Plagiarizers beware. Northeastern University’s College of Business is ready for your admissions essay hijinx. Starting this year, all essays will be checked for word thievery using the plagiarism detection service Turnitin, the same one now used by Penn State’s Smeal after discovering 29 cases of plagiarism from the 2010 admissions cycle. They have the technology!
Turnitin is considered an effective cheat deterrent because it can be integrated with the popular online-application tool ApplyYourself, which is used by more than half of the top graduate business school admissions offices. Turnitin once analyzed nearly half a million personal statements from the ‘06-’07 admissions cycle and found that 36 percent of the statements “contained significant (more than 10 percent) matching text.”
Some words of caution for those who think they couldn’t possibly…would never try to…it would be a cold day in hell before plagiarizing became an option: Committing an accidental act of phrasal piracy in this age of cut-and-paste and countless open browser windows is actually quite easy. A couple keystrokes, a diversion or two, a mental lapse and there you go—crib city. This technology can’t distinguish between accidental and intentional plagiarism. It’s best to be prudent, be vigilant about your Ctrl+Cs and Ctrl+Vs when writing your admission essays.
[Campus Technology, BW, Countrywide Similarity Report]