Turnitin Used to Catch Cheaters in College Admissions
Many graduate and undergraduate admission offices now plan to use the anti-plagiarism database service, Turnitin.com, to fairly evaluate the applicant pool.
The internet can provide prospective college applicants with everything they need: professional advice, student blogs with inside information, and even the latest pre-written college essays.
Turnitin.com, as in "turn it in," has previously been used in the classroom to catch students copying and pasting information from the web.
The site is able to compare the students' submitted piece to an archive of other writings on the web as well as their classmates’ submissions.
Now, admissions offices are taking this concept and applying it to college application essays.
Turnitin for Admissions is a new, tailored database that strictly compares the applicant's essay against an archive of previous and current admissions essays.
After Turnitin for Admissions calculates the percentage of copied material, the office can then decide if the plagiarism is accidental, minor, or serious. In many cases, universities have rejected applicants who had a suspiciously high percentage of copied text.
The service has mostly been incorporated for graduate admissions.
Still, not every school is keen on using the online tool to catch cheaters. The site charges thousands of dollars per year to large campuses.
Some institutions believe that students who plagiarize can be detected by simpler means such as comparing a strong written essay to poor SAT or ACT writing scores.
The Common Application may be adopting Turnitin for Admissions in order to more thoroughly screen freshman applicant plagarists. This potential decision will affect all students applying to any of the 456 universities and colleges included in the Common Application.