware that one bad decision can really harm your future prospects," she said. "You also need to ask yourself, 'Is this really the sort of person you want to be?' And, ultimately, 'What would your mother say?'"

As it continues to see a rise in plagiarism (and customer dissatisfaction with it), SiteJabber is doing its part to raise awareness about the sudden prevalence of online essay and homework services, and to educate parents and students alike about the pitfalls associated with such services. The hope is, that by learning more about these scams and the long-term effects associated with cheating, students will be discouraged to pay for untrustworthy services in the future.

Aside from souring one's ethics or reputation, I think homework-doing services might be a bad idea for an entirely differently reason. No doubt, writing an essay or completing a reading report is not the optimal way to spend an afternoon. But, as I pointed out to my friend this morning, college really is the place to work on self discipline and work ethic: it's a place where you have the time to do it, and a place where you can mess up. Plus, you want to have a strong handle on both work ethic and self discipline before you begin applying to jobs.

After all, if schoolwork is the only part of college that you don't like, well, the full-time workforce can't be much better.

To see all reviews associated with online businesses soliciting homework services and the associated scams, visit SiteJabber.com.