This week Scott Jaschik wrote an excellent article for Inside Higher Ed on how college admissions offices are beginning to make use of Turnitin to catch students who have plagiarized their admissions essays. So far the practice has been used mostly for graduate admissions, but it probably won't be long before undergraduate admission offices start screening essays as well. As Jaschik reports, Turnitin is in conversation with theCommon Application, and it's easy to see a future where electronically submitted essays are immediately run through a plagiarism detection program. For a thoughtful discussion of the issue, be sure to read Jaschik's article, "Finding Applicants Who Plagiarize."
A quick word of warning to college applicants who might be tempted to submit admission essays that are not their own work: the consequences can be severe. Whether you cut and paste part of your essay from the web or hire someone else to write it, you are creating a fraudulent application. If caught, your admission will likely be rescinded. Worse, if your plagiarism is detected after you attend college, your course credits and even your diploma can be taken away because of the falsified application.
by Allen Grove, About.com