Essays are an important part of the curriculum in colleges and universities. They cannot be replaced by multiple choice questions and are themselves a replacement for group discussion rounds.
The shift to analyzing a student’s thought process, psychology and general behavior through essays has been highly appreciated by experts. Unlike group discussion, essays allow every candidate an equal opportunity to speak their mind.
Failure of group discussions and shift to essays
The purpose of group discussions was to use it as an intensive activity to judge how a person would perform in the corporate jungle, who would be the sheep, who would be the lion, and who would be the wolf. However, group discussions have become a typical “expectations vs reality” case since most candidates are well in a mood to quarrel to show their presence during such an activity. I don’t blame them for it. A 5-minute exercise is not enough to judge a person’s general behavior. Even the meekest of interviewees would act aggressive during a group discussion knowing their points depends on their involvement.
Essays succeed where group discussions fail. It is way more comfortable to write thoughts over speaking them out. Most people cannot think before speaking, for the process is a few seconds long. However, when a person writes, he/she has minutes to think and if wrong, edit and correct the thoughts prior to presenting it.
More than allowing the candidates time to think, essays are not a quarrel, unlike group discussions. Since candidates have no burden of fighting for their spot in a group, they are able to present their true self to the examiner.
Colleges and universities are preferring essays for academics
As traditional essay writing becomes increasingly popular, colleges and universities are adopting them as a necessary component of their examination procedure, for it reveals more than a multiple-choice question test can. Be it legal, technical, medical or whatsoever stream, academic institutions are preferring essays over anything else.
Some essays are supposed to be written during a well invigilated exam which almost eliminates the possibility of cheating, however, most of them have to be written from home and submitted to the examiner for evaluation. Many (or perhaps most) students try to cheat by plagiarizing the content of these essays or grossly referring from previously submitted resources.
Of late, institutions have shifted these submissions to electronic format so they could use their advanced plagiarism checker tools and detect cheating. This has led to the boom of the online essay writing industry, where a well-trained academic writer, trained in the candidate’s subject writes the essay for him/her in return for a certain fee. Since the essay is written originally, the plagiarism checkers are ineffective against it. Rather, once the student has read and understood the professionally written essay and prepared for the interview, the examiner has no way to figure out the cheating.
How are essays marketed?
All a smart student need to do to better his/her grades is simply Google search for any of the various essay writing websites. Pick any of the top search results and open the website. Fill the simple form which asks for the intended length of the essay, the subject, and grade. Thereafter, the website would help find the estimated cost of the essay. When I tried a sample to check what it is like, the approximation was around $2000 for a 10,000 word essay.
Government and its efforts
Academics is given prime importance in the UK, and any form of cheating matters. The administration wants every person to get into a job only if they deserve it, else they aren’t worth the profession, something which affects the country and economy at large.
Thus, the essay cheating issue has found concern with ministers in Great Britain who are planning to crackdown on websites providing such services. One name which stands out among the rest is of Universities Minister Jo Johnson, who is taking active steps towards the issue of buying essays. However, with more than 100 essay mill websites in the UK alone, the task doesn’t seem easy.
One problem with trying to contain this business is that candidates purchase essays online and even if the government bans essay providing companies in the country, it wouldn’t be able to do the same with other such providers across the globe who link with their customers online. Even more, the owners of the business would ultimately find a way to contact their customers through the grey market if their websites are banned.
In New Zealand, the government has banned and fined “essay mills” and confiscated their assets. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) of the UK also made it an illegal act and is fining companies 5000 pounds for running this business.
Nonetheless, the need of a commodity drives its purchase. I am pretty certain that the trade would continue despite all efforts.