Let’s be honest; in today’s technologically driven society, it’s easier than ever to cheat on assignments, tests, and projects. Online learning has made cheating commonplace. Even so, plagiarism is no joke. It has real and severe consequences. Summary of this blog post: do not cheat. Your future career could depend on it.

Will I get caught if I cheat?

Not always, but that’s beside the point. If you’re banking on professors to always catch cheating, you might want to think again. With budget crunches at colleges, teachers are stretched thin, teaching more classes. Furthermore, turning in students for cheating adds more work (documentation, follow-up with staff), and in some cases can have negative consequences for the instructor (for instance, if parent’s complain or a decision is appealed).

This however does not mean you will not get caught eventually. Those students who are caught can face severe consequences, including failing grades and suspension.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism, according to Wikipedia, “is the representation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one’s own original work.” In simple language, it’s ripping off another person’s work and putting it up as your own.  This is not only unethical, it’s punishable. You could get expelled, have your degree taken away, or earn an F in the course. It could lead to punishments that reflect poorly on your character.

What should I do to protect myself from plagiarism?

The obvious answer to this question is to create your own original work to turn in for assignments and don’t cheat on tests, quizzes, or exams. The second – not so obvious answer is to find your institution’s policy on plagiarism and read it.  Be informed.

Most of all, abide by the rules so you can thrive in college.

This blog post is part of a series on how to be successful in college.