The Effects on Students Who Get Caught Cheating in College
It's easy for students to get so caught up in the short-term stress of college that they forget about the long-term consequences of their decisions. Cheating might seem like an ideal solution when a student doesn't study, can't completely research a paper or is struggling to avoid failing a class. The consequences of cheating, however, can be truly dire and range from temporary academic difficulties to serious legal problems and permanent reputation damage.
Most schools impose, at minimum, academic penalties on students who cheat. At Georgia State University, for example, students might fail the assignment or the class. The seriousness of the penalty often depends on the severity of the cheating. A student who inadvertently plagiarized, for example, might just get a failing grade on a paper, while a student caught deliberately cheating on an exam might fail the class.
Suspension and Expulsion
Some schools impose harsh disciplinary penalties on students who cheat, particularly if the cheating was very egregious or the student has been caught cheating before. Students might be placed on academic probation and have their work carefully monitored. They can also be suspended or even expelled from school. Students who receive such harsh penalties often have university-level hearings, and the school will probably put the reason for the penalty in the student's transcript, which may be viewed by potential employers later on.
Cheating can rise to the level of a legal violation when students steal other people's copyrighted work. For example, a student who lifts excerpts from someone else's paper and then uses them in her own published paper has committed copyright infringement. She could be sued by the creator of the work for any financial damages the creator suffered as a result of the infringement. Most cheating in college does not rise to this level, but it is still a possibility.
Cheating can permanently haunt an academic career. Students who go on to graduate school may encounter professors who know they have cheated, and these professors may tell other people about the cheating. Cheating often goes on a student's transcript and this can interfere with her ability to transfer to a new school or attend graduate school. Even if a professor takes no formal disciplinary action, if other people know about the cheating, it can taint a student's reputation and cause people to question her work.
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