Ask a College Advisor: What Are the Consequences of Academic Dishonesty?

Hear from one of our education professionals on the importance of academic integrity.

portrait of Dr. Samantha Fecich
by Dr. Samantha Fecich

Published on May 24, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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Ask a College Advisor: What Are the Consequences of Academic Dishonesty?
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Question: What are the consequences of academic dishonesty?

Answer: The consequences of academic dishonesty can be far-reaching. You could fail a class, be dismissed from your major, or even be expelled from your school. The severity of the consequences depends upon the type of academic dishonesty. Let's explore what academic dishonesty is and how students can avoid it.

What Is Academic Dishonesty?

To put it simply, academic dishonesty is taking work that is not yours but claiming it as your own. Academic dishonesty can take many forms, including:

When you enroll, your university or department will likely require you to sign a document that states you will not engage in academic dishonesty. As a college student, you must adhere to this code of conduct.

Common Types of Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism

One of the most common forms of academic dishonesty is plagiarism. The act of plagiarism occurs when you use someone else's work without citing it properly. If you're not mindful, this can be easy to do — especially when writing a paper or essay.

You can avoid plagiarism by utilizing an appropriate style or citation guide. This typically includes using both in-text citations and references in your paper. Tools that can help students avoid plagiarism include style guides, such as the AP Style Guide or Chicago Manual of Style, and plagiarism detection software.

Cheating

Cheating is another common form of academic dishonesty. It may consist of copying answers from a classmate, selling or buying an academic paper or assignment, or using unauthorized materials during a test.

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty

The consequences of academic dishonesty depend on the academic policies of your college and the severity of the infraction. If you are accused of academic dishonesty, your school will likely conduct a formal process. If it is determined that an act of academic dishonesty occurred, your professor and dean of advising will decide on a course of action. The offense could result in the following actions:

Why Should I Care About Academic Dishonesty?

Students may engage in academic dishonesty because they are ignorant, stressed, desperate, or simply think they will not get caught. Whatever the reason, academic dishonesty is not worth the risk. Professors are well-trained to spot plagiarism and cheating, and many use plagiarism software to screen assignments for plagiarism.

If you do not think you can complete an assignment on time, it is in your best interest to speak to your professor and explain the situation rather than resort to academic dishonesty. Ultimately, teachers typically prefer that you complete the assignment to the best of your ability and understand concepts so you can apply them to your field and other coursework, even if this means granting you an extension.

Summary

Engaging in academic dishonesty isn't worth the risk. In order to learn, prepare for your future career, and demonstrate your knowledge, you must work hard on your assignments and tests. You will benefit from this as a student now and as a professional in the future.

Have a Question About College?

In our Ask a College Advisor series, experienced advisors provide an insider look at the college experience by answering your questions about college admissions, finances, and student life.

DISCLAIMER: The responses provided as part of the Ask a College Advisor series are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact a professional academic, career, or financial advisor before making decisions regarding individual situations.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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