College Essay Myth #3: Colleges Can’t Tell If Someone Helps Too Much on the Essay!

Rising seniors, we’re back with Myth No. 3. We’ve explained that the topic does not need to be impressive, and that the essay should not sound like your favorite writer or college professor.

What’s left? Here’s No. 3:

Myth 3: Admissions officers will never know if a parent, tutor, teacher or college coach has “helped” a student with an essay. They won’t know if you plagiarized, either.

Fact: There is a fine line between getting help and letting someone write part or all of your essay. While parents and others cannot always tell the difference, admissions officers know when someone other than a student writes a story. And they don’t like it. Not one bit!

“If a student has an adult write it, the admissions committee can tell,” Michigan State University’s Director of Admissions Jim Cotter.

Many schools will automatically reject a student’s application, even if they merely suspect plagiarism. Plagiarism is academic fraud and it can cause your application to be thrown out of consideration.

Don’t try to recycle other people’s “winning” essays from previous years, some of which now are easily available on websites and in books. “I’ve read those books, too,” said Amy Jarich, Assistant Vice Chancellor & Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of California, Berkeley. ”I know what you’re copying.”

Stay tuned for Myth No. 4

About the author: Kim Lifton is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communications and content marketing company. Wow students get into their top-choice colleges year after year.  Let the national experts on the college essay guide you to your best story, and improve your chances of getting into the college of your dreams. Want to find out how to find a great topic and make your essay good? Watch this video, College Essay Crash Course, The Common App.

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