MBA News: Application Essays Screened for Plagiarism

Failing to adhere to standards of academic integrity before even getting into business school will likely put a swift end to your candidacy.  Bloomberg Businessweek reports that dozens of applications—48 at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business and 15 at UCLA Anderson so far this season—are tossed out each year after being checked by Turnitin for Admissions, a service that scans applicants’ essays for plagiarism. Only four MBA programs make use of Turnitin (the other two are Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and the Wake Forest School of Business), but approximately 15 different schools reportedly subscribe to the service. At Smeal, plagiarism is up approximately 8% from last year, and at Anderson, the number of applicants rejected for plagiarism may hit 70, up from 52 applicants rejected in the first two rounds last year. While some of these incidents arise from cultural differences, many simply involve applicants borrowing passages directly from essay Web sites, Wikipedia, Bloomberg Businessweek and even the schools’ own sites. In the end, candidates must be clear about essay guidelines and expectations. Taking shortcuts will only prove a waste of time if doing so lands your entire application in the recycling bin.

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