It\u2019s not often we invoke William Blake in the title of a blog post, but there are some \u2018dark Satanic mills\u2019 we want to highlight. And while Blake wrote about the grimy factories of the Industrial Revolution, we\u2019re interested in something that is plaguing academic writing: essay mills.\n\n[caption id="attachment_6442" align="aligncenter" width="341"] An essay mill, belching essay fumes into the sky.[\/caption]\nWhat Are Essay Mills?\nAn essay mill is a business that offers to write academic papers for students.\n\n[caption id="attachment_6443" align="alignright" width="197"] The owner of an essay mill.(Image: J.J.)[\/caption]\n\nTypically, they ask the student for a topic, a word count and a deadline, then promise to deliver a paper to that specification. Similar to this, essay banks sell pre-written papers to students. This is cheaper, but easier to spot.\n\nThese businesses target ESL students and other people who may struggle to express their ideas clearly. Legally, they get around accusations of fraud by saying that the essays are just \u2018models\u2019 that students should use to generate ideas. However, they are essentially a form of cheating.\n\nRecently, there have even been calls for universities to block essay mill sites.\nWhy Should I Avoid Them?\nFirst of all, submitting a paper that you have not written is plagiarism. As such, if you\u2019re caught submitting a paper that came from an essay mill or an essay bank, it will count as academic fraud.\n\nBut if this isn\u2019t reason enough to avoid essay mills, keep the following in mind:\n\n \tSoftware such as Turnitin can automatically spot plagiarism\n \tEssay mills can charge hundreds of pounds for longer documents\n \tMany mills charge up front, so they may just take your money and run\n \tEven if they write an essay, you have no guarantee of quality\n\nIn other words, if you use essay mills, you stand the chance of losing hundreds of pounds, getting a poorly written essay, and then getting kicked off your course for plagiarism!\nWhat Can I Do Instead?\nThe most important thing is to write your own work. It doesn\u2019t have to be perfect, but you do need to get your ideas down on paper as best as you can. After that, we can help.\n\nOur essay proofreading service focuses on several things, including:\n\n \tCorrecting spelling, grammar and punctuation errors\n \tEnsuring vocabulary is suitably academic\n \tMaking sure that terminology is consistent\n \tChecking that all sources are referenced\n \tMaking small changes to ensure your writing is clear and concise\n\nWe never, however, change your work in a way that would risk plagiarism.\n\nAnd yes, you do have to do most of the work yourself. But think about it this way: at the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing that you have a well-written paper without sacrificing your academic honesty. Which, if you ask us, has to be better than lying awake at night wondering if you\u2019ll get caught!