How Essay Mills can land you in BIG trouble

Cheap thrills and essay mills could land you in a whole heap of trouble - is it worth it?

Every year, especially around assessment season, we see a spike in individuals and companies advertising to write your university essays for you. It has been reported there there are nearly 1000 essays writing companies (also known as essay mills) in the UK, and it is a growing epidemic. These 'mills' advertise original, “plagiarism-free” assignments in exchange for money. It is thought that, worldwide, up to 1 in 7 students have used an essay mills for at least one assignment.

But what might be bad about that?

Well, apart from the risk of the University detecting plagiarism, failing your course and potential expulsion, there is a dark side to essay mills. Many use blackmail against students who use their services. 

What is blackmail?

Blackmail is defined by 'the crime of demanding money from a person by threatening to tell somebody else a secret about them,' and is a criminal offence. 

The essay mills will threaten to tell your University that you used their service, or even attempted to use their services. Even if you change your mind and want to cancel your 'order', the essay mill might refuse a refund and threaten legal action against you. Although this may not be enforceable from the essay mill, it can still be worrying and cause anxiety for you - something you don't need when you have assessments due.

Essay mills may demand money from you to keep quiet about using their services, or to 'close your account'. Even if you do pay, they may demand more. Using a third-party to assist with your assignments can lead to expulsion from university. Essay mills know this. They threaten to inform the university, which could be detrimental to your studies, so you feel obliged to pay to save your education.

What happens if I use an essay mill?

Plagiarism will be picked up by Turnitin, or by your tutor/marker. Most tutors can spot an essay mill essay very easily, as they are either poorly written or do not fulfil the brief of the assignment. 

This may be escalated and you will be asked to attend a meeting with your tutor and head of year/ department or a Disciplinary Panel. 

If the allegation is proven, you might:

  • Be permanently excluded from the University.
  • Temporarily excluded from the University, for a period not to exceed one year.
  • Your results for all assessments of the academic year in which the offence takes place will be cancelled.
  • You will be limited in the marks or award that you may achieve.

Essay mills are not there to help you.

We understand students might be struggling, especially in light of the current circumstances and the less than ideal teaching situations students across the UK, and abroad, due to Covid-19. 

We know the assessment period can be overwhelming - you don't know who to turn to and the stress of wanting to make sure you pass with a good grade can be all consuming. This is why many students turn to essay mills in the first place. A cheap, easy way to make sure you submit an essay on time. 

But, you are not alone. The University has in place many ways to help you achieve your potential. 

Here is our step-by-step guide to getting the best grades:

  • Don't leave your work to the last minute. If you're struggling, work on it little and often. 
  • Speak to your tutor: They are here to help you! Drop them an email or arrange an online call and they can talk through the assessment with you. 
  • ASK: The Academic Skills Unit can help you will all you academic skill needs.
  • Ask a librarian: for referencing and citations, there is no one better to talk to than a University librarian - and you can talk to them online 24/7.
  • If you do find yourself in trouble, speak confidentially to our Advice Service.

Remember, don't fall victim to the essay mills and their cheap thrills - it might end up costing you more than you can afford!

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