Why Do Students Cheat?

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“I got a 95,” said Tom. “Well I got a 99,” said Ashley. "Hey guys, I got 100." This is a theoretical situation, but it happens after just about every exam or quiz in most schools across America. Life is like a video game, player one is always trying to out match player two and vice versa. Students tend to follow this trend because to be second is never good enough. This leads students to do anything in their power to raise their grades. While that may include studying, taking notes, or "sucking up," many kids rely on cheating to succeed. The problem is, students know that if they cheat it will hinder their abilities to succeed later in life. So why do they continue to cheat?

Students cheat because they want to “get ahead.” And one the best ways to “get ahead” is to be accepted and graduate from a premier college. College admission offices base most, if not all, of their acceptances on grades. With all the competition for the few position in the finest colleges, one point on an exam, can significantly influence the chances of being accepted or rejected. Therefore, students will cheat just to "get an edge" over the competition. If colleges hope to stop the widespread practice of cheating, they need to focus more on the varied abilities and talents of their applicants, rather than just their grades.

Aside from the pressure of college, many students cheat because of peer pressure. For example, if there is a major basketball game, a social activity, or a special event the night before an exam, the need to be with friend forces one to rationalize and say, “Forget it, I'll have a fun time tonight, and I'll cheat tomorrow.” Sometimes students will cheat because the "cool," and the "popular" kids cheat, thinking that if they act like those students, they will be more readily accepted by the peer group. Often, students are accepted by the group after they cheat, encouraging them to cheat again. The dual goals of many students in high school or college is to both...
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