Consequences of Cheating in College

The consequences of cheating in college can range from a simple slap on the wrist to expulsion. In order to understand what happens when someone is caught, it’s important to know the different types of offenses that are committed. Cheating or plagiarism is often done by copying or using someone else’s words or ideas as your own.

The Different Names of Cheating

Academic dishonesty, academic misconduct, and academic fraud Many different actions can be considered academic dishonesty. The most common forms of academic misconduct include: 

  • Plagiarism: presenting another person’s words or thoughts as your own without attribution
  • Cheating: providing or receiving prohibited assistance in a quiz, test, paper, or another formal academic exercise
  • Fabrication: falsifying data, facts, or citations in a formal academic exercise
  • Deception: offering false information about a formal academic exercise to a teacher
  • Sabotage: intentionally preventing other people from completing their work

Cheating vs Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism are both types of academic dishonesty that can result in school discipline. Plagiarism is copying another person’s work and submitting it as your own without giving credit to their original creator, while cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance or using books, information, notes, study guides, or other devices that are not permitted during a formal academic exercise.

Examples of Cheating

There are many ways that students can cheat in college. Some common examples of academic cheating include: 

  • Copying test answers from another student or allowing another student to copy yours
  • Using notes, books, or cheat sheets during closed-book tests
  • Having another student take a test for you
  • Working with another student on assignments where collaboration is not allowed
  • Using electronic devices like cell phones, smartwatches, and computers to look up or send or receive answers during a test

What are the consequences?

If you are caught cheating, the consequences will vary depending on how severe the infraction was and your disciplinary history, but most likely, there will be some sort of punishment. Often you will receive a “0” on the test or assignment on which you cheated. However, more serious or repeated instances of cheating can lead to severe disciplinary action such as probation, suspension, or even expulsion. 

How long does it stay on your record?

While cheating itself might not be noted on your academic record, the consequences of cheating can follow you around for the rest of your life. For example, if you’re expelled from a university, you may not be able to get accepted to another university. An expulsion can also show up on future background checks.

Similarly, if you receive an F in a class or on an assignment due to cheating, the grade will be reported on your academic transcript and will impact your GPA. If you are already a borderline student, failing a class because you cheated can land you on academic probation or even result in academic dismissal. This means that even if you are not expelled, you could be dismissed from the university if the cheating incident causes your GPA to be too low.

How to Appeal

If you have been subjected to disciplinary action due to a cheating incident, you may be able to appeal the decision. Each school has its own set of disciplinary policies and procedures, so you’ll need to review those to determine your rights in your situation.

When appealing discipline for cheating, you can choose to employ one of two primary tactics.

The first strategy is to deny that you cheated and provide evidence to support this claim. Another route is to admit to cheating but argue that the discipline you received is too severe in proportion to misconduct. For example, you could explain that mitigating circumstances motivated you to cheat or that it was a first-time mistake that won’t be repeated.

No matter how you choose to frame your appeal, it is essential that you remain humble throughout the appeals process and avoid being combative or unprofessional. Even if you disagree with your punishment or the accusations against you, make sure you keep your cool and show respect towards the appeals committee. 

If you’ve been accused of cheating in college, you may want to consider consulting with an education attorney about your options. A knowledgeable education lawyer can identify the best strategy for defending yourself against the allegations that have been made and represent you in every step of the appeals process. Most education attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation, so you can use this opportunity to get a professional’s opinion on the matter.

Read More

How Do You Defend Yourself in a Disciplinary Hearing in College?

About & RMO Lawyers

RMO LLP serves clients in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Orange County, and communities throughout California. Our founder, Scott E. Rahn has been named “Top 100 – Trust and Estate Litigation” by SuperLawyers, Trusts and Estates Litigator of the Year, and Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Trusts and Estates.