Cheating in College

Cheating in College

How widespread is college cheating? What’s the definition of academic cheating? What happens if you’re accused of cheating? Learn more about academic dishonesty now.

College is the first experience many have had living on their own without any direct adult supervision. Unfortunately, some decide to use this opportunity to cheat on coursework, papers and exams.

According to a survey conducted by US News & World Report, 75 percent of college students admitted to cheating at least once. More alarmingly, 85 percent of students believed that some cheating was necessary to get ahead.

You may feel that it’s easy for you to cheat and the chances of getting caught are unlikely. However, you shouldn’t believe this. Cheating is a serious offense that can result in expulsion from school.

For information on your school’s cheating policies, consult the honor code or code of conduct, which will clearly outlines what, is expected of you as a student. Additionally, you can find outlined accounts of what constitutes academic dishonesty at your school’s official website.

Cheating on Exams

Some individuals and groups may have answer keys that they are willing to give or sell you. Unless you are getting materials directly from a professor, remember you have absolutely no way to ensure that the answers are even correct.

In most cases, answer keys are unnecessary. Most professors hand out study guides and practice exams to aid in your preparation. If you feel the materials you’ve been given are unsatisfactory, talk to your professor about what additional resources they may be able to provide you with.


Plagiarism can come in several forms. It can involve using an already written paper and claiming it as your own, having a friend write a paper for you, or enlisting the help of a paper writing service.

Universities check diligently for plagiarism, using specialized computer programs that check references from all over the world, not just your school. Additionally, professors can usually tell when something is not your own based on the tone and feel of the writing. Even if you turn in something you claim is 100 percent original, the chances are high that you will get caught.

Be on the lookout for inadvertent plagiarism as well. You might copy and paste without adding a citation, or you may simply accidentally write material that is too close to what a source you are using has written. In order to prevent such situations, you can download or purchase plagiarism software or perform a simple Google search to check if anything similar to your writing comes up.

What If I’m Accused?

If you are accused of plagiarism, the consequences will vary depending on your academic history and the severity of your offense. At the University of California, Irvine, for example smaller cases are generally settled between the student and faculty member. Serious accusations or multiple offenses will lead to a hearing involving the student, a dean and a committee of faculty members. If it is decided that you are guilty, the consequences can range from temporary sanctions to expulsion.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Plagiarism and Intellectual Property
College Social Media
What is a Freshman Seminar?
The College Dean’s List
Prestigious College Scholarships: The Fulbright, Truman, Marshall, and Rhodes Scholarships
Taking Notes in College
How to Write College Papers
What is a Writing Center?

See All College Classes and Academics Articles


Visit Our Student Center

Get on track!

Visit our Student Center

And find out everything you need to know about planning for college.