Ghostwriting: “nothing to be ashamed of”

Ghostwriting is an unfair phenomenon in the academic environment. (Photo: Meraki Communication)

Students who are studying abroad seem to struggle for their assignments. They are always worried about the due dates and grades. Hence, ghostwriting gets popular among overseas students.

Ghostwriting refers to hire someone to write something for you, and the writer will use your name to pretend the article is your original work. There are even distinct prices for the work, depending on what degree you take, what subject you enrolled in, and what degree you would like to achieve.

“We just write a lot. “

Michael*, a Chinese student who is currently studying in Australia, has been using a ghostwriter to finish his assignments.

Michael said majoring in culture was not like other “professional subjects”, because it did not ask students to understand some mathematical techniques or knowledge, such as accounting and architecture.

Michael said most of his assignments were essays, which require you to read at least five relevant articles to get started.

“It takes so much time just to finish one task, and I just want to finish my study as soon as I can, and don’t fail any subject, and then I can graduate finally,” said Michael.

In the meantime, it is also challenging for international students, who are not getting used to writing in English.

“(Because) English is not my first language, sometimes I am so confused, and I can hardly understand the articles,” Michael said.

“At first I tried to do it by myself, but I got low grades. And I thought why I have to do it by myself? If I have money to hire someone else to do my assignment, I can get higher grades, and I don’t think it is a problem.”

Michael said he used the ghostwriter to get higher grades.

If you want to get HD, you can buy it.

Michael approached a ghostwriter named Frances* on Weibo. When he found out using a ghostwriter to do the essay could get higher marks, he decided to keep using this service with his homework.

Unlike the normative academic plagiarism, ghostwriting is harder to be found out, if you use this service from the beginning of the semester until the end, the tutor may believe it is your writing style and skill.

“Turnitin can’t detect anything because she didn’t just copy other’s work. She followed the standard and requirement of the assignment, and she used references. So the teacher will believe it is my original work,” Michael said.

“Sometimes if I contact her when it is urgent, like two or three days later (the due date come), she will ask for higher price.

“I am not ashamed of it. I think I just pay to get what I want.”

“I am professional.”

Frances, the ghostwriter Michael found online, has been doing her business on WeChat and Weibo since 2013.

“I use these platforms to promote my business. I think many students have this kind of trouble, so I believe I can earn some money from it,” Frances says.

Unlike some unreliable and unidentified ghostwriters who could be found online, Frances said she charged reasonably because of her profession.

“I was graduated from a US business school, so I understand the rules and standards (of assignments),” Frances said.

Frances said she had been a ghostwriter for about four years and the best grade she got for Australian students is a High Distinction.

Frances asked for assessment requirements and promised the assessment would be original with a reference list. (Screenshot: Jiayang Liao)

“I am confident with my writing style and results. I can write different types of essays for most of the majors, as long as they are academic related,” Frances says.

Frances said sometimes some students are caught by their tutors because her writing style was different to theirs.

“If they finished the essay by themselves and submitted their article before (they find a ghostwriter), they would be found. Tutors may question the different writing style.”

“So I offer different grades for a different price. Some students may think it is too risky to get an HD, because it may seem too fake for them to accomplish a grade like that,” Frances said.

The price for Frances is usually 1RMB [about 20 cents] for one word, and it will be increased if the assignment is urgent.

Besides from academic articles, Frances can also do some accounting online quizzes or exams because she graduated from this major.

A booming market

Various websites are providing ghostwriting. If you search “ghostwriting” in Chinese or English on Google, most of the advertisements of ghostwriters will show up.

Assignment grade and degree are the pricing factors of ghostwriting.

In the ghostwriting market, the price usually depends on the word counts, subjects, grades, and so on. The primary factor that affects the price is what kind of major you want the ghostwriter to do the job. For example, Chinese students mostly are majoring business, management, and economics, which are commonly cheaper, because the assignments are case study and analysis. However, as for the engineering, physics, or mathematics, it usually costs more for the calculation and design.

There are individual ghostwriters and agency ghostwriters in the market. The charges are different depending on whether the writer is from domestics or foreign countries. The basic price of a 1000-word essay is worth from 600 to 1500 RMB for agency ghostwriters. For an international agency, it usually goes from 200 to 350 AUD.

Furthermore, the cost of agency and advertisement fees for ghostwriters can also influence the price.

Academic dishonesty

Australian universities have strict requirements and standards for students to follow. The University of Sydney has stated its rules about academic dishonesty and plagiarism, along with the punishment, on its official website:

“As a student of the University, you are expected to promote a culture of academic integrity. We consider any attempt to gain academic advantage by dishonest or unfair means to be academic dishonesty – it is unacceptable.”

(*To protect the privacy of parties, “Michael” and “Frances” are both aliases.)

See also:

Why is Ghostwriting not Always Considered Plagiarism?

Three ways to stop students using ghost writers

1 Comment

  1. Wow. This is really powerful. I applied for an editing job via the uni’s career site at the beginning of the year. I was sent an email later warning me it might involve essay ghostwriting, so didn’t proceed with the application. Looking at it from a student POV doesn’t change my mind, but certainly has been an interesting read.

Leave a Reply