5 legal alternatives to ‘essay mills’ temptation

A young woman sitting on a couch looking at a book in a quiet library space.

Right now, essay mills aren’t technically illegal, but that’s all about to change. If you’re a student, here’s why essay mills are problematic, and five alternative ways you can get help with your studies this year. 


What are essay mills?

Essay mills are essay writing services. Students pay writers to draft assignments for them such as essays and dissertations. These writers might also edit student-written essays, which sometimes means rewriting significant chunks of the assignment, for a fee. 

Many essay writing services tell students not to ‘pass off’ any work they pay for as their own. Instead, they should use the content to help them understand the course a bit better. 

The problem? Students can still technically submit someone else’s work as their own. So, although they’re not illegal yet, essay mills could encourage cheating and plagiarism, which is why the Department for Education (DfE) plans to ban essay mills in the near future. 

What are the alternatives to essay mills?

Are you still tempted by essay writing services? Don’t be! There are plenty of ways you can get help with your studies rather than relying on essay mills. Here are five other options.

1. Contact your tutor

Always contact your tutor or lecturer if you’re struggling to write essays at college or university level. They can steer you towards tools that might help you, such as free grammar courses, proofreading guides, essay writing tools or appropriate subject textbooks. 

Simply send your tutor or lecturer an email to tell them what you’re struggling with, and ask them if they can provide any suggestions or next steps. Remember, they want you to pass your course, so ask them for help!

2. Ask for feedback

Are you unhappy with your marks and don’t know what’s going wrong? Again, just reach out to your tutor or whoever marked your assignment and ask (politely!) for some feedback.

Explain that you want to know where you can improve so you can submit better assignments in future. Tutors will normally be more than happy to give constructive feedback you can use towards your next essay or assignment. 

The best part? Just like asking your tutor or lecturer for help, this won’t cost you a penny! 

3. Hire a private tutor

Okay, so you’ll need to pay for a private tutor, but it might be worth it if you’re falling behind on your assignments and you don’t know how to close the gap. 

While there’s no set rate for hiring a private tutor, they usually charge hourly, and you can expect to pay somewhere between £15 and £45 per hour on average. You can limit how many hours of tutoring you’ll need by figuring out where your problem area is (for example, applying grammar correctly) and asking for help with this specific point. 

4. Find a new side hustle 

Are you falling behind because you’re working a part-time job alongside your studies? If you need to keep working, don’t worry! Just think about switching to a different job that’s more student-friendly. For example, you might take on a lucrative side hustle that you can fit around your studies.

Consider reaching out to your university or college careers service for help finding another part-time job if you’re not sure where to start.  

5. Check out peer mentoring

Many colleges and unis offer peer mentoring services. Basically, these services pair you with a more experienced student who can help you with different parts of student life, whether it’s settling into your studies or managing your time more effectively. 

If you’re worried about contacting a tutor or lecturer for help, check whether your institution offers mentoring schemes and see if you can sign up. Sometimes, talking out your concerns with a student who understands what you’re going through can really take the stress out of essay writing.  


Essay mills: takeaway

If you need help with essays this year, don’t turn to essay mills. Instead, ask your college or university for help or hire a private tutor. Your lecturers and tutors want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for support if you need it. 

Are you a student or graduate hoping to make some extra money this year? Don’t sell old essays online – consider working as a tutor instead. Not only can you make this a fun side hustle, but you’re helping students figure out how to get the most from their studies. 

The post 5 legal alternatives to ‘essay mills’ temptation appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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