“That was part of the challenge, but I love words and terminology, so I enjoyed it.” The cost of buying an essay varies enormously and depends on factors such as the number of words and the complexity of the subject.
Customers can also specify the quality of the writing – a 2:2 standard essay, for example, is cheaper than a 2:1.
That means about one in seven recent graduates may have paid a third party to do their written work for them.
The penalties imposed by universities on anyone found to have passed off someone else’s work as their own are severe.
One company contacted by tells us – without even asking what the subject will be – that our essay would cost precisely £53.94 for a two-week turnaround.
Another agency is a little more thorough, questioning us about the subject and how “well” we want the essay to be written.The use of “essay mills”, as these agencies are known, is on the rise according to reports, and in the UK – where they are perfectly legal – universities want the government to intervene.In September, more than 40 university chiefs wrote to the Education Secretary calling for a ban on essay mills amid fears that they are compromising the integrity of degree courses.He graduated from the University of York with an English degree but found himself writing mostly business and science papers.“I ended up having to educate myself on a lot of quite advanced science topics,” he says.Most universities record cases of cheating as plagiarism – a blanket term which covers actions from cutting and pasting an unattributed paragraph from the internet to buying an entire essay.But a recent study by Swansea University, based on interviews with more than 54,500 students, found that 15.7 per cent admitted to cheating since 2014.“This [the fact the essay was written by a third party] is impossible to track,” says the administrator at one service, who identifies himself as Josh.If a student is worried that the style of their purchased essay will be too dissimilar to their own, he says, they can attach samples of their work and the agency’s authors will use it as a style guide.“It is identifying people who are in need and struggling,” he says.“It appears to be offering them a service, but it is not helping them.” The exact number of students who cheat by purchasing written academic work is difficult to ascertain.