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Why College Students Cheat

Why College Students Cheat

There are umpteen reasons why college students cheat and some of them may appear righteous too. Reasons for why college students cheat can be categorized under the following heads:

  • Concerns about their performance

  • External pressures

  • Unfair professors

  • Laziness

  • Opportunity to cheat came up

  • Living up to peer expectations

  • Poor time management skills

Why do SO many students cheat in college?

Let us look at each category in a bit of detail.

Concerns about their performance – This is the most common reason for students to cheat. Everybody is concerned about how they will fare in college and the pressure does get to them. While in the earlier days, only the academically challenged students cheated hoping to just about clear their exams, nowadays even the academically good students resort to cheating to get better grades in the rising competitive world. Many of the good students want to excel in college at any cost.

External pressures (related to college and the course) – Today, students are faced with multiple challenges in terms of external pressures including the following:

Semesters are filled with excessive workload – There is so much workload for students during the semester that many of them feel overworked and stressed out and are left with little or no time to study.

Other students cheat and hence those who don't cheat feel disadvantaged – It is common for most students to cheat and this makes the honest ones feel they are missing out on a good opportunity to do better at their exams. Hence, they also choose to cheat.

Teachers did not teach or explain well – Some students use the excuse that the concerned teacher did not explain the concepts well and the learning material was also insufficient and not good enough. Hence they are compelled to cheat.

Multiple tests on the same day – Students claim that the college schedules too many tests on one day and hence they find it difficult to study for all. Hence, they have to resort to cheating for some subjects at least or so they claim.

External Pressures (not directly related to the college or course) – The following excuses are given by many students for cheating in college:

Parents' pressure – Some students complain that their parents put a lot of pressure on them to perform well in college and this, they say, compels them to cheat and live up to their parents' expectations.

Having to keep a job along with studying – Many students work part-time to pay for their college and this does increase stress levels for them. Moreover, for students working and studying, time becomes a really scarce resource. Thus, they claim, they are compelled to cheat to clear college.

An illness during the semester – Yes, this is definitely a valid occurrence. Illnesses do attack us suddenly and rarely leave us with any energy to do anything productive. So, students claim, they have to cheat because of the illness.

Athletes require a minimum GPA score to remain in the team or to get financial aid – Many athletes get financial aid based on their sporting capabilities and in fact, the college admission could also be because of their sports capabilities. However, these athletes are mandated to get a prescribed minimum GPA score to continue getting the financial aid and/or to remain on the college team. More often than not, these athletes are bogged down by having to prove themselves in the sports arena as well as the academic arena and therefore, resort to cheating in exams and tests.

Pressure for getting good grades so that they could get well-paying jobs – Today, it is a common belief that a well-paying job can be secured only if academic grades are excellent. While this may not necessarily be true and while many employers are fine with students who are academically average but come with an excellent professional attitude, many students get carried away by this argument and cheat to obtain excellent grades.

Unfair teachers – There are, unfortunately, a few teachers who seem to take a sadistic pleasure out of grading in a harsh manner or deliberately setting difficult papers or giving unreasonable amounts of workload during the semester. To combat this unfairness, students claim to resort to cheating mechanisms.

Laziness – Some students are downright lazy and I do not feel any sense of awkwardness for being forthright with regard to this malaise. Some of them love to procrastinate, love to skip classes, and love to put off studying or doing their homework, assignments etc till the very last minute. At the last moment, these students are bound to feel the pressure and hence, know of no other alternative except to cheat.

Opportunity to cheat came up during the test – Yes, there are some students who say that the invigilator walked out of the room and left it unattended and hence they were free to use the opportunity to cheat. How could they allow such a wonderful chance go by without leveraging it? And hence they felt no qualms about cheating when left unattended for a little while.

Living up to peer expectations – Many students feel compelled to cheat to fit into a particular peer group. And so, even if they did not want to, students are forced to cheat so that they are not treated like an outcast.

Poor time management skills – It is an undisputable fact that college work is highly challenging and many students are simply unaware of the time that is needed to complete all the work. Invariably, due to poorly managed time, students run out of this scarce resource and fall short of it to complete all requisite tasks and this drives them into panic mode. They begin to look for shortcuts and cheating is the first thing they find.

Things that faculty can do to help students

While some of the excuses given by students to cheat are quite bizarre, there are many valid reasons hidden too. Today, colleges accept the fact the cheating is not just an objective event but a psychological problem that is deeply embedded in the minds of some students.

If teachers were to reach out to students and help them manage their difficult times in college, many students will feel a sense of obligation to behave in a morally correct way as they sense of connectedness with their teachers. In fact, students will find the courage to report about potential cheats in the class when they see their teachers reach out to them.

Most of the times, even students who do not cheat are scared of reporting any mischief planned by their classmates for fear of ridicule and sometimes even being hurt for snitching. However, when teachers offer them the much-needed support, these students will come out openly about cheating and participate wholeheartedly in bringing down the menace.

Things that parents can do to help students

Undue pressure on children should be completely avoided by parents. College is to gain knowledge and skills that should last a lifetime; not a place to merely gain grades. Parents must encourage their wards to approach learning from an education perspective and not merely as a means of getting excellent grades.

Parents should focus on building key life skills for their children so that they can succeed in life. Failing one test does not make a student a bad student; it just means that the child is going through a bad phase and hence, needs more of your support than before.

Final Notes

Irrespective of why college students cheat in tests or exams, the consequences they are bound to face if and when they get caught remains the same. The penalties for cheating are quite severe and can range from loss of accumulated credits to suspensions and even expulsion. The latter two reasons get a mention in your manuscripts and your future employers and other colleges that you apply to will be able to view it. A small avoidable mistake can thus haunt you for the rest of your life.

Hence, it is always better to stop looking for reasons to cheat and instead channelize your energies and resources to manage time well, work hard, complete assignments and projects on time, and finish college with flying colors.

We, at Prescott Papers, do not condone cheating of any form and urge you to depend on your own efforts and endeavors to pass exams. Our experts are standing by to guide and help you through various writing assignments including but not limited to custom essays, projects and more.

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