Cheating in college is a common practice. Whether it’s plagiarism, using improper resources, paying someone to do your assignments or exams or something else, no student or instructor is immune to it. Many institutes admit it while others simply deny it, which is part of the problem.
Yes, through every definition of the word, cheating is bad in college and it can have severe consequences. But it doesn’t stop students from cheating anyway. According to various researches, around 60-70% of the students admit cheating in college due to different reasons. And it is a far better way to avoid studying or learning skills. Due to technological advancements and innovation, it is likely that the real percentage is much higher than this.
Cheating might seem like an ideal way if a student is looking for a shorter way to pass the course or trying to avoid an F grade, or finds it hard to complete his or her research paper. While the consequences of cheating range from temporary expulsion to legal actions.
Reasons Why Students Cheat in College
You cannot justify any reason to cheat in college either in-home assignments or in exams. There are few reasons why students cheat in college.
Getting good grades
Students want to get high grades in the class that is why they cheat in their class assignments and tests. Lack of confidence is the core reason for cheating in college. Students who do not have confidence in their skills, look up for other sources which they believe more than themselves.
Fear of failure
Getting low grades or F grades in a subject compels the students to go for any shorter way to solve their assignments either by plagiarizing their work or by hiring a person to write it.
Time management skills
Not starting their assignments early enough or having a lot of projects can overwhelm the students and the easier way they find at the last hour is to copy or cheat it from any other source.
Having a lack of interest in the given work can be a reason why most college students cheat on their assigned tasks. A simple, boring topic can make students lose their interest in solving it. Teachers should assign creative and critical homework which enhances their analytical skills, it can avoid the chance of cheating as it will be based on their own thoughts.
Students don’t do their assignments just because they don’t feel like doing it. Spending a lot of work on games and outdoor activities shift their interest and in the end, they just want to copy the work of their mates.
What is Punishment if you are Caught Cheating in College?
The consequences of cheating in college range from temporary expulsions to severe legal hitches.
Every academic institute has different rules and regulations regarding cheating. Some institutes impose minimum penalties while others go for legal actions. The minimum punishment you can get is failure or getting an F grade in the assignment while cheating in the exam might lead to failure in the subject, that’s how severe the penalty is according to the cheating.
If a student is not a habitual cheater and has only done it once, some institutes place them on academic probation and monitor their work. They can also give the student a new assignment to complete in a given period of time, and if they are caught in an exam they might have to attempt a new paper too.
Suspension or expulsion
Institutes have strict policies regarding students who are habitual of cheating and get caught many times before. They can be suspended or expelled from the institute, and the institute can put the proceedings of such cases in their transcript which can be accessible to future employers.
If a student got admission to a college with a scholarship and he or she got caught, it is highly likely that the student will have their scholarship revoked.
If your cheating comes under the case of plagiarism, then there is going to be legal action by the author whose work the student has copied from. As a result of Copyright infringement, students can be sued and it can cause heavy penalties or fines on the student. At the college level, it is going to be less expected but it is still a possibility.
Being accused of cheating in the college can damage a student’s reputation, any offense like this can be noted down in his official transcript and can be open to any future employer, or can be a glitch if that student wants to take admission at a new college. Personal reputation can also be tainted in a way that instructors can be uncertain of the work submitted by them.
Above mentioned penalties can happen after getting caught cheating in college whether in your assignment or in an exam. So, it is really important that you understand its severity.
Alternatives to Cheating
Cheating might be an easy way out at a specific time, but it is just temporary and if you get caught it is definitely not worth it to taint your academic transcript and reputation. There are various ways you can avoid cheating in college.
Research and learn
Researching and reading about the topic given by your instructor is the best way to avoid any kind of cheating and plagiarism. You can learn about the topic and then write it in your own words in exams or in assignments.
Make study groups
Creating a group of your classmates can explain the ideas better and can give a new perspective on the topic, which can give more knowledge while doing tasks and solving exams.
Ask for help
If it is not possible, you can ask your senior year mates or a tutor for help regarding the topic. Furthermore, you can also ask for help on online platforms, multiple answers can give insight to your topic.
Now we come to a really common problem in colleges and universities, it can happen that your college or university professor accuses you of cheating, without any proof. What to do in this situation? Following is the complete overview if you entangle yourself in such situations.
What if your Professor Accuses you of Cheating?
Being accused of cheating in college can cause your reputation and can cause problems for your future. So if your professor accuses you of cheating, one should take it seriously. The consequences range from being temporarily expelled to getting an F grade.
What to Do if Accused?
If your professor or instructor accuses you of cheating, the first question you should ask yourself is whether he has proof on which he can base his argument. Ask yourself:
- Does he have any eyewitness or documents to prove it?
- Does he have any emails or texts to show in regard to proof?
If the answer is no, then it is not possible for him to accuse you of cheating. And if yes, you still need to fight it. Because being blamed for cheating can affect your future permanently.
After you look at your situation seriously, seek help from a lawyer or from the student union and give them all the relevant information regarding your case so they can guide you properly. Seek help before you reach out to your institute regarding it.
There are multiple reasons for one act, so try to find those in your situation. If it is regarding cheating in an exam, your mobile might be switched off and your invigilator misunderstood the situation. And if it is about online plagiarism, it is likely that you only copied a few lines from an online source. So, look for any loose links.
Keep it in your mind that your professor or instructor can only accuse you of cheating, but cannot convict you by his own will. The final decision will be taken by the committee. Accusations of cheating are serious moral and ethical allegations, but such complaints are always evaluated and accessed by Ethical Committees of academic institutes.
So prepare yourself for the hearing only and be ready to appeal the decision if it doesn’t go your way.
The dire consequences of cheating in college and universities lie between getting an F or repeating the course to expulsion and suspension. There are many reasons why students cheat and there are also many ways cheating can be or should be avoided. If you think that you are not able to complete the assignment or paper by yourself, start early and seek help from your fellows or people who have the subject knowledge, rather than doing something grave and staining your future admission and job for life.