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Being an Ethical College Student

Published on December 27, 2016 by Staff Writer

One of the first things that you learned in college was not to plagiarize; right? You know that you must cite sources that you use in your papers, but have you thought of other ethical standards that you must uphold in college? Researchers who have done surveys on ethical and unethical behaviors of college students recommend that all undergraduates take a course on ethics in their freshman year. If you have taken ethics, how about a quick review? If you haven’t taken a course on ethics, how about a quick overview of the basics?

  1. Not only are you not to plagiarize in your paper by using information that is not yours, or worse, cut and paste from another work to your own paper, but is it unethical to use a friend’s paper on the topic from years before? Yes! It is unethical to use another’s paper. What about the availability of ghost writers who are willing to write your paper for a fee? That is also unethical, and it could lead to serious consequences, such as expulsion from college. Remember, you are always to do all of the work required for your courses. No cheating!
  2. What about if you are asked to do someone else’s work for a fee? Should you? No! That is also unethical and could lead to a poor reputation or other consequences. Let others do their own work- all of it!
  3. Not only with writing, but mathematics courses have their own unethical temptations in today’s technological world. One of the newest tricks is to use an app on your phone that allows you to take a picture of a math problem, and instantly, the answer, along with the steps used to solve the problem, appears! Using apps like these are fine for studying and learning how to solve a problem, but it is unethical to use these on an exam or graded assignment.
  4. Abridged versions of literary work and Cliff’s notes have been around for decades. Can you take a shortcut and read these instead of the novel? That is unethical, and you will miss out on the style and author’s touch that made the novel a classic. You can use Cliff’s notes or internet sources to help you understand the work or review the work, but reading the other things instead of the work is unethical. As far as watching the movie instead of reading the book, forget it! The movie is often very different from the novel.
  5. One behavior that is unethical, but many college students have done, is to allow a group project to be turned in with your name on it when you did nothing with the group. Sometimes to save time and expedite the process of a group project one member will do the entire project for the group. This behavior is unethical as well, and it could result in a poor grade or other consequences.
  6. A person with good character is an ethical person, and the way to be an ethical person is to fight the temptation to take shortcuts. Choose to do the right thing!
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