Why Admission Essay Originality is Crucial to Accepting the Right Applicant

When students submit their college admission essays, writing skills aren’t the only thing on display to educational institutions. Admission officers can also get an insight into the applicant’s personality, interests, ambitions, and passion in life. 

College essay plagiarism is more serious than many people think. If admissions officers don’t address issues of plagiarism in college applications, applicants could carry this propensity for taking unethical shortcuts into their college life and onwards to their careers. Admissions officers need to detect potential plagiarism in applicants’ essays to protect the integrity of the college and its education programs. 

Read on as we discuss the importance of original thinking in college applications, and why it’s critical to identify college essay plagiarism before enrollment.

Importance of original thinking in college admissions

A college admission essay opens the door to help colleges understand the applicant on a deeper level. Rather than just focusing on the writing, admission officers get a sense of the applicant’s work ethic and thought process.

Applicants who take the time to develop an original piece of writing can present their unique vision and demonstrate their passion for mastering the subject of their interest. With persuasive, original content and good writing, a student can prove they possess the intellect, tenacity, and integrity to work hard. These students are genuinely interested in the subject material, and they’re hungry to learn. This is exactly what college administrators are looking for when accepting new students. 

In short, the student leverages their college admission essay for its intended purpose: to prove they are a desirable candidate for the school. On the contrary, a plagiarised essay is a strong indicator of a student’s negligent attitude.

With that in mind, identifying unoriginal papers before enrollment is crucial to the long-term success of the school and its students. In doing so, you reduce the threat of academic misconduct at your institution and accept more dedicated, passionate students who will help foster a culture of original thinking and innovation.

What is college essay plagiarism?

College essay plagiarism is when the written aspects of an application for higher education entry contain the use of existing sources without proper credit attributed to the original author. 

Sometimes, students will copy or paraphrase other works available online. However, it is essential to cite and reference any instances of borrowed materials correctly. If students don’t do this—whether it was deliberate or not—colleges might consider this unethical theft of intellectual property.

3 benefits of using a plagiarism checker for academic admissions

In September 2019, DreamApply integrated Turnitin SimCheck to help educational institutions check for college essay plagiarism. SimCheck by Turnitin gives DreamApply’s customers an integrated solution to check the originality of applicant essays at scale. Here are three good reasons to incorporate plagiarism detection software in your admission workflow:

You can check for plagiarism quickly


Integrated with DreamApply, SimCheck saves admissions officers a lot of time. You can review applications quickly, checking the content against a vast online database of millions of written materials.

You get intuitive feedback about similarities


SimCheck by Turnitin makes it easy to detect copied aspects of an applicant’s paper. You can see matching elements in highlights and also get a similarity percentage. Ultimately, this detailed evaluation enables you to make informed admission decisions.

You have support to maintain your college’s integrity and reputation

Admissions officers play a vital role in preserving the college’s reputation. As they use college admission software to check for plagiarism, they can filter out unsuitable candidates and limit entry to honest, hard-working applicants who display a genuine interest and passion for producing original work.

How DreamApply customers can verify the originality of written work


Scanning thousands of documents, databases, and web pages,  SimCheck can easily and reliably verify the originality of an essay. Here are several features of this tool that help admissions officers improve their process of identifying text similarity in written works:

  • Access to the largest global database of live and archived websites. SimCheck compares written work to 91 billion current and archived internet pages: every day 102 million pages are re-crawled and 22 million new pages are added.
  • Color-coded text matches. When using the tool, you can see the Sources Overview in the sidebar. Through color-coding and highlighted text, it’s easy to identify text matches and look into every matching source.
  • Text manipulation panel. Some students will attempt to trick Turnitin’s algorithms by using white or extremely tiny fonts or character swapping. The text manipulation panel brings your attention to suspicious text modifications by flagging them in the Similarity Report.
  • Citation detection & exclusions. You can exclude sources, text matches, and entire repositories from the Similarity Report. With this approach, you can produce a more accurate similarity score by reducing noise and any false positives in the reports.

Wrap Up

When faced with the pressure of creating an impressive application, students might turn to other academic papers or essays for inspiration. However, it is vital that they correctly cite and reference all sources in their written work. 

College essay plagiarism is a sign of a student who isn’t fully dedicated to their application or the school. Admissions officers need to discourage dishonesty and steer students toward original thinking before they carry this bad habit into their careers. 

While detecting plagiarism is important, it’s often a time-consuming process. With the assistance of DreamApply and Turnitin, admissions officers can approach this process with a much more efficient strategy, saving valuable time.

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