Beware the Paper Mills – Unethical and Should Be Illegal!

Beware the Paper Mills!! They’re unethical and they SHOULD be illegal! Students should ALWAYS write their own papers, NOT cheat their way through school!



I’m sure you have seen them – ads offering the “opportunity” for students to PURCHASE papers (essays, research papers, even dissertations!!) crafted by “professional” writers.


I have looked into some of these companies (and have been contacted by still others) in the past, thinking that they might be offering writing/editing jobs to help students with editing, proofreading, and/or formatting papers ALREADY WRITTEN BY THE STUDENTS who just need help with producing polished copies, in the proper format (APA, MLA, etc.).


BUT … much to my consternation, they are truly just “paper mills” for lazy students (even doctoral candidates!) who don’t want to write their own MANDATORY essays, research papers, and even theses and dissertations!


Not only is this unethical – promoting academic dishonesty (it’s called CHEATING) – it mocks and corrupts the entire system of scholarly integrity. This act can also get students expelled from school, as it is expressly stated (in every set of guidelines I have ever seen) that papers must be the students’ OWN work!


As a lifelong learner, Master of Education degree holder, and soon-to-be Doctor of Education (and one who has always written my OWN papers) – this subject is a major pet peeve and REALLY bothers me, obviously!


I addressed this whole issue with representatives of more than one of these “paper mills” – and they even admitted that what they do is “less than honest.” (Yeah, no kidding!) They claimed they try to fly “under the radar” by using the lame rationalization/excuse that they only sell “sample papers” for students to use for “templates” for their OWN papers.


These paper mills claim it’s not the company’s “fault” if students misconstrue the intention of the “services” and use the papers as their own. I don’t believe this farce.  The companies indicate they hire specific types of writers, particularly those with higher education themselves in specialized subjects. Students place ORDERS for the exact content they need! These are NOT just “sample papers” from which students model their own. That’s merely a deceptive statement these companies post to cover themselves, because they KNOW what they’re doing is unethical (and like I said at the beginning, SHOULD be illegal, in my opinion).


I’m equally bothered by those writers who engage with these paper mills to help students cheat their way through school. I wonder how these writers, AND the students who retain such services, can sleep at night–if they ever have any trouble with their consciences bothering them.


I’m wondering how these students who cheat with papers they have NOT written themselves can possibly pass tests, or successfully defend a thesis or dissertation when they never did the research to support the work. I’ve heard from instructors this is often when cheaters get caught!


So seriously, is it worth it? Not in my opinion! Why jeopardize the time, at least some effort, and expense of pursuing a degree by cheating and likely getting caught, dismissed, and then have something like that on one’s record?


For writers who actually engage in this unethical business, I know for sure they won’t get paid adequately for their time (I’ve seen the rates). From experience, I know how many hours, days, weeks, and even months go into the research and writing of graduate level papers, theses, and dissertations. So for writers, I’d ask the same question: is it worth it? Again, not in my opinion. The time and effort invested far outweighs the pay, plus there’s the guilt of knowing those papers have helped students cheat their way through school.


I’ve heard questions asked and they have merit regarding students who cheat by using paper mills: would you seriously want to engage the services of any kind of professional or medical personnel who never really learned their respective subjects thoroughly?  Imagine the potential consequences…

As my husband always says, “Risk versus reward.”



So what do YOU think?


Do you agree that “paper mills” are unethical?


Would you discourage others from writing for “paper mills” or using their services?




2 thoughts on “Beware the Paper Mills – Unethical and Should Be Illegal!”
  1. I never thought I would see a world with so much out-in-the-open dishonesty. I’ve known about this kind of “industry” for years but haven’t ever worked in the educational field. But those who cheat find themselves unprepared for the world after school, and those who manage (I used to be a manager at my job)have to help pick up the pieces.

  2. Karen, I agree the paper content mills need to be illegal. Cheaters always were disciplined in school – so why is it to cheat by getting your assignment or exam “content” online? It is still cheating! Since I started writing for hire, I have looked at various websites to find jobs. The paper mill type jobs look promising until you read the fine print and the usual lack of a good paycheck. I did not write others’ papers in school. Why would I do it now?! i wouldn’t! Great article! ~Adrienne

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