Why do some Colorado college students cheat?


College students cheat for many reasons. Some may even do so completely unaware that they are breaking the rules, but the consequences can be far-reaching.

Academic cheating occurs on college campuses large and small in Colorado. For example, during the 2012-2013 school year, the University of Colorado-Boulder experienced an increase in cheating reports, with 279 cases compared with 202 reports the previous year. Officials theorized that increased awareness of cheating, not increased cheating itself, led to more reporting. The question remains, though: Why do some students cheat?

Lack of education

Not all students arrive on campus adequately prepared to research without plagiarizing. Many students simply do not know how to attribute their sources correctly, for example, or they have problems nailing down interpretations they feel confident in. This lack of critical thinking and confidence may lead them to copy and paste. In fact, it is a given that some college students have had blogs since they were children. They may have used pictures without the permission of copyright holders and may have copied and pasted text from other places on the internet-all without knowing doing so is not okay and may equate to academic cheating if done as part of an assignment.

Unawareness of the rules

At many schools, one type of academic cheating is self-plagiarizing. For instance, it can occur when a student writes a paper for a specific class and later uses that paper for an assignment in another class. Some colleges disallow using the same work for multiple classes because they want to be sure that students are learning as they go on. Unfortunately, quite a few students have no idea such rules may exist at their school.


Pressure may stem from many directions: parents, self-expectations, newfound independence or finances, to name a few. College students often must deal with many things at once, and the temptation to take a “shortcut” might be hard to resist. Sometimes, shortcuts take the form of drugs that help students stay up all night or get energy boosts. Other times, the shortcuts take the form of academic cheating.

The possible consequences of academic cheating

The consequences of being caught and disciplined for academic cheating can be far-reaching. A student could be expelled from school, for example, and find it difficult to get into another college. The domino effects from such a disruption might include lower earning potential and issues with anger. On a more minor level, a student found guilty of academic cheating may be forced to take an ethics class.

No matter the type of academic cheating that might have occurred in Colorado, a lawyer should be able to help advise and defend a student. Disciplinary committee hearings can be stressful, and students are not always aware of their rights throughout the investigative process. An attorney keeps their best interests in mind.

United States v. Brian Gall



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