If You’re Interested in Academic Writing, Read This First

Carol Tice

The truth about academic writing. Makealivingwriting.comAre you a college graduate who loves to write? If so, you may be drawn to the many, many websites that offer ‘academic writing’ opportunities.

You’ve written scads of school papers in the past, in your academic career. You might wonder if there’s an opportunity to find freelance writing jobs.

There is — though it doesn’t pay a lot. From what I’ve seen on the bigger sites, $15-$20 a page for college essay writing is typical.

If you’re fast and want to put in a lot of hours, you might earn a few thou a month.

There’s only one catch: Academic writing is unethical.

I want to be super-clear on that. It’s not a gray area. It’s not sort of mildly naughty. It’s wrong.

As a writer who’s on a mission to bust scams and help writers find good pay, I should have tackled this topic long ago. But let’s get to it now.

First, let’s visit some essay sites and see how writers get sucked in.

The bait-and-switch of paid essay sites

It’s easy to see how writers get confused about academic writing. There are a ton of essay sites out there that make this seem like a legitimate freelance writing niche.

Some of these sites have creative ways of describing what you’re doing. They’ll tell you it’s ‘tutoring’ work, or that your submitted essays provide ‘inspiration’ for students’ writing.

But they’re lying.

Read closely. As you’ll see in these screenshots, essay sites like to dress it up. But in the end, we all know what’s happening. Students are having you write their papers.

Check out how one essay site pitches writers:

academic writing - example 1

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? (And yes, I noticed all the grammar errors in that.)

Read a little closer, though, and a little farther down the page, you get this:

Academic writing - example 2

Ho! All of a sudden, we’re ‘getting paid to write essays FOR students.’ Not editing their paper. Not giving them a little help or ideas.

Sounds fishier now, right?

Finally, if I stay on one of these sites long enough, inevitably, a box like this will pop up:

academic writing - example 3

As a mom who’s paid for college, let me say I didn’t take out student loans so that someone else could write my son’s papers.

There’s a reason schools have ethics codes — to prevent exactly this sort of thing.

Writers’ experiences on essay sites

The feedback I get from teachers is that papers written by pros are pretty easily detected. I was having a chat about this on my Facebook page recently, and got some choice feedback.

Professors can sniff out the difference between a student who’s perhaps had a little light editing help with a dissertation — which IS legit —Β  and one who’s farmed out an essay, wholesale:

academic writing - teacher reaction

Writers sucked into these gigs also usually figure out they’re in an ethical swamp pretty quickly:

Academic writing - writer review

Yes, you can earn some money at this. But it’s dirty money.

And that’s not the only reason doing this type of writing hurts you, the writer, and doesn’t lay the groundwork for building a successful freelance writing business.

Why academic writing is a road to nowhere

Here are the three things you need to build a great freelance writing portfolio and begin commanding professional rates:

  • Referrals
  • Testimonials
  • Portfolio samples

With academic writing, you get none of the above. You’re ghostwriting for someone who’s not going to give you a testimonial and risk getting themselves expelled.

Essay sites are never going to refer you a better client and cut themselves out of the deal.

Even if you could get permission to put ghosted essays in your portfolio — which would be unlikely — you can’t use these samples without outing yourself as a writer without scruples, who’s just in it for a quick buck, no matter who it hurts.

In other words, academic writing is a dead end. The only place it leads you is to getting more essay work from the same website you signed on with. If that site goes bust, have fun starting all over.

Meanwhile, the years are going by, and you’re stuck in a niche with a bad reputation.

The final problem? You’re spending your time doing academic writing — stiff, formal, footnote-filled writing that bears no resemblance to any of the good-paying types of writing in the rest of the marketplace. So you’re not even gaining helpful writing experience.

Stop the denial

Despite the obvious fact that ghosted essays get students expelled, I find academic writers often have a violent reaction to the suggestion that what they’re doing is unethical.

