Working for an essay writing service should not be something you jump into without thinking it over first. There are significant issues to consider, and the first one is the basic question of ethics.
Are Essay Writing Services Ethical?
Essay writing services are not illegal, but they have earned the nickname "contract cheating" in the public eye. Some might say you're providing a valuable service, while others could argue you're enabling patterns of unethical behavior when it is done for academic work. The question has generated significant press in recent years as the industry of essay writing has ballooned.
The Delegation and Student Workload Arguments
A writer for an essay writing service spoke The Huffington Post about the question and framed the problem as an issue of delegation. Their argument was it is impossible for students to do all their coursework, and essay writing is the only task they can delegate. The writer argued it's the schools' fault for having impossible expectations. While Hughes admitted it is still an ethical issue because students are submitting someone else's work as their own, he ended the article by placing the burden for change on colleges to "rethink their student workload."
A novelist and writing instructor addressed the question on Quora, and her assessment of essay writing services was not a gray area: if a student pays for an essay written by someone else, that student is lying to their professor. If you are writing academic essays for such a service, you must come to terms with that reality.
Academic Dishonesty Is Risky
A legal analysis by The Write Pass Journal theorizes how an essay service might land itself in legal trouble. If an essay writing service does not have sufficient disclaimers and a detailed Terms and Conditions Agreement, and if a student uses their essays and is expelled from school, the student might try to sue the essay writing company for not giving them sufficient warning. Admittedly, if an essay service provides upfront disclaimers, the consequences of dishonesty will likely fall squarely on the student.
Assessing Pros and Cons
If the above points are not enough to persuade you one way or the other, you can assess the question from a pros and cons perspective:
Despite the ethical questions, there are a few pros to writing for an essay service:
- If you love writing in any form, then you're getting paid to do what you love.
- Corporate ghostwriting is a legitimate, ethical practice done in-house or on contract by companies. Some of your clients may have nothing to do with academic work.
- Although the client may or may not be using your work for something ethical, they're clearly in need of your services and you are helping them.
While you might love getting paid to do something you like to do, there are some definite cons to writing for an essay service:
- Depending on what career you want to have in the future, some employers may have a negative reaction. If you ever plan to work in higher education, you can be sure interviewers will not be overly pleased about it.
- If you're hired to an essay writing service, and that service is engaging in unwise practices or dishonesty themselves (such as plagiarizing content and selling it as "original," or not providing clear disclaimers to clients absolving the company from liability), you might lose your job if the company gets in legal trouble or earns bad press and has to close.
- As The Atlantic has noted, the student is doing a disservice to themselves in the long run when they engage in contract cheating. Technically, you are enabling that behavior if you are doing academic work for students.
Is This Essay Writing Service Legitimate?
If you still intend to write for an essay writing service, you may be wondering how to choose a legitimate one. Remember, essay writing services are not illegal. However, they advertise themselves as only producing original content and never plagiarizing. It is wise to avoid any company that has received business complaints about plagiarism or does not have any clear disclaimers or terms and conditions given to the clients before the work is done.
If There Are Too Many Cons, Try This
If the ethical gray areas present too many negatives for you, writing for an essay service is probably not a good fit for you. If you still like the idea of helping people with writing, you can pursue a job as a writing tutor or college planning coach instead. That way, you can still work in a field you love and also help students find a more constructive path through their education.