As competition among students increases with rising test expectations, some students feel the need to cheat to advance their academic agenda. Oftentimes, students overlook the consequences of cheating and do not realize that it will ultimately hurt them.
Many students who rely on websites such as Quizlet and Sparknotes and add illegitimate points to their peers’ homework do not realize that they are cheating. They believe that they are saving themselves time or saving people’s grades. These students do not realize that they are creating habits and poor work ethics that are likely to follow them into adulthood. Cheating creates a mentality among students that influences them to take shortcuts out of hard work.
A common reason that students cheat is that they believe their letter grades are more important than actually learning the material. If they believe that a letter or award reflects their understanding of the material, then nothing else matters to them. Some students may value these letter grades to the point where they hide their mistakes on an assignment so their grades appear nicer, rather than learning from the mistake. This ultimately deprives the cheater from truly learning the material.
Cheating also leads to ignorance among those who do not get caught in the act. When their actions go unnoticed, the offenders believe that they are capable of continuing to cheat without getting caught. This causes the offenders to take possible consequences lightly and have a “nobody cares” mentality about cheating. This mentality can be carried into adulthood but with more serious situations and consequences, such as taking misdemeanors lightly.
When caught cheating in high school, teachers are likely to notify the administrators at school. The administrators will generally give the offender a first infraction warning, and if caught again, the infraction goes into their permanent record. When colleges see the mark on the offender’s permanent record, it costs them their chances of getting into their top college choice—or any college. When a student is caught cheating, many of their future opportunities will be cut off, potentially acting as a setback in their life as their chances of a higher level of education have been minimized or completely missed.
If students resort to cheating because they believe that they are not able to keep up with the material, they should instead ask for help as there are more people willing to help than they would think. Tutoring may also be an option, as it fortifies relationships with the teacher and student, rather than develop mistrust. Cheaters should realize that learning is the main priority of the educational system. Marginally changing their grade by a few points is not worth the damage it will cause the cheater—short term and long term.