For instance, one writer recently blocked me on Twitter after I had the nerve to point out that academic writing is wrong. That means I can’t show you her original post, in which she blithely described how she writes essays for pay for students at levels from undergrad to PhD.

But here’s my reply:

Academic writing tweet response

If you’re a writer hoping to get some respect for all your hard work ghosting essays, I’m sorry to disappoint you. What you’re doing is wrong. Academic writing hurts your career, right along with the academic career of the students who pay you.

Ask yourself this: Do you really want your writing legacy to be: “At least I didn’t get caught?” Or are you here to light up the world with your writing talent? I’m betting it’s really the latter.

If you’ve been caught up in the academic writing treadmill, there’s no time like the present to leave this ethical swamp behind, and move into doing more legitimate gigs — articles, case studies, Web content. That’s how you end up finding better clients and earning more.

Ever done academic writing for pay? Share your experience in the comments.

article writing template


  1. Eloise McInerney

    Really glad you’ve written about this, Carol! Having been a teacher (and being also in possession of a PhD), I find this utterly disgusting.
    I remember reading one guy’s justification once, that since he couldn’t get an academic teaching job, this was his only way of making money. He didn’t care at all that what he was doing was unethical, and was clearly bitter about the lack of teaching opportunities in universities. I can empathise with the frustration, but I really hope he never does get a teaching job – he definitely doesn’t have the moral fibre and there are plenty of more deserving people out there.
    Another moral justification I’ve heard is that since managers delegate things they can’t do to other people with the right skills, eg. give the graphic designer the visual stuff, then people studying non-humanities subjects should be able to delegate the task of writing up their research results!
    They blithely ignore the fact that a) writing an assignment makes you learn a subject properly because you have to really engage with it and b) even engineers need to be able to communicate their ideas effectively in writing.

    I’ve been approached by some of these sites in the past, and I waste no time telling them what I think of their business model.

    • Carol Tice

      Same here, Eloise. I’m always impressed by how proud essay writers are of how hard they work at this — and the fact that this work ruins lives doesn’t seem to matter.

    • Jack

      I’ve heard of people making six figures doing academic papers. To reach that amount you’d need to work for clients privately, not through one of the companies. But I’ve heard that working for companies can make decent money, too.

      I won’t comment on ethics, as people can determine that for themselves.

      One of the disadvantages is, as stated, you don’t get to build a professional reputation. The writing can be boring, and you have to do a lot of it. It would be easy to burn out.

      Another big thing for the people I know is that the hours are highly irregular. Students often need papers at the last minute, and the pay is higher for urgent work. If you thrive on a 9 to 5 schedule, it’s not for you.

      Finally, it’s highly seasonal. Certain times of the year will have you flooded with work, and other times there will be little or no work.

      Not a glamorous niche in any way. But if you need to pay the rent and you are OK with the ethical issues, it’s always there.

      • Carol Tice

        Thanks, ‘Jack,’ for this beautiful demonstration of moral relativism. How could you be ‘OK with the ethical issues’ of helping students plagiarize and get expelled, for a few bucks of pay? Please explain to us.

        Do you live in a world that lacks a moral compass, no clear sense of right and wrong? Feel free to explain to us the scenario under which your need to pay the rent justifies engaging in something that’s morally wrong. I mean, why not just sell crack? If ‘you’re OK with the ethical issues’ around activities that destroy lives? I think there’s a lot more mony in it.

        Let’s hope that unethical essay writing WON’T always be a major online business, and that at some point, these defrauding machines will be shut down.

        • Jack

          Literally just providing a set of facts based on a few people I know who do the work — this group does not include myself. I did not say that I, personally, am OK with the ethical issues.

          • Francesca

            I don’t believe that Jack was questioning the lack of ethics of that kind of writing, to me it sounded more like he was giving his take on the practical issues and why it may be appealing to some people. πŸ™‚ Not everybody has a strong moral compass unfortunately, and easy money can be appealing, especially in the beginning when everything seems more difficult and challenging. But to point out that it’s a dead end is important to deter people from even being tempted, even those that might not care about ethical issues (since there seem to be many). Just my impression. πŸ™‚ The article was very clear and informative!

