Why Do People Cheat?
"I’m preparing for the real world. Business is unethical. Cheating is just good training. I’ll be better able to handle what’s put at me when I get out." "‘Oh, it’ll only be this once’ or ‘Everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t I?’" Sly glances at a neighbor’s work, an open book on the lap, or even high-technology methods—the resources of the cheater are many and varied. Whatever the methods, there are many statements like those above to justify cheating. For example, in the United States, surveys show that more than half of all students cheat, or have cheated, during their school years.
Cheating, though, is a problem almost everywhere and everyone at one time or another has cheated. But why is cheating so widespread? Even if it is a way of getting higher grades at school, is it really worth it?
Why do people cheat? To justify the practice, some students claim that school is boring and that they prefer to spend their time on things that really interest them instead of studying. Others say that they are virtually forced to cheat.
However, not everyone feels the need to make excuses, as a poll in the USA shows. Many of the young people questioned admitted that one of the main reasons for cheating was simply laziness. Some of them admitted that they did not cheat when they had studied their lesson. If this is really the case, anyone tempted to cheat should consider the following warning in the book of Proverbs: "The one working with a slack hand will be of little means." (Proverbs 10:4)
"Success is one of the reasons people cheat." (McCabe 285) With these words the NASPA Journal touches on another factor that is often mentioned by students. For example, years ago, good grades were desirable. Today, they are a necessity if students plan to apply to college. Cheating has gained greater acceptance as students try to cope with academic pressures. Students have been affected by these pressures, as is shown by a survey organized among 160,000 young Americans. Sixty percent of them said that they studied in order to pass tests and only 40 percent in order really to learn. Randy Herbertson, president of the student body at Colorado University, thus claims that "cutthroat competition" (Hollinger 297) pushes students into "desperate actions," (Hollinger 297) such as cheating.
Is cheating the best way? Granted, the pressures to make good grades may be intense. So if cheating helps me to succeed, you might reason, then why not do it? As in the story The Extremes of Honor: "academy ever anticipated the find of pressure that the class of 1994 would have to withstand.....stealing and studying a copy of an exam for a notoriously difficult course--eventually enmeshed 133 midshipmen." (Brock 312-313) For several reasons. One is the risks involved. Indeed, the consequences can be far-reaching when the fact that a student has cheated becomes part of his permanent record. As a director of campus judicial programs explains: "Any...