College Students Cheating: Reasons and What to Avoid

College Students Cheating:  Reasons and What to Avoid
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Cheating in College

Is cheating wrong? Some may think that cheating is only bad if the students are caught.

However, colleges across the nation do believe that it is very wrong and discipline the college students who cheat. If a student is tempted to cheat, he or she really needs to think about the consequences of his or her actions.

Cheating can result in failing a class or even forfeiting a degree. This can mean loss of a great deal of money to the student and possibly the student’s parents, not to mention the embarrassment of being caught. In addition, the consequences of cheating in college can be far reaching as they can result in bad recommendations for future jobs.


High School Cheaters to College Cheaters

Lawrence M. Hinman reported in the The Washington Post, “How to Fight College Cheating” that 74% of high school students admit to cheating on one or more tests. Cheating in high school can sometimes result in a repeat performance in college. Does this mean that more college students will be cheating in the future?

In addition, electronic devices such as cell phones and PDAs are making easier to cheat on tests or homework. Students can find many papers online for free or for a price at a variety of websites.

Only time will tell if more college students will cheat. However, to understand why the number of college students who cheat, one must understand what motivates them.

Why College Students Cheat

If the consequences are detrimental to a student’s reputation and bank account, why would a college student cheat? The root of the cheating problem can quite possibly be traced back to about three main reasons:

  1. procrastination
  2. it is easier to cheat than to do the work
  3. the pressure for good grades is stronger than the resistance to do the right thing

Now, of course there are more reasons than the three listed. However, many students will be able to identify with these three reasons. Whatever the reason for college students cheating, they need to understand the consequences, and that college instructors are taking many precautions to catch students who plagiarize their papers or even copy answers.

Catching the Cheaters

A whole industry or websites have sprung up to help college instructors catch plagiarism. However, there is just as much energy going into beating the system. Instructors have many tools at their disposal to catch the plagiarizers and cheaters. The website explains how each tool works and many of them are free to use.

In addition to catching student plagiarizing in their papers, there are also tools to help catch students who are online cheaters. Now that so many classes are offered online, the temptation to cheat may be even greater.

Avoiding Cheating in College

Solutions to the three reasons why college students cheat listed earlier in this article will be shown to help students be successful without acting in a fraudulent manner. First and foremost, college students can avoid cheating by developing effective study habits.

Stop Procrastinating

For some, procrastination is a way of life. Quite simply, you have to stop putting things off until the last minute. To do this, you need to get organized. Buy an agenda book or calendar. Many cell phones and computers have a calendar and reminder system that can be used instead of a paper one. Once you have selected the type of agenda or calendar, write down every single assignment.

Next, make a plan to get the work done. If you have a paper due, start on it a week or two in advance. If you have a test, start studying a week in advance rather than starting the night before. You will retain the information much better.

Also, try to find a study partner or group to help keep you focused. Just by going to meetings, you will begin to stop the procrastination.

Cheating is Easier

Cheating may indeed be easier. However, you are in college to learn skills and information to help land you a job after completing your degree. If you do not know the information you are supposed to learn in class, how will you be successful in your career?

So, learn the information and write the paper yourself!

Pressure to Make the Grade

If you are feeling the pressure to keep a certain GPA, you may need to find additional help and/or tutoring. However, you may need to change majors if you cannot handle the workload.

So, before cheating on your next exam or plagiarizing you next paper, try to do the work yourself. You can do this by stopping the procrastination, learning the important information and knowing your academic limits.


picture reference: Kellie Hayden