        • Els Naime

          The trouble with your analogy is that selling crack is illegal. The consequences include things like jail time and a criminal record.

          Ghostwriting academic papers isn’t actually illegal, that I know of. The consequences could be shattering to the student-client who is caught, but the writer walks away.

          This is what makes it so tempting and — as I’m only noticing now! — controversial. There is nothing standing in the way of a hungry writer EXCEPT a personal sense of ethics. Nothing except the knowledge of who you are when no-one else is watching.

          • Carol Tice

            Els, ghosting academic papers is against the ethics code of every college, and it gets students expelled. Does there need to be jail time attached to this for you to see it as wrong? Or do you have an inner moral compass of what sort of person you want to be in this world? Read the comments about doctors who’ll be dealing with patients asking people to write their essays. Does that not make you uncomfortable, the malpractice and injury that could ensue from that?

    • Dale Masters

      I always thought “academic writing” was writing a paper for a science journal.

      This irritates me so much, I think I’ll clean the house (as long as my legs & back let me.)

      • Carol Tice

        Well, certainly there are legitimate kinds of academic writing, such as research papers for science-research institutions, and writing textbook supplements. But when that term is commonly used online, they’re talking about ghosting student essays. Blech.

        • Ann Walker

          I do academic research papers – mostly literature reviews -for an educational research support company which works with teachers. It’s interesting, if not incredibly well paid, and I do enjoy it.

          There is no way on the planet I’d write stuff for students, particularly noty the sort of job I was offered the other day. The guy wanted a paper writing for the last part of his osteopath Masters and I do a lot of medical writing now. I couldn’t believe he was a) willing to risk 4 years work and b) expecting me to help him cheat his way to dealing with patients. Incredible!

          • Carol Tice

            Yeah…it’s disturbing. But part of the whole morally relativistic culture we live in today, where things that used to be clear-cut wrongs, for many, now seem to be hey, why not, who cares.

  2. Shalon Alexis Clevenger

    Thank you for this article. I hope more people pay attention to how unethical and to the students’ detriment it is for writers to write for them. I was shocked when I first noticed how many “write my paper for me” jobs were listed on an opportunity website. If you call yourself a professional writer, you should not be participating in plagiarism, which is what it becomes when a student represents another’s original work (what you’ve written for them) as their own.

    If we want rights and protection as professional writers, then we must uphold our responsibilities to conduct ours car as professionals. There is no place for cheating, misrepresenting originality, in a professional writing career.

    Thank you again for taking a stand on this.

    • Carol Tice

      Beautifully put, Shalon. Writers usually care so passionately about rights, and about plagiarism — why is this niche the magical exception?

  3. Nida Sea

    Wow! I’ve seen many of those edu mill pitches asking me to write college essays. But, I had enough of that doing my own essays when I was in college. So, yeah, no thanks! πŸ˜‰

  4. Karen Smock

    I 100% agree with you on this, Carol. I had this exact argument while in university with a friend who was writing his sister’s papers. Not helping her with them, writing them for her. So she learned that other people will do her work for her.
    I have a question: what do you think of being paid to write school applications for other people?

    • Carol Tice

      I think it’s a gray area, Karen. There is a booming world of college consultants, who help families figure out what college would be the best fit for their particular kid, and helping them present themselves well.

      Where does the line cross from helping a student perfect their college essay, and flat-out writing it for them? I’m not sure…but I think there should be a clear line, and it should essentially be the student’s words and thoughts.

      Speaking as a parent, there really isn’t a point to having someone help your kid fake their way into a college where they’re in over their head. They’re just going to wash out. Speaking as someone who’s still paying college loans for classes somebody didn’t attend because he was crashing and burning at a college that probably was wrong for him…his GPA was real borderline for acceptance, and looking back I think we should have looked elsewhere. So parents who go the route of having their kids’ essay ghosted, I think, will likely meet with tragedy and regret on that down the road.

