Cheating Your Integrity

By Danielle Khairallah, Bicharaf Staff Writer

For students facing exams several times a week, how do they deal with the fact that they might not do well on a test, knowing they will have to face their parents about it? Knowing that their grades could be greatly affected?  Unfortunately, a great number of students resort to cheating, thinking that that cheating is a cheap and easy way to get around not being prepared for an exam.

But is cheating all that cheap? Is the student the only one “hurt” by cheating? Research suggests that cheating is not the “economical” solution that students think it is.  When it comes to thinking about the consequences of cheating, students don’t always realize that the consequences go far beyond just “getting caught.”

It is widely accepted that cheating hurts the cheater. When students cheat, they firstly cheat themselves out of acquiring valuable knowledge. The purpose of exams is primarily an opportunity for the students to prove, not only to the teacher, but also to themselves, that they’ve learned the important concepts of the class unit.  But in a cheater’s case, the student is giving false evidence to the teacher and is deceiving the teacher into thinking that he or she is properly educated in a subject.

Besides duping a teacher, students are hurting their chances to prepare for their future education paths, and even hurting their potential chances for a successful career.  School gives students the foundational knowledge they need to succeed in university and beyond. When student cheaters are getting the credit for someone else’s hard work, they are also deceitfully competing with those who actually learned the information fairly. (1) Where is the justice for those students who did right in school, but end up losing a spot in a program to someone who cheated?

The student’s instructor and the student’s school are also implicated in the student’s dishonesty.  Cheating slanders the reputation of your school and shames the school’s administration.  If a school or university is known to play host to many cheaters who are not caught and subjected to disciplinary action, how is the school’s integrity preserved? What students would want to learn in an institution where cheating is rampant?  For university students, if they have cheated throughout their university program, are they truly experts in their field?

Others are also hurt by extension when a student cheats. For example, do students realize that by compromising their integrity by cheating, they are also potentially compromising the integrity of their families? A bulletin published by the UCSB Office of Judicial Affairs dispels the myth that students cheat to get good grades and avoid making their parents upset. The report asks students, “Do you think your parents really want you to get good grades at the cost of your integrity? Do you think your parents would approve of this strategy? If your parents find out you cheated, they will be greatly disappointed, and if others find out as well they may be embarrassed or ashamed.” (2)

Students are also compromising their future careers when they choose to engage in unethical practices. As the Dakota State University Student Affairs Office notes, “Would you want a doctor, lawyer, or accountant who had cheated on exams handling your affairs?” (3)  Doctors who have cheated on exams will likely contribute to damaging the health of their patients instead of helping to cure an illness.  An accountant who was dishonest in his academic performance would probably bankrupt his client before making him more prosperous.  What started out as an “innocent” act on a high school pop quiz could lead to far more dangerous situations.

It’s difficult to break a bad habit.  What happens when cheating becomes a habit is that the consequences of cheating in school seep into other personal objectives upon graduation. Cheating victimizes so many more people than one would think.  Your personal legacy is at stake: Will you tell your children and grandchildren stories of your successful cheating? Or will you instead be able to tell them how you maintained your integrity and held on to your honor, fighting the obstacles of life with knowledge and hard work?


(1) Did you know? (2011). Learning Center: Retrieved from

(2) Common myths about academic dishonesty. (n.d.). UCSB Judicial Affairs. Retrieved from

(3) Dakota State University. Does cheating hurt anyone? (n.d.). Department of Student Affairs. Retrieved from