Everyone knows of the smart kid who decided to apply “DIY” and then wasn’t accepted—and they don’t want to risk being the next one. Unfortunately, there’s a sense in China that the honest applicants are the chumps. (What Students in China Have Taught Me About U.S. College Admissions, Terry Crawford, The Atlantic, 6.1.15)
There’s editing and then there’s EDITING. You know, the kind when it looks like admission essays supposedly written by the same student look like they were written by two different people – one by the student him/herself and the other by a paid (native-speaker or US-educated?) “helper” with a more sophisticated mastery of the language and a much more extensive vocabulary.
Need some help with that pesky essay? Let your fingers do the writing, copy and paste-style. Just Google it! From the perspective of those of us who have read our fair share of admission essays over the years it’s easy as pie to spot “enhanced” essays over the garden-variety ones.
Speaking of Google, the best thing since sliced bread and itself a double-edged sword, it’s also easy to spot language that was permanently borrowed from another source without attribution. Enter the suspicious-looking phrase with the big words into Google’s magic search engine (or any number of sites designed to detect plagiarism), hit enter and, bingo, there’s the original source!
As China goes, so too, Vietnam, among other countries in Asia and elsewhere. As the above Atlantic article makes clear, one popular way to gain a competitive edge is to cheat and deceive. That’s a sad lesson to teach young people who end up becoming co-conspirators in their own admission process. The silver lining is that those students who are admitted to US secondary or postsecondary education quickly discover the importance of academic honesty and the risks of academic dishonesty because it’s one of the topics covered in international student orientations is academic dishonesty, including plagiarism. Every institution has an academic honor code and punishment is general severe for those – US and international students – caught violating this or any other aspect of it.