Know Your Rights: What to do if you've been accused of contract cheating
Contract cheating is a crime against originality. Source: LinkedIn Sales Navigator/Unsplash

Can I apply for work as an international student in my host country? What are my wage rights? Am I allowed to join protests and class walkouts? If I had a run-in with the authorities, what should I do? To help you understand the extent and limitations of your rights as a student abroad, Study International will provide the answers to all these burning questions and more through our “Know Your Rights” article series. Have a question you want to be answered? Email us at

Have you ever taken your time on an essay or an academic assignment and felt extremely proud after sending it to your professor?

Imagine if after those weeks of hard work, all those days spent typing and those hours you dedicated to tiring research, you found out that your tutor has accused you of contract cheating.

All that effort, time, passion and dedication suddenly turns to dust.

All that hard work for nothing. Source: Giphy

What is contract cheating?

For those who haven’t heard the term, contract cheating refers to the use of online essay mills.

Contract cheaters are often people who need an academic assignment or project written fast and hope to receive a high grade after submission. By signing up to an online essay mill, users remain anonymous and pay digital writers or freelance journalists to produce the work for them.

By handing in a piece of work that was originally written by an essay mill or a ‘ghost writer’, you breach the academic principles of originality and are technically a cheat.

As The Times (UK) explains in a recent article about contract cheating, ” Essay cheat sites are brazen, but the dishonest practice they peddle is not currently illegal and is difficult to stop. These ‘essay mills’ state that their products are ‘never resold’, tailor their service and price to a grade standard, for example a first or a 2:1, and they guarantee plagiarism-free essays, many of which come with a certified ‘clean’ report from Turnitin, the software used by most universities to detect plagiarism.”

What happens if I’ve been falsely accused of academic plagiarism?

On the grounds that you haven’t cheated and you wish to appeal your sentence, here are a few simple tips you can use to prove that it was a false accusation:

  • Did you use detailed notes to write up your essay/project? If so, gather these as written evidence to show your professor or tutor. Any files with research relating to the project will showcase the hours you spent writing up your work, highlighting that paying an essay mill would have been a waste of time.
  • Do your essay word documents have any time stamps on them? This will be useful to show the university when you wrote your essay and when you wrote the notes.
  • Set up a face-to-face meeting with your professor or tutor to discuss why and how they’ve come to the conclusion that you cheated. By talking it through with them and expressing your concerns, they could show some lenience.
  • If your professor or tutor can’t assist you further, try talking to your student union or campus support team. By taking your evidence with you and appealing your case again, you may have a second chance at preventing the university from taking further action against your name.
  • Try and share your story with student forums. There’s a lot out there about contract cheating and false accusations. If you feel as though you’ve been mistreated and ignored by your university, speak up and don’t allow these misrepresentations of character ruin your future!

With the help of technological evidence, you could be successful! Source: Giphy

If you have any further concerns, you can always contact us at We’re here to help!

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