Is cheating in college a big deal? It depends on who you ask, but with the recent cheating scandal at Harvard University, everyone has been thinking about it. Last spring, over 100 Harvard students enrolled in an Introduction to Congress class were suspected of cheating on their final exam (“Congress” and “cheating” used in the same sentence? Ironic…). The students are currently under investigation and taking a leave from the school.
First of all, the Harvard students are suspected of collaborating on their final exam. There has been some discussion on whether or not the professor, Mathew Platt, had given some students the idea that he had waived Harvard’s standard “no collaboration” rule for the course. Therefore, collaboration on the final exam would have been accepted.
…But I just want to point out one thing: it was a TAKE HOME final. Seriously. Not only was it a take-home, which means they probably could have gotten away with every other kind of cheating, it was open-book, open-Internet, open-ANYTHING. The professor has stated the only thing they couldn’t do was visit the campus writing center or seek tutoring to help with the exam. He has even suggested that the students deserve praise for working together to better understand the questions on the test.
What are the numbers?
This begs the question: how wide spread is cheating in college? Is Harvard an fairly isolated incident? Does it happen all the time? As it turns out, yes. According to a 2011 study done by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, it was discovered that over 75 percent of college students cheat at some point or another during their university career.
Here’s why it matters…
So, is cheating really THAT big of a deal? I think it can be. Maybe not because of the actual act of cheating itself, but because of the precedent that we sent for ourselves when we cheat. Whether it be a final for a major class or a quiz in a gen-ed, cheating is laziness; it’s giving up which isn’t a good mind set to have in college or the work force.
Can you get away with it? Yeah, totally.
Sometimes, it can be really easy to cheat on a quiz or test that you don’t care about, but are you going to let that mentality work its way into every aspect of your life? That might not be the best decision.
For me, it really comes down to how important your education is to you. If your goal is to graduate, earn a degree, and become a well-rounded, intelligent person, cheating probably is NOT the answer to all of your problems.If going to school to not only get a degree, but more importantly become a well-rounded intelligent person is your goal then cheating probably isn’t for you.
Have you ever cheated in college? Is it a big deal or is it not? Were the Harvard students really in the wrong?