Plagiarism is claiming someone else's written work as your own by failing to give proper credit to the original author. Students must learn how to cite sources to avoid errors and unintentional acts of cheating, which are also inexcusable. In some cases, students knowingly plagiarize to avoid creating their own work when they are pressed for time or struggling to understand the material. In a 2012-15 study of 71,300 college students, Rutgers University found that 68 percent of survey respondents admitted to cheating on papers or tests. When students get caught, the effects of plagiarism can be severe. For instance, the punishment for plagiarism in high school and college can include suspension or expulsion.

Consider Plagiarism Disadvantages

The impact of plagiarