Student Blog: Academic Integrity- How to Keep It Up

It can be tempting to cheat on your work in college but how do you avoid it?

By: Jan. 17, 2024
Student Blog: Academic Integrity- How to Keep It Up
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Hello readers! Let's talk about academic integrity. To me, academic integrity means being honest about how you got your grades and holding yourself to a standard of not cheating on assignments, being responsible about handing things in on time, being respectful in class, etc. From the boring looks of this post's cover photo you can probably already tell where I'm going with this. Being honest about your grades, not cheating, and putting work into studying and homework can feel mundane and difficult at times (especially if you have a lot of commitments in your schedule). I think everyone has been at the point in their lives at one time or another when you're just so exhausted that you're tempted to cheat or plagiarize and end up doing it sometimes. However, when you're in college especially, those small actions could have big consequences. I mean, your actual spot in school and all the money either you or your family has invested in school could be on the line. So, how do you keep up academic integrity? 

Knowing about assignments in advance

In college, usually at the beginning of the semester, you'll get a syllabus in each of your classes that has basically all the assignments you'll need to complete over the course of the semester up until the final exam (at least in my experience). One of the tricks that may help with maintaining academic integrity is making yourself known about upcoming assignments WAY before they are due. Even if you don't complete these assignments in advance, which I never really do because I'm a procrastinator, just to know that certain important projects or tests are coming up is a good way to avoid cheating on homework and exams because they were sprung on you too "last-minute." Spreadsheets are a good method for organizing each of your assignments into a master doc that will help you stay ahead of the game throughout the semester. Work with friends in your classes to make and use organization tools like a spreadsheet so that it takes the pressure off of you as an individual... which leads me to my next point. 

Use group work wisely! 

Obviously, working with your friends or peers on an assignment or test can sometimes be against the rules so it's important to be aware of which assignments can be done or at least prepared for with other people. If you're not sure, ask... but usually your professor will clarify. For some people, getting into the habit of leaning on your friends and working in groups can be a bad thing because it'll be too tempting to cheat so know your limits. If you're a person who thinks you can get by and the occasional group work would help you, take advantage of those moments when you can do something like make a spreadsheet of your semester's assignments with a group of friends and support each other! Even just casual conversation about work for a certain class can help you and your friends hold each other accountable. Or, if you're someone who thinks you'd be too tempted to cheat off your friends while doing things like this, literally power your phone down when you have to complete something and eliminate distractions from your sight. Out of sight, out of mind. 

Talk to your professors

This strategy depends on the kind of teacher you have but from the beginning of the semester it is good to establish some communication between you and your professor. Whether it's participating in class more or asking questions when you need to, don't be afraid to talk to your professors and ask for help when necessary. If you make yourself known to your professors as an active student from the jump, it will be easier if and when you need help or maybe an extension on a certain assignment further down the line. It's always better to ask for extra help or ask for an extension, if it comes down to it, than cheating on an assignment. If you're cheating because you don't know how to do something or you're confused, present the predicament to a teacher in a way that shows you need help understanding the work and more often than not they should be willing to help you somehow. Moral of the story: don't be afraid to communicate and if it doesn't work out, you'll know that for the future. 

That's really all of I've got for you this time around! If you're on the verge of not maintaining academic integrity, remind yourself of what could be at stake if you do plagiarize or don't take your classes seriously. All the privileges of college life, your dorm, your friends, your extracurriculars, everything could change if you don't put school first. Just become aware of what needs to get done and pursue it, even if it's late. Better to try and fail than not try at all. Thank you for reading!