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Cheating & Its Forms Among Students

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In life, everything comes at a price, and one can only gain something if they’re willing to sacrifice something of equal value. Whether good or bad, all of the actions and decisions we make throughout life come with consequences. Cheating is a deceptive act of academic misconduct that can put any student’s, specifically a college student, academic future in danger.

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Many students tend to cheat when they haven’t studied the material or they lack the skills it takes to keep up with the work. Therefore, they see cheating as a route in becoming successful or advancing in the course. For example, a college student has an upcoming algebra exam that they need to study for in order to pass the class, as the exam is 20% of their grade. However, the subject they have been learning is too hard for them to keep up with, and instead of trying to study or consult their instructor for extra help, they try to find creative yet insignificant ways of retrieving the answers to the exam. By doing this, the student isn’t benefiting from the education nor are they learning anything. Cheating hinders a student’s chances of learning important concepts, topics and knowledge that can greatly benefit them in their future.

Another significant cause is the pressure students receive from others to succeed. They’ve been coaxed into believing that if they don’t score high enough on their exams, then they’ll fail their classes. If they fail their classes, they can get rejected from the college they want to go to, which hinders their chances of getting to take the best academic courses for the career they wish to pursue. Thus, they develop a fear of failure, turning to cheating as an outlet. However, this pressure doesn’t just stem from professors and parents, it also comes from their peers.

Students are in constant competition with those around them to see whose grades are superior, which only hampers their focus on actually trying to learn and excel in the subject and increases their desire for a better grade. In particular, a student may notice that their good friend has been scoring considerably higher on all of their exams and assignments than they have. Rather than dedicating more time to studying, the student takes it upon themselves to cheat off of them on every exam. When it comes to cheating, students are unfairly taking advantage of those who work hard to become successful for their own personal benefit.

The effects of cheating vary, but the most common one would be class failure. Usually, getting caught purposefully cheating on an exam can lead to failing the class and even a call to a parent or legal guardian, but in some schools, the student might just fail the exam itself. It makes a lot more sense to have to make up a bad grade that has been earned fairly than one that’s been given from being dishonest.

There are many different forms of cheating, such as plagiarism, selling or posting material without the consent of the instructor, or copying or stealing someone else’s work. Each method can come with a different consequence depending on the severity of it, but none of them are beneficial in anyway. A failing grade from cheating can really put a damper on a student’s academic career because it stays on their permanent record all throughout their years of schooling.

Cheating can also lead to damaging a student’s reputation. When a college student is caught cheating, it goes on their transcript, which can inhibit their chances of transferring to a new school, graduating out of their college, or attending a postgraduate school. Alongside that, word travels around fast. Once people have found out that a student has been severely punished for cheating, they might start to question that person’s abilities, integrity and worth. Students can even be driven to withdraw due to the backlash of their actions. Having a good academic reputation is important in not just college, but school in general, but some students fail to take notice of this, which unfortunately costs them a big part of their future.

Before deciding to cheat, students should consider the consequences of getting caught and ask themselves if it’s truly worth it. Though college can be physically and mentally draining and stressful, in the end, hard work always pays off. The bottom line is that even though cheating is deemed as effortless, it takes more effort to rebuild a damaged reputation.

11 February 2020

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