Of course, it’s a fuzzy line, but I have to feel comfortable that I haven’t crossed it.” It goes without saying that a student shouldn’t have someone else write their entire college admissions essay for them, whether it’s a friend, parent, college advisor, or a professional writer.
But what about the fuzzier areas, like when a student portrays himself or herself as better than they are?
But what is more important than the definition of plagiarism, and whether it is possible to "self-plagiarize," is the ethics behind self-plagiarism.
Publications manuals have a set standard regarding self-plagiarism.
While there is a chance a student won’t be caught, do they really want to risk it. If a student delivered meals to homebound senior citizens in their community, he or she shouldn’t write that they ended world hunger.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with presenting yourself in a positive way.
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to see if a student really has received a major award or a significant ranking, whether it’s in music or sports.
Some universities like MIT have even hired private investigators to check up on student claims.
The Oxford English Dictionary (2011) defines plagiarism as taking the work of another as "literary theft." The verb to "plagiarize" is defined as: According to the OED definition, in the strict sense recycling papers would not be plagiarism.
However, Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2011) defines to "plagiarize" similarly with the additional description in the second definition below: So, in the Webster definition, recycling one's own papers would fall under "to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source" and is, therefore, considered plagiarism.