Plagiarism: A Trend in Cheating Across College Campuses

I was in my college English class the other day looking at a handbook my teacher had given out on how to cite sources in an essay or paper. In the discussion the words, “almost 85% of college students plagiarize.” Those words boggled my mind. How could that number be so high. I mean I know that plagiarism does exist on college campuses in most colleges. I wasn’t naive not to think so. But 85%? Wow that sounded high. After looking up the statistics on the internet, sure enough my teacher was right. Plagiarizing on papers is a new rising trend that has gathered momentum on college campuses and in lower levels of education and it is a dangerous thing.

In most high schools, students might be jammed up from having too much homework or a lot of studying to do for a big exam and simply don’t want to put the time or effort into writing a paper. So they take the easy way out; copying and pasting from an essay online and putting it in their paper. They take bits and pieces of several essays and pretty soon within several minutes their paper is completed. A couple of years ago teachers did suspect that more and more students were cheating but they could never be sure. If a paper had blatant use of words a student clearly did not know, like a high school paper written with long complex college words, then there was a good chance that student was plagiarizing. Another funny but stupid thing retarded students who plagiarize do is leave the name or website on their paper so the teacher knows that this definitely wasn’t written by them.

However, today in college campuses, teachers and administrators are recognizing the growing problem and are doing something about it. Most colleges now subscribe to the website called turnitin.com. This site allows teachers to submit to students work into the website and the website will check all over the internet to see if the paper was original and not the copied work of another writer on the internet. The site tells the teacher how original the work was ranging from 0 to 100%.

Even still, some teachers don’t use this site and it has led to numerous students cheating on an exam. Most of the time students think that they won’t get caught and they are usually right. They will submit a copied paper with not a second thought that they will be caught. Even the smartest of students have done it, whatever their reasoning was.

Plagiarizing on an exam is morally and ethically wrong. It is taking someone else’s hard earned work that they published and calling it your own in the name of getting a higher grade or passing a class or completing an assignment on time. However, now, finally teachers have a way to combat this problem. This website strikes fear into the hearts of students who intend on plagiarizing. Most teachers let their students know loud and clear that they use that site so that it prevents their students from even thinking about cheating. And yet, invariably a couple of students will still cheat anyway and be caught. These students will only learn their lesson when they are caught as cheating has become second nature to them.

Te easiest way for students to avoid plagiarizing is to cite or footnote their references. Instead of copying word for word they should paraphrase or quote an author and include that author and the website in a bibliography or citation page. This way the teacher knows exactly where your information is coming from. You can always combine this information with your own written work.

I hope that the problem of cheating will decrease instead of continuing its upward spiral. Stopping plagiarism will help students in the long run and help teachers determine which of their students are really grasping the material taught in the classrooms and which students are putting in the hard work into the class.

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