It is quite familiar for students applying for scholarships or graduate schools to write personal statements. Being tasked with the duty of ascertaining whether they are the actual authors of the statements might appear as being redundant, but such a requirement would not make me angry.
Among the reasons is the psychological aspect that comes with the certification. Posing this requirement makes applicants think hard before they commence working on their personal statements. There are several questions going through their mind. What would happen if I copied the statement and the school found out? Would they find out? Such questions make the students fear for their chances of joining the desired institution. The uncertainty that comes with presenting work that is not original creates an element of fear. The students will write their own original work since they do not want to run the risk of being caught and fail to be admitted for the graduate studies or approval for the scholarship at hand. This is because it would feel really bad since it is something that they would have avoided.
There is evidence that a lot of students tend to cheat while in college. There are various mechanisms being used. For out of class assignments, students tend to use third parties to undertake the assignments on their behalf. There are a variety of websites designated for this particular task. The habit tends to build up, and students that did not use these mechanisms before get absorbed into the practice. As a result, there are high stakes involved when the application for graduate schools and scholarships come into play. This makes it quite rational to believe that there is a possibility of students cheating in their personal statements during the applications.
There is a lot of cheating and exaggeration going on, so it is reasonable to try and ensure that students are not involved in the practices. However, the inclusion of the certification requirement is not a sure proof to this problem. The relevant stakeholders should come up with better mechanisms for ensuring that students write their own personal statements during applications.
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