College is a time full of pressure and high expectations. While you may feel you are up for the challenge, there may be times when you don’t think you can keep up with all the exams, reading and assignments. It’s at times like this that you may consider taking the “easy” way out by committing an academic offence such as cheating or plagiarism. Avoid making these serious mistakes in your student career by remembering a few pointers about being an ethical student.
Cheating other students
You may find yourself offered an advance copy of an exam that another student has accessed illegally. At first, this may seem like a great way to save time since you will only need to study the exact points covered on the test. But think for a minute what this will do to other students. You’re likely not the only one the thief is trying to sell answers to. If enough students in the class get advance copies of the exam, the average grade will be unusually high. This leads the institution to thinking the test questions were too easy. The next round of students will be unfairly punished with tougher questions because the cohort before them took the easy way out. Another outcome of this sort of cheating is that the teacher may realize too many students received high marks on the exam and will automatically throw out the results and re-do the test. This means you’re cheating didn’t get you any further ahead but that honest students are saddled with a repeat exam as well.
Stealing someone else’s ideas
Plagiarism is another shortcut that can land you in serious trouble. This includes using other people’s work without giving them credit and passing on someone else’s ideas as your own. This offence is easily caught nowadays with anti-plagiarism software that alerts the teacher to fraud, yet it is still attempted by many lazy writers. Just because the original author may not know you are using her work, this is still considered stealing. Think of all the time the writer spent shaping and crafting her work. The person who made those sacrifices should enjoy the credit, not a student who can’t be bothered to do the same. Many careers have been ruined because of plagiarism and colleges often use this as grounds to expel as student. Even if you think for a second you can get away with it, remember that this offense is never taken lightly and can result in expulsion.
If you still aren’t concerned about how cheating affects other people, remember that it always affects you. You are paying a lot of money to receive an education and sometimes the most valuable education is learning how to focus and work hard on your coursework. When you plagiarize or cheat, you are taking away your own opportunity to learn and grow. The skills developed while doing all the hard work required to earn a degree will help you be successful for the rest of your life. Don’t let a short-term temptation take that away from you.