In many countries, students work extremely hard to earn good grades in high school and to pass highly competitive national university entrance examinations.  As a result, by custom, once they enter university, they are not expected to work or study hard.  This is not the case in the United States.

In many other countries, it is acceptable for friends to help each other with class assignments and even with examinations.  Emphasis within these cultures is on collective rather than individual effort.  Again, this is not the case in the United States.

It is therefore no surprise that some students get into trouble for what is called "cheating" and "plagiarism."  Cheating means receiving help on an assignment, quiz or examination that you are not supposed to receive.  "Plagiarism" refers to the practice of copying from a book or other publication and not acknowledging that the words and ideas used are someone else's, not your own.  Plagiarism is a form of cheating.

What Is Considered Cheating?

In general, students in the U.S. academic system are expected to do their own work without getting significant assistance from other people.  This does not mean that you cannot ask other students to help with class work.  It is permissible and sometimes advisable to seek help in understanding what is happening in a class and what a specific assignment is about.  It is not considered proper, though, to have someone else do an assignment for you, or copy information from a publication in a way that makes it appear that the answers are your own.

The following are also considered cheating:

  • Copying an assignment from another student
  • Copying answers to exam questions from other students
  • Taking notes or books to an examination and secretly referring to them while answering examination questions (unless permitted by the teacher.)
  • Copying information from the internet without proper citation.

What are the consequences of cheating?

When cheating is detected, it has negative consequences for the student.  These consequences might include:

  • A failing grade for the examination or assignment on which the cheating took place
  • A failing grade for the course in which the cheating occurred
  • Expulsion from the course
  • Expulsion from the university

Academic honesty violations are not reported to the Government for action against an international student.  However, if a student is in the United States on a visa and is suspended or expelled from the university, the college must report that the student is no longer registered as a full-time student and that his/her enrollment has been terminated by the institution.  Unless that student becomes accepted and enrolled as a full-time student at another institution, the INS may begin the deportation process because the student is no longer "in status."

Be very careful not to plagiarize and if you have any questions consult your Academic Advisor or before turning in work.