A catch-22 is the only way to describe the position professors put us students in.

Whether it is an analysis of Emily Dickinson’s poetry or a research paper about the history of the Roman Empire, we are told to provide original ideas and support them with evidence.

It’s one thing to write a paper using your own ideas and back them up with personal opinions. However, how is it possible to write a creative and unique paper while using supportive evidence and not plagiarize in some way?

No matter what the topic, this problem commonly arises in the dreaded term paper.

The term paper has always been a staple in educators’ checklist of assignments.

With plagiarism becoming increasingly common, the question remains: should professors acknowledge that the term paper is dead?

The term paper is a critical way for professors to determine how well students process what they’ve learned in class and create something concrete to display their knowledge outside of the class.

For the exact reason term papers are a good idea, they have an equal downside, and that is the fact that they are done outside of the classroom, which paves the way for the inevitable: plagiarism.

With the dramatic increase in Internet usage over the past decade, the option to cut-and-paste has become increasingly attractive.

This isn’t to say that students are no longer doing the work, but after hours of research in the library, it simply makes more sense to cut-and-paste. After all, it’s not like what they are copying isn’t exactly what they were trying to say all along.

It’s time for teachers to acknowledge that students aren’t always going to classes full of enthusiasm and zest for the subject. The truth of the matter is that students take certain classes to fulfill requirements. That’s it.

Students are perfecting the skill of plagiarizing, or what may be thought of as “plagiarizing under the radar.”

Professors demand that we are creative and unique when stating our thesis.

This seems easy enough. It’s not too difficult to come up with an argumentative thesis to focus your paper on.

The challenge comes when professors look for support in your paper.

I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been in college that if you don’t quote several times per paragraph and use ample support for your thesis, your grade quickly dives from an A to a C.

The problem remains whether professors would rather have an original thesis or a well-supported paper. Professors should acknowledge that they simply cannot have both while the third component of plagiarism so commonly exists.

Perhaps there should be another, more efficient way for professors to examine our proficiency level in their class.

May I suggest an end to term papers and instead, short in-class presentations? This way, professors can pose any questions they may have directly to students. Then, regardless of how the students received their information, if they can hold up against the flaming questions from the professor, they should pass without question.

In the end, teachers need to acknowledge that students are taking classes primarily for the grades and not always for the subject matter. The stakes in college are so high and there is so much pressure, students do the best they can to get by. As long as students are doing the work and turning in assignments on time, I see no reason for term papers.

I don’t think there is anyone who can disagree that students are doing enough work during the semester.

The term paper is just an unnecessary use of precious time that reiterates concepts students already grasped during the school year.

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