Why Teens Cheat

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Honesty: it’s a topic that students are often lectured upon. ‘Be honest to yourself and your school; have integrity’, teachers and administration say. But when a breach of honesty occurs it is not necessarily the students who are notorious for deceit who commit the act. Which leads to the question: why do students cheat and is it for a good reason? “[The reasons why students cheat] are a combination of things: the desire for success, to get into an ivy league school, the pressure the parents put on the kids, the pressure students put upon themselves, and simply how easy it can be at times,” asserts Mr. Oronoz, but he warns that “teachers aren’t oblivious.”

Generally students don’t cheat for the sake of it; they cheat for their future. Competition to get into college has increased in the last few years, making every tenth of a point on a GPA important. Mr. Oronoz, Mr. Farraday, and Dr. Vogel all agree that college acceptance is a factor that encourages students to cheat – which is ironic, seeing as acceptance letters can be revoked if a college is notified of a cheating incident. Some blame the college process for this stress, but others believe that pressure comes from the individual and their direct influences. An anonymous junior ascertains that “people cheat because in today's world there is so much pressure to simply 'get ahead' or to do well […].Parents and teachers are also held responsible [because they] emphasize the message that bad grades equals failure--a fate that should be, and needs to be, avoided.” Dr. Vogel states that “we live in a society that says ‘do whatever it takes to get ahead’” and often students succumb to the pressure; however, she also says that she has seen a variety of students caught for cheating, and they range from students with low GPAs to A+ students. Mr. Oronoz has noticed much of the same thing, highlighting the point that students from all across the board cheat at one point or another – making this much more than a moral issue. The morality of the problem often is overshadowed by the promise of the future, and the looming threat of failure.

The simple truth is that sometimes cheating is a much less arduous task than completing the work. Some teachers make it easier – and more enticing – for students to cheat by doling out busy work which is not checked, resultantly the information is look upon as unimportant. “There are teachers that never check the work. It's always like that and it's very unfair for the students who want to do well in the class,” states Emily Dalmas. Technology also lends a helping hand, with sites like Sparknotes.com providing washed-out alternatives to lengthy novels, and several websites housing college essays. One such website advocates their site with the greeting, “Ever looked over the shoulder of a Straight-A-Student? Or overcome Writer's Block just by glancing at the structure of a term paper or case study?” Apparently many have, since this site is continuously growing.

Competition and success has long been characterized as part of the “human nature”, but when does it go too far? Some students can only manage a certain grade, yet are pushed to their limits to earn what they are told they should earn. Instead of living with this stress – which causes students to commit acts they would generally avoid – should students be happier with lower grades for the sake of maintaining their moral integrity? Mr. Oronoz thinks that students should “be proud of their own work. That’s what we need to make students understand.” Sadly, pride alone won’t get someone into college.

Plainly stated, cheating is generally is not stemmed by a desire to infringe upon one’s moral standings, but rather a quick solution to the massive stress put upon students by colleges, parents, teachers, and themselves to succeed – coupled with the availability of methods and the social acceptability of the matter (so long as one does not get caught).





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