Home Section D - Opinion Don’t cheat yourself out of an education

Don’t cheat yourself out of an education


Dr. Jennifer Berenson

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Administration

 Fall break has come and gone, so fasten your seatbelts for the roller coaster ride to the end of the semester. Preparing for papers, projects, and presentations will fill your days and nights from now until the middle of December, when you can breathe with relief and take pride in a semester’s worth of work.


With all that work comes no small bit of stress, and for some students that stress leads to bad choices when it comes to academic integrity.  Over the last decade, on average, 30 students have been found in violation of academic integrity per year.  About 40% of violations involve first-year students, with the fall semester usually seeing more than half the year’s charges.  Academic Integrity is highly valued by the College, and the penalties are correspondingly serious.  Last year almost 85% of violations resulted in a penalty of an F or an XF in the course. 


Most violations involve plagiarism or cheating.  Take the time to paraphrase properly—changing just a word here or there doesn’t count —and make sure you include citations for both paraphrases and quotations.  If you need help, consult A Writer’s Reference (Hacker), visit the Writing Center, see your professor, or go to www.dianahacke.com/resdoc.  Copying another student’s paper is also an easily detected form of cheating since many professors now use Turnitin, which not only compares student papers with material from the web, but also with the repository of previously submitted student papers.  Another common form of cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance on an assignment, so don’t forget to check your professor’s instructions for each and every assignment! 


When it’s late at night and deadlines loom, don’t take what appears to be the easy way out.  Work hard—maybe harder than you ever have before—and be proud of what you accomplish on your own.  December’s break will be that much sweeter.