Cheating in the College Classroom

Learn the truth about cheating on college campuses and what colleges are doing about it.

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Cheating on college quizzes, exams, homework and projects is widespread at colleges and universities around the country.

Have college students always been so morally corrupt?

Each college has a different honor code, and it is important that you understand yours so that you don’t accidentally get yourself in trouble.

Studies show that cheating has grown significantly during the past 60 years. Twenty percent of college students admitted to cheating to some capacity in high school in the 1940s. Today the percentage of college students who admit to cheating in high school is between 75 and 85.

Before you take the easy route, think about the effects of your actions. You’re investing a substantial amount of money in your education. When you cheat, you are not learning material that could be valuable to your life and career.

How Widespread is Cheating?

Of the 1,800 students at nine separate state universities who were surveyed recently:

Numerous studies have been conducted trying to decipher whether cheating is more common among males or females. The conclusion is that there is almost a balance of cheaters by gender, with males just barely out-cheating females.

Nor is cheating relegated to just four-year colleges. A 2003 report shows that 45.6 percent of community college students reported cheating. Although this is a lower rate than at four-year schools, this may be because students spend a significantly shorter time at community colleges.

Are there certain majors that have been known to cheat over others? Business and engineering students have reported much higher numbers of cheaters than in medicine, law or education.

Why Cheat?

There are several reasons why college students cheat despite knowing it is the wrong thing to do. A major reason is that they see people in the “real world” cheating and getting away with it and feel as though starting to cheat now is just prepping them for what they will have to do to get ahead after graduation. The general consensus is: Why not start now?

Some students blame it on the pressure to get high grades that has increased over the past several decades. Many students no longer go to college to gain knowledge but to get high grades and land jobs in top businesses after graduation.

Consequences for Cheating

Each college has a different honor code, and it is important that you understand yours so that you don’t accidentally get yourself in trouble.

For example, Emory University in Georgia has an honor council comprising 10-20 sophomores and juniors who are left with the decision of determining whether or not students are guilty of cheating. After reviewing the case and finding a person guilty, there are several consequences that may occur:

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Written reprimand
  • F for the course that goes on your permanent transcript
  • Dismissal
  • Suspension

At Amherst College, the dean of student conduct investigates any allegations of cheating. If he determines there is cheating, the student may issue a warning, fine, limitations on participation in college life, community service, probation, denial of campus residence or suspension from college.


A study conducted by Young-Jin Lee of the University of Kansas shows that students who copy at a higher rate are three times more likely to fail the course. The bottom line is that doing your assigned homework withing cheating is the best way to ensure success in your exams and projects.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Cheating in College
Plagiarism and Intellectual Property
The Rules of Plagiarism in College
College Honor Codes and Disciplinary Action
Cheating Prevention in College
Top Five College Cheating Scandals
Cheating on Standardized Tests

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