Plagiarize! If you want to destroy your academic career, go ahead, copy someone else’s work. It’s really the most efficient way to get thrown out of your masters program while simultaneously destroying your academic reputation. And yet, according to U.S. News and World Report, 75% of college students admit to cheating!
If you ask most students, they will tell you that they know plagiarism is bad. And yet, for some reason, they don’t seem to take the topic very seriously. As instructors, we may think that it’s obvious: plagiarizing is academic theft, and it’s probably the worst thing you could do for your academic reputation. When you plagiarize, you mock everything about academia. You mock your teacher, who strives to help you learn and grow. You mock the institution, because you believe you won’t be caught. You mock your parents, who are paying for you to learn, not demonstrate superior copying skills. But, worst of all, you mock yourself. You tell yourself the lie that you earned that “A” grade. You cheat yourself out of the satisfaction and growth that comes with mastering new material.
What is plagiarism? Anytime you copy ANYTHING without proper citation. This includes anything from the internet, whether it’s Wikipedia or someone’s blog. It includes other students. And don’t think you can write a paper with 80% quoted material, even if it is properly cited. Technically, it may not be plagiarism, but it certainly isn’t your own work.
And we’re watching you. We have you submit your assignments to plagiarism detection software, and we monitor the results. We notice when your writing style suddenly and dramatically “improves.” And we’re not happy. We will do anything from give you a zero on an assignment, to an “FF”, which will ultimately result in expulsion. Do you really want to kill your academic career because you got behind in your work and took a shortcut to save a few hours? Seriously? I didn’t think so.
So, please, please, think twice before you cut and paste that text from what you think is an obscure web site, or copy a paragraph or two from last year’s “A” paper. Although we may not be as technically savvy as you are, we aren’t stupid and we aren’t afraid to flunk you. We don’t like it, but we will do it to protect the integrity of the academic institution. Because it is that important to us. Without integrity, academia is nothing.
Yours in the Joy of Knowledge,
For more statistics on cheating visit plagiarism.org