A little snarling devil sits on your shoulder. Persuasion is his specialty, and he tries to use it against you when you are at your weakest.
You simply try to mute his little voice from your head. It works, most of the time.
All of a sudden, the five classes that you’re taking have caught up with you.
You’re staring into the eye of a storm as an array of essays, exams and presentations bear down on you.
The little red devil begins to grin.
He slides into your conscience in this most opportune of times, enticing you to cheat just this once.
You inhale deeply and take his advice.
Poof–the little devil disappears. In his place sits the devil’s sworn enemy: the dean.
A stiff voice reprimands you and informs you of the consequences of your actions.
Cold eyes stare back at you, interrogating you.
You hang your head in shame. There’s nobody to blame but yourself.
Some students said cheating is a matter of desperation.
Alicia Lau, 21, a child development major, said it is the pressure students face that drives them to cheat.
“There’s a lot of pressure on students nowadays just to graduate and pursue a higher education… it’s just easier to cheat from some student’s perspective,” Lau said.
Craig Loftin, American studies lecturer, said it is easy for faculty members to detect cheating.
“We teach a lot of students. Let’s say I teach three sections of the same class, and I have 40 students in each class. That means I’ll have 120 papers that are coming in that are all sort of the same type of paper. The one that is plagiarized will stand out like a sore thumb, usually,” Loftin said.
The clouded judgment stemming from desperation may lead to a one-time mistake, but both students and faculty alike said that cheaters are likely repeat offenders.
“A lot of students are smart about cheating and they get away with it, so they feel like if that’s the case, why not go for it. They’re either lazy or just want to take the easy way out,” Lau said. “I’m assuming none of them really feel guilty about cheating once they achieve their goal.”
Loftin agreed, but said that there are risky pitfalls to this type of behavior.
“What I like to think is that okay, you can get an F on a paper or an F in a class. That’s bad and can complicate your life. If this is a pattern and you go through getting away with it and end up outside of college and you’re on a job, and you plagiarize, then it’s not a matter of getting an F in the class. Then it’s a matter of how you’re going to be sued. You’re going to be fired from your job, lose your income, and even put your family in jeopardy if they depend on you,” he said.
Morgan Anderson, 21, an English major, said that the best way to avoid the temptation of cheating is by scheduling your workload responsibly.
“The busier your schedule is, the more you’re taking on. If you don’t schedule yourself correctly, that’s when I believe it drives people to cheating,” Anderson said.
Creating assignments and essay prompts that are unique to the class can minimize a student’s ability to find relevant sources to steal from online, Loftin said.
“I try to take it upon myself to create assignments that are kind of cheat-proof. The burden is always on the student not to cheat, however I do think there are things the faculty could do to create assignments that make cheating if not impossible, then at least way more trouble than it’s worth,” he said. “You will get caught. That’s it.”