Why Cheating Is Different in College

Why Cheating Is Different in College

No matter what you did in high school when it comes to cheating, you should know that cheating in college is quite different. It's a really big deal.

College administration takes cheating seriously. It's not unheard of for whole classes to be expelled for "collaborating" or outright cheating. This happened recently at the University of Virginia when a large part of an economics class was caught cheating. As a freshman, you will be introduced to the honor code at your college. It will outline the rules for your particular institution. You'll also see that colleges have honor courts, where students must go in front of a jury of peers and face charges. Not a pleasant experience for the first year of college.

Why Cheating Is More Serious in College

When you're caught cheating, even once, you lose all credibility with professors. This is a big loss in college. In high school, we can survive if our teachers lose confidence in us, or even if they don't like us. College is a different story. You're going to get to know your major professors pretty well, and you're going to need them for things like recommendations for internships, scholarships, awards, jobs, and special programs. To a great extent, your success will depend on their opinion of you. You can't afford to mess that up. Don't risk this important relationship and lose all respect.

Professors are good at catching cheaters. They are smart, they put a lot of time and energy into creating assignments and tests, and they have more time and more resources for catching cheaters. They also have tenure and a little bit more flexibility than high school teachers when it comes to checking out their suspicions and following through with allegations.

In high school, there's a tendency to treat cheating less seriously, perhaps because high school students are minors. In college, you're an adult. If caught cheating, you'll pay adult consequences.

Your high school education may have been funded by taxes, but your college education is probably funded by you and your parents. Whenever you cheat, you are wasting time. If you cheat in college you are also wasting money. And not just a little bit of money. When you fail a class (and if you get caught cheating, you'll probably receive a failing grade), you are losing the money you paid for tuition. This is likely many thousands of dollars!

College is competitive. Fellow students will take cheating more seriously in college because they realize what's at stake. They're more likely to turn you in.

Cheating is for losers. How would you feel if your parent was accused of cheating on the job? What if they were fired for it? They'd feel the same way if you were caught cheating in college. You don't want to disappoint your parents!