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Burnt Pajamas Again?

In the U.K., it’s been discovered that five percent of medical-school applicants cheat on their application forms by plagiarizing material in their personal essays.

It is hardly news, of course, that students will cheat (or, for that matter, teachers). Consider the following snapshot from Google Trends, which compares search queries for “term paper” (in blue) and “animal rights” (in red). Based on this search and other similar ones, it would seem that the practice of buying term papers is very much alive.


But doesn’t it strike you as a bit more unseemly to rip off information for your personal essay to get into med school? Especially when the stolen bits are so hackneyed? Consider this:

[The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service] said 370 applications contained a statement starting with “a fascination for how the human body works.” A total of 234 included a statement relating a dramatic incident involving “burning a hole in pyjamas at age eight,” and 175 candidates wrote about “an elderly or infirm grandfather.”

(Hat tip: Cyril Morong)