"Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200."
The consequences of cheating are just as straightforward as this Monopoly card. Because cheating is illegal, students who are caught cheating receive penalties from failure to expulsion from college. It is possible that a single act of desperation can end your college career and prevent you from entering the profession of your choice. The way to avoid such a tragedy is by knowing what behaviors constitute cheating and making sure that you stay clear of these activities.
The most common kind of cheating is copying answers from someone on an exam. The student who is cheating reads the answer on another student's paper and copies it onto his or her own. These cases are most often punished by failure in the course or removal from the university. This cheating is pure theft. In some cases, the student who had the right answer may also be brought up on charges of cheating, or at least of collaboration or conspiracy to share answers. Make it your first principle never to cheat or allow anyone to cheat from your work.
Another kind of cheating takes place when students use "crib" notes during an examination. Notes hidden under desks, in pockets, on the palms of hands are common variations. This is prevalent in the sciences and is as severely punished as the first example. Would you go to a brain surgeon who cheated his way through medical school?
Submitting a paper that came from a friend, fraternity, older sibling or the Internet. Submitting any work that is not your own is cheating. Even if you change a few words or modify the paper, if it is not entirely your work it is cheating. These days it is less common to borrow an old paper from a buddy than to buy a new paper from the Internet. Don't do either!!! There are many examples of two or more students in a class downloading the same paper from the net! As you know, the Internet is full of student papers on a tremendous range of topics. While you may (if your teacher permits), cite them, you may not hand them in as if they were yours! When faculty assign papers, they also surf the net to get an idea of what is "out there." Thus, faculty and students often log onto the same papers, and cheating of this kind is easy to spot. There are also a number of "paper-writing" services that advertise on line and in student newspapers. Having someone else write a paper for you, even if it is tailored to your course, is Cheating with a capital C. Don't even think about it!
Plagiarism is also cheating. If you read a book and want to borrow from it, use quotation marks to indicate the passages you borrow and a note to the work cited at the end. If you are paraphrasing ideas found in books or articles, you are also obligated to credit the author and mention him or her as the source of these ideas. Never try to pass off someone else's ideas or writing (even a borrowed phrase must be quoted) as your own. Give credit right in your text, following MLA form.