48 applicants to Penn State’s MBA program were rejected due to plagiarism in their admissions essays, according to an article last week from Bloomberg Businessweek. The school used Turnitin, a website which checks submissions against websites, other student papers, and publications for consistencies that would be considered plagiarism.
While the applications states that the essays will be checked for plagiarism, the number of applicants who plagiarized went up from eight percent to ten percent over the last two admission cycles.
“Every year it’s a new applicant pool,” said MBA Managing Director Carrie Marcinkevage to Businessweek. “I also think they just don’t pay attention. They don’t read the fine print on our website. Applicants are so much in the mindset of selecting and getting into a school. It’s just not on their radar.”
Despite the fact that the Smeal website clearly states that all essays will be reviewed for plagiarism, Marcinkevage said that many of the plagiarism examples come from international applicants in East Asian countries, where borrowing from published sources without attribution is an accepted practice.
Penn State also claims that the use of Turnitin has decreased the amount of plagiarism from a few cases a year to none in academic classes. Check out the the article in Businessweek for more on the trends of plagiarism in higher education.