      As writers, should we get paid to help lie to colleges about a students’ writing abilities? I think no. Editing their essay, making suggestions, sure.

  5. John Soares

    Carol, I totally agree with you. Writing essays for students is highly unethical. As a former college instructor, I’ve failed students for turning in essays they didn’t write. It’s discouraging just how common this is, and that so many freelance writers are willing to help students cheat.

    However, there are legitimate ways of freelance writing in the academic world. For example, my main niche for the last 25 years has been creating supplemental materials for college textbooks: student study guides, instructor’s manuals, lecture outlines, and test and quiz questions.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for raising this, John — besides college textbook supplements, there are many other ways to leverage your college background writing for universities, including articles for alumni mags, web content, internal or external communications or PR, donor letters, and more. All of which CAN be used to build a great portfolio.

      Also — I think every one of those other opportunities pays way better than essay ghosting, anyway! It’s sort of bizarre, the attraction so many writers have for this niche which both hurts your reputation AND pays a pittance.

  6. Sarah Handzel

    I was recently approached by two of these companies, and at first they looked like legitimate writing opportunities in the academic field. It only took a little bit of digging to find the truth – that both were Upwork-type websites where writers were expected to bid on projects writing papers for students.

    As soon as I saw what the work really was, I ran that other way. I don’t understand how people don’t see how wrong this type of work is. It is so, so unethical. I also feel like, if I made it through college (twice!) without cheating, doing all the work myself, others sure as Hell can too.

    This is a great post that shows why we, as writers, shouldn’t stoop to this level.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah — I find another essay-writing site seems to be born each week. Inside Freelance Writers Den, we recently had writers asking about WriterBay, which looks to be yet another one of these essay sites.

      Folks need to return to their basics of vetting an opportunity — look for writers who can talk about what they do and actually get paid, what the work is really like. And if you smell that there’s something fishy…trust your gut on that.

      • Sarah Handzel

        Carol, WritersBay was one of the sites that contacted me! They cold-emailed me out of the blue, sounded like a potentially great opportunity, and mentioned nothing about writing for students – only that it was academic and non-academic writing on a variety of topics. One visit to their website was all I needed to see, and I noped out of there FAST!

        Also, I can’t wait until I can get into the Den! I just missed the opportunity that came with the content marketing class…that’s what I get for setting work boundaries and not looking at my email once while on a trip to the mountains! πŸ™‚

        • Carol Tice

          Sarah, if you email help@freelancewritersden.com, we could still sneak you into the bootcamp, if you really want in. πŸ˜‰ But today’s probably about the last day for that.

        • Katherine Swarts

          I got a WriterBay invite via LinkedIn … from someone whose chosen profile title was “writer hunter.” Who really wants to be on the quarry’s end of a hunt?

  7. Lori Ferguson

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Carol — absolutely NOT OK with this practice.

    Thank you for your stand.

  8. Lauren Steinheimer

    Glad you decided to delve into this!
    Academic ghostwriting was actually my very first experience getting paid to write. Of course, I knew it was wrong, but justified it by telling myself that the students were going to pay someone to do their work, anyway, so it might as well be me!
    I was also slightly jaded after working in academic research, and was able to earn more with this shady side-hustle.
    This was well before I considered myself “a writer,” and think it actually helped boost my confidence to take the noble path. I was amazed that anyone would pay me to do something I loved, and got lots of positive feedback from my boss.
    BUT I also felt dirty and extremely unethical.
    The gig only lasted one semester before I decided to move on. I’m not sure I can truly say I regret it, because I don’t know if I would have ever tried to be a real freelance writer without that first, shaky step. Who knows?
    Either way, I don’t do it anymore and wouldn’t recommend doing anything that makes you feel morally stressed out.
    Now that the past is behind me, I’m enjoying building a portfolio with good, honest bylines.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Lauren. And glad you’re building a legit career now!

