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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Turnitin a good tool for college applications

    This year, more universities are cracking down by using Turnitin.com’s database to find applicants trying to slide their way into college with a plagiarized personal essay. Turnitin is a great tool for admissions departments to use to sort students who are working to get into the college from those who are cheating. Students deserve to go up against actual competition in the college admissions process.

    The dreadful essay writing continues with the college application process. However, come to think of it, it’s really not that big of a deal if we’re writing and working independently. The only time students should worry about writing an essay is if they stole the work from someone else.

    Students hate submitting English essays to Turnitin because it’s just one extra step in what should be an easy process, but it’s for a good reason. Turnitin is a database that allows professors to see if and how much of a paper is plagiarized. The teacher can then decide if it is coincidental or if a significant portion was copied from someone else.

    While colleges are mainly using Turnitin for graduate divisions, they should be using it for all divisions. If potential students sit down to outline and write an admissions essays, not only to various universities, but also to the Eller School of Business or to the UA’s College of Nursing, they shouldn’t be turned down because another applicant bought a better essay.

    Students should earn their spots. Applicants who rely on tools like free essay examples or purchase work should be caught and rejected.

    Plagiarism tells a lot about a student’s character. The Psychological Record, a quarterly journal produced by Southern Illinois University, published a survey that said 36 percent of undergraduates admit to plagiarizing written material. The Los Angeles Times reported that somewhere between 3 percent and 20 percent of college applicants plagiarize.

    More than 100 colleges are now using Turnitin to catch these students. Stanford will be one of them, starting with its freshman applicants this year.

    Some universities are skeptical about this new process in case of false positives when students use cliches or overused sayings in their essays, reported the Los Angeles Times, but those are all noticeable right away. The essays that seem way too good to be true or include whole paragraphs that sound familiar should be checked through Turnitin.

    Colleges should have been using a tool such as Turnitin all along, so they can spot dishonest applicants. The UA has various programs that use Turnitin for assignments, but the admissions office and admission directors in all schools and departments at the UA should also start using Turnitin to benefit applicants who have truly earned their spot.

    _ — Ashley T. Powell is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions._

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