OPINION | Cheating your way through college is a waste of time and money 

How much money are you paying for your degree?  

That alone could be my argument, but let’s be thorough.   

Everyone has slightly different reasons for coming to college, but the likelihood is that we all want to get something out of it. Maybe as people are here, they are discovering that college isn’t for them, which is a completely fair way to feel.  

For a lot of us, we are here because we want to learn what it takes to succeed in our field and get a degree to make that success possible. Yes, the workload gets difficult, but if this is truly the career path we’re choosing, we’ll find a way to fight through it.  

The way not to fight through it is by cheating, using AI for assignments or just plagiarizing. Not only is it unethical — it’s a complete waste of time and money.  

There is the obvious point that academic integrity involves doing your own work, and that “honesty is the best policy.” We’ve all heard that before, though, and I’m sure we’re sick of hearing it, so think about the money you’re pouring into a degree instead.  

You are paying thousands on thousands of dollars in tuition to gain expertise in a field. Some classes will feel worthwhile, and some won’t, but you can get something out of every single class you take. Cheating means the entire process was worthless to you and you just paid $300 to copy paste somebody else’s work onto a page.  

It’s understandable that when assignments are due and grades are dropping, the desperation hits and you need a quick fix. However, dishonesty is never going to help your case. While it is easier to cheat than ever before, it’s also easier to check cheating than ever before, as your teachers have access to the same superhighway of information that you do.  

If you are proving unable to keep up with the workload without feeling like you need to use AI to write a paper, that’s the time to talk to a guidance counselor or have a longer conversation with your teacher.  

When you genuinely want to succeed and don’t see any other way, the Help Center is available to you, and your teachers have office hours where you can discuss assignments in more detail. Students who legitimately care about their work will be able to find a way to succeed, even if it takes a while.  

If you are cheating because you don’t care about your grades, you or your parents or your scholarships are throwing money away. Do better for yourself.   

Even in classes you don’t care about, cheating shows disrespect to your teacher’s time and completely wastes your own. Any class can teach you something, and you can choose whether or not to be interested in it, but college is this incredible opportunity to learn about so many things in detail. Take the opportunity.  

Dishonesty means failing classes and setting yourself up as an unreliable job candidate. Cheating once or twice might not kill your entire future, but making a habit out of it very well could.  

Student study setup. Photo by Kira Thorne.