  9. Larry

    I applied to not quite realizing what it was. When the job became clear to me, I declined. I don’t approve from both the writer’s perspective and the teacher’s perspective.

  10. Kattia

    Totally agreed, in my town we call that “Salty money” which means Karma money… God knows how much I sweated my essays in College and I learn from it tons. I wish the same good to the students. Not for me.

    • Carol Tice

      LOL, I’m remembering that — salty money. πŸ˜‰

  11. Paolo

    I knew this long before I even read this article. So first I want to say thank-you for posting this to remind me of the wrongs academic writing for students really is. When I first started writing, I was suddenly approached by many students who wanted me to write for them. No deal is what I told them. Otherwise, I could be responsible for shaping these students’ futures and becoming incapable in their professions. I prefer they learn the right way the way education is meant for them. What I’ve done instead to start was get hired by province wide post-secondary education programs to research for case studies and printed textbook additions because of my educational background. Not the highest pay, but it was decent and honest and I recommend it for writers who need to keep in touch with their education. I moved on because it became too routine. But my point is, anything helps students cheat is not a good thing.

    • Carol Tice

      No kidding, Paulo — writers should look to do work they can proudly claim in their portfolio, and get testimonials and referrals from. PLUS, most other types of writing pay better than writing papers for starving students!

  12. Felix Abur

    Carol, I started out as an academic writer, back when I didn’t know any better, circa 2007. At the time, the internet didn’t have many content creation options either, so maybe the lenient ones among us may forgive the path I started out on. I was doing post-graduate level Engineering papers (I’m an Engineering diploma holder) and MBA-level papers (courtesy of my marketing degree). When I eventually found content marketing gigs, I finally found the freedom to examine my ethics. I vowed never to go back to academic writing.

    Problem is, in my country, online writing is almost synonymous with academic writing. Over 80% of youth who tell you they do online writing actually mean they do school assignments for foreign students. I am in various writing groups on Facebook where I have tried to initiate the conversation about ethics and always get shot down. That there is nothing wrong with this line of work. I am sharing this article to all those groups.

    Funny thing is, so-called academic writers don’t realize they harm their credibility, long-term career, and professional future by doing this kind of work. And most of these Kenyan writers are students themselves, so they tend to handle their own studies casually so they can focus on what makes them money. I don’t know any that get paid $20 per page. The standard rate here is about $3 per page. Talk about race to the bottom, and this is it any way you look at it.

    • Carol Tice

      Yow, $3. AND it’s wrong. There’s a lovely combo.

      Thanks for sharing this around, Felix! And glad you saw your way out of this swamp.

    • Karen Ingle

      Good for you, Felix, speaking up even though you get “shot down.” Perhaps your one light shining in this darkness will cause some of those who are defensive right now to ultimately take a more conscientious position and climb out of the swamp with you!

  13. Karen Ingle

    So glad you took this strong stand on this issue, Carol. I was starting to think I was the last person on earth who saw writing students’ papers for them as unethical–and harmful, in the long term, for both the student and the writer. Now I see many others share my view. There’s hope for academia after all!

    Those written-for students will never know if they COULD have produced papers of quality. When their future jobs require written communication, they’ll be clueless. And their employers will wonder how they ever faked their way this far.

    Speaking as a former homeschooling mom, I’ve seen how my once-resistant writers are thriving in college because I pushed them to accept writing as essential to the process of thinking. Students who forfeit “Writing to Learn” (as William Zinsser titled his book) are throwing away half their education.

    • Carol Tice

      Yeah, for the students it’s a short-term win that can be followed by a lifetime of struggle.

      We seem to live in an age of growing moral relativism, where we feel ready to justify all sorts of bad behavior to ourselves and then it’s OK, in our view. See the comment just after yours.

  14. TutorRein

    hmmm, academic writing is awesome. The papers I write are to help students understand. Whatever they do with them is solely their own problem. My 2 cents though.

