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Hints to Avoid Committing an Act of Academic Dishonesty

Consider utilizing the following best practices to minimize or prevent being accused of an act of academic dishonesty:

  • Make sure that you are aware of each of your professors' guidelines for Academic Honesty at the beginning of each course. If your professor does not articulate her/his guidelines in the course syllabus or on the first day of class, do not hesitate to ask her/him questions about what specifically constitutes cheating in the course. Do not assume that the guidelines for one professor or one class apply to all your classes.
  • Pay particular attention to class guidelines about group and project work and when it is appropriate to work in teams. The same holds true for homework or computer programs. If you are confused or unclear, ask your instructor for clarification.
  • If you are not permitted to work together on assignments, use caution when you are helping a classmate. Do not lend your homework, provide copies of exams or quizzes, or provide assistance when it is specifically prohibited. Some students have tried to help out a friend, only to find themselves accused of facilitating academic dishonesty.
  • If you are having difficulty with an assignment, homework, or project, don't cheat. Get help from your professor, teaching assistant, or tutor.
  • When doing research or writing a paper, make sure that you give full and proper credit to your sources, including those from the Internet, and appropriately attribute direct quotes. Remember that it is just as easy for your professor to search the web for your sources as it was for you to find them. If you are unsure about proper documentation practices, make an appointment with the Writing Center to educate yourself. Ask your professor about his/her specific requirements for documentation.
  • If you are using old copies of tests to study and prepare for an exam, make certain this is allowed by your professor and, if so, do so with caution. Many professors will make subtle changes in exam questions from year to year.
  • In an exam setting, keep your eyes on your own paper. Guard your own paper during an exam so that it is not easy for someone to copy off of you.
  • Plan ahead. When you procrastinate or leave things until the last minute, feelings of desperation and panic may lead you to consider cheating as a solution to your lack of preparation. Leave yourself enough time to properly prepare assignments and projects, and to study for tests.
  • If you see a fellow student committing an act of academic dishonesty, do not hesitate to report him/her to the professor.
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