Brit university applicants caught with holes in their stories

iStockphoto.com Hundreds of British university applicants have been nailed for plagiarising “life experiences” from popular websites that help students with their university applications. The applicants were caught after a suspiciously large number of them, hoping to indicate their early interest in science, mentioned “burning a hole in their pyjamas at the age of eight” with their ...

603439_070309_pajamas_05.jpg
603439_070309_pajamas_05.jpg

iStockphoto.com

Hundreds of British university applicants have been nailed for plagiarising "life experiences" from popular websites that help students with their university applications. The applicants were caught after a suspiciously large number of them, hoping to indicate their early interest in science, mentioned "burning a hole in their pyjamas at the age of eight" with their chemistry sets. Three hundred and seventy medical course applications also expressed "fascination for how the human body works," and 175 included anecdotes involving an "elderly" or "infirm" grandfather. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) found that 5 percent of the 50,000 personal statements randomly surveyed contained "borrowed material," most of it from www.studential.com.

Fewer than one percent of applicants copied directly; the rest of them at least had the decency to modify their stories slightly. I mean, obviously no one will pick up on plagiarism if it's a sick grandmother, or if the hole was burnt in a sock. That's innovation at work.

iStockphoto.com

Hundreds of British university applicants have been nailed for plagiarising “life experiences” from popular websites that help students with their university applications. The applicants were caught after a suspiciously large number of them, hoping to indicate their early interest in science, mentioned “burning a hole in their pyjamas at the age of eight” with their chemistry sets. Three hundred and seventy medical course applications also expressed “fascination for how the human body works,” and 175 included anecdotes involving an “elderly” or “infirm” grandfather. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) found that 5 percent of the 50,000 personal statements randomly surveyed contained “borrowed material,” most of it from www.studential.com.

Fewer than one percent of applicants copied directly; the rest of them at least had the decency to modify their stories slightly. I mean, obviously no one will pick up on plagiarism if it’s a sick grandmother, or if the hole was burnt in a sock. That’s innovation at work.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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