    • Felix Abur

      A gun shop owner may not know for sure what you use your guns for and can’t be blamed if the customer goes ahead and commits murder. But if some ex-felon came and asked for the best gun that kills a human with a single shot I think it would be very irresponsible for the shop owner to take such a stance, “what they do with the gun is solely their own problem”. I use such a strong example coz when you do coursework for a future doctor, surgeon, dentist, engineer, accountant, or any other student, you are endangering the lives of everyone who will ever depend on the skills this student should have been gaining in school/college.

      • Carol Tice

        Great analogy, Felix.

        No writer can really imagine their paper written for these essay mills will just be used for students’ ‘inspiration’ and that they are not participating in a plagiarism scheme. But it’s amazing the lies desperate people will tell themselves to justify earning this way, rather than going out and making the effort required to get a legitimate paid writing gig.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Bogi — the name in your email. It’s sort of fascinating that you’ve given an obviously fake name here, even though you’re supposedly proud of what you do, writing papers for others.

      I can see you’ve bought the line that your papers just ‘help’ students and they don’t turn them in wholesale, entirely written by you. But as a mom of a college student, let me enlighten you: That’s exactly what they do. Then, they get expelled.

      And that is not ‘their own problem.’ You make that problem possible. Without unethical writers like you, students could not cheat at the scale that you see today.

      Academic paper writing gets students expelled and is morally wrong. Why don’t you fill us in on how much you get paid to help students ruin their lives? I’d love to know.

      • TutorRein

        Hello Carol, Bogi is my name and Rein is my first name. As I said, if my paper was submitted to a learning institution and I learn it, I would report that right away. Anyway, I tutor my students physically and privately and whatever I write is to guide them. Never worked for these online companies. I’m yet to try.

        • Carol Tice

          Aha — well as we say in the post, TUTORING is tutoring. Writing essays for students is unethical.

          No ethical tutor is writing a whole paper for a student. Ever. If they bring you a draft and you work with them on it, that’s tutoring, or writing coaching. You’re saying, “If my paper was submitted…” which makes me think you’re writing a whole paper and giving it to them. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to get out of your denial — they are turning it in. The fact that it doesn’t happen to get back to you, or that they get away with it once or twice, does not make what you’re doing right.

          If you’re doing this privately and not through one of these online portals, here’s your chance to stay out of more trouble: just avoid them.

  15. Peter Chordas

    Carolβ€”glad to see you hammering this nail on the head.

    I’ve received two pitches in the past from essay sharks. Always good for a laugh, but only in that “I just threw up in my mouth a bit” kind of way.

    • Carol Tice

      Yep. I hear ya…

      I can tell you that I have to delete spam comments left here on the blog by the essay sites on an almost daily basis. Apparently, these platforms have to do a ton of marketing to find enough writers willing to help students plagiarize for a few pennies, in order to keep up with demand.

      Of course, I could probably write another whole post about the DEMAND side of this. Who are these students, and why do they think getting essays written for them is OK? But that’s another story.

  16. Emily Fowler

    I tried to have this conversation with the Freelancer’s Union after they published a guest post from an unethical essay writing service. They even said in his bio that he provides ‘essay writing services in the UK’ (with a link to the website for essay writing, yet claimed it wasn’t an advertisement. Sigh. If somewhere like the Freelancer’s Union are publicising it, no wonder naive writers might think it’s OK.

    • Carol Tice

      I’m surprised to hear that…but a lot of sites take guest posts from all comers, no matter what their agenda might be or what their link might lead to. I try to watch out for this kind of stuff here on the blog.

  17. kelley madick

    I have not done academic writing and as a professor, I am extremely opposed to this practice. However, I have students who do try to pass these paid works as their own. Luckily, I can sort of tell and I know how to search these sites. I also run a plagiarism checker. What students often do not know is that the paper is sold many times. IT WILLTURN UP in on of the databases we use to check papers. I hope no ethical writer would do this for a measly 20$. Thank you Carol, for this article.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for your perspective Kelley. Maybe if universities could show students how easy it is to bust this sort of thing, and how it ruins lives and gets students expelled, it would help shut it down.

      And…what student would think they’re the only one buying the essay? Of course they’re sold many times apiece. Come on, students. Wise up.

    • Kevine

      I’d add that every document has a signature, which you can easily look up in google to find out who originally authored the paper because most of these cheats are too lazy to change it. You’d be surprised that a student in the US is presenting a paper that was written from a computer in Kenya yet they have never been to that country.

      • Carol Tice

        Well, that explains how easy it is to bust students who buy papers — thanks for that little insight, Kevine! But I gather from teachers they don’t even need that tool — they can tell just from a quick read that it’s too sophisticated for that student to have written it.

  18. Shernette

    Glad for this article too. I agree with you 1000% – it is unethical. So I write your essay, you get an A+ and you never learn the skills of putting the information together. It doesn’t seem beneficial to you the student as your scam will be sniffed out in the long run.

    I’ve always seen these ads and could never understand why persons were so eager to do another person’s homework. It is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  19. Susie Rosse

    How is it so easy for people to write about academic topics? It’s probably no wonder that the students are caught so easily…although I totally agree it’s unethical for writers to do this, it’s all really the students’ fault don’t you think? It’s their idea to cheat and money spent…

    • Carol Tice

      Well, I’m not blogging for an audience of students, so my focus is on how it damages the WRITER to participate in this. Because your reputation is everything, as a freelancer.

      • Susie Rosse

        You think…there’s people who do this under their real names?! I always assumed they used fake names. Lots of freelancers give their profile pics and link their social media so….wow, cannot imagine doing that and using your real information. That is such a shame.

  20. Francesca

    In my university a student got into trouble a few years ago, because she managed to fake her bachelor degree’s paper by translating it from Polish into Italian. Unfortunately as far as I know they didn’t manage to revoke her graduation because they found out too late, but I was shocked. I slaved at my two graduation papers, writing more than 200 pages if I combine the bachelor and the master. And the second one was all in English, so all the more challenging. It would never have crossed my mind to delegate.

  21. Mary

    Thank you for writing this article. I am new to freelance writing and was interviewing for an “academic” writing job. I am appalled and disheartened, by these web sites. That explains why none of my questions were answered up front. Well, I guess back to the drawing board. Again Thank you. πŸ™‚

    • Carol Tice

      If I can give you a tip, no great writing jobs are waiting for you on some big online site. The good gigs, you go out and find yourself.

      • Mary

        Absolutely! I have no illusions. Thanks again and for your honesty.

  22. Riannon Westall

    I agree with you 100%. I’ve had several people contact me about writing their essays or assignments. I don’t even bother responding. They can get through school the way I did- by studying and working hard. People have their own beliefs, but it’s bad karma in my opinion πŸ™‚

  23. Stephanie Sides

    Dear Carol and others who have responded to this post:

    I may be the lone anti-voice here based on my experience. And maybe what I do is not what you’re talking about here. Still, in my experience, academic writing is NOT inherently unethical. I have made my freelance career (since 2008) writing for academics (at UCSD mostly, some at CSU campuses and other private lesser-know colleges in the San Diego area), some of whom I’ve known for 30 years. I write/edit their NIH and NSF proposals, their annual progress reports to their funding agencies, and “science highlights” of 800 words that popularize work they’ve published in peer-reviewed papers, including in Science magazine and other highly regarded journals. I’m treated with the highest respect by these clients. And they pay me (without question) $110/hour. In my experience, it’s all about my relationships with these people (their winning proposals signal to them that my services are worth the price). New clients based on their referrals (of which I have a few new ones) treat me the same way. Sometimes I get a byline.

  24. Carol Tice

    Totally different! That to me is university business writing, no ethical issue there!

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