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Checking for Plagiarism in University Application Documents

Updated: Sep 24

Plagiarism is one of the most common academic violations and can have severe consequences for a student's future. In a recent study, plagiarism was found to be present in 38% of undergraduate student papers. Using someone else's ideas or words without properly citing the source is against the law, and students are responsible for ensuring that their writing does not infringe on others' intellectual property. If a student plagiarizes his work, he may be accused of academic dishonesty and have his/her grades, scholarship opportunities, or even graduation status impacted.



Why Is Checking for Plagiarism Important?


It is essential to check your statement of purpose and essays for plagiarism before submitting them to the university for several reasons. First, plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty, and schools may punish students who plagiarize their work. Second, submitting a paper that contains copied content will reflect negatively on you as a student and show that you are not taking the course seriously. The admissions committee will see this as a lack of effort on your part, which will affect their decision as to whether or not you are a good fit for the program. Finally, submitting plagiarized work undermines the academic integrity of the institution you are attempting to enrol in. Even accidental instances of plagiarism are unacceptable, so you must understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it before you submit your written work to your instructors or submit it to a school website.


What Constitutes Plagiarism?


The most common types of plagiarism include copying a sentence or paragraph directly from another source and failing to cite the source; copying a sentence or paragraph and then changing a few words in order to claim it as your own; and changing the order of the words in a sentence or paragraph to avoid highlighting similarities with the original text.


In order to prevent yourself from committing plagiarism, you should follow a few simple guidelines. First, be sure to cite any sources you use in your research, as failing to do so is considered plagiarism. You should also avoid copying or paraphrasing information directly from another source without rewording it in your own words to ensure that you do not accidentally copy the original text. Finally, avoid using the exact wording as the source material when describing your ideas to avoid accusations of plagiarism.


How Do Universities Check for Plagiarism In A Student's Essay?


In order to check for plagiarism, most schools use software programs that analyze the content of the essay and compare it to the works cited page to ensure that the student did not copy content from a source without permission. In addition, some programs provide a list of similar phrases or text copied from another source, which can help the student identify the source of the error.


What is the Acceptable Percentage of Plagiarism in Your Essays?


The acceptable plagiarism percentage will vary from program to program, but most schools will have a minimum percentage threshold to determine whether or not the submitted essay contains plagiarized content. This percentage is usually around 10%, but some programs have a lower limit to weed out students who attempt to submit fraudulent applications. For example, Harvard University has a threshold of 0% for all undergraduate applicants. However, most graduate programs will allow a higher percentage of plagiarism as long as it does not affect the quality of the application.


How to Check Plagiarism in a Document


There are various online tools that can help identify instances of plagiarism, as well as provide explanations as to why a certain portion of the text contains material from other sources. Some common tools include the Hemingway Editor, Grammarly, Copyscape, and Turnitin. Different tools have different strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to find the one that works best for you. The Hemingway Editor can be used to check for grammatical errors and readability. This tool is free and does not require registration. Grammarly is another excellent tool for checking grammar and spelling errors as well as for checking for plagiarism. It is free to use with basic features available at no cost. However, the premium version allows the user to get in-depth reports on grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Copyscape is a free tool that allows you to compare text that you provide with a reference document that contains the same information. It provides a side-by-side comparison to see where the text differs. Turnitin is another free tool that is available for both students and teachers. The teacher account allows you to submit assignments to students and check them for plagiarism. The student account can be used to check your work for originality and submit it to your teacher for grading. Using these tools can help you identify potential instances of plagiarism so that you can correct them before handing in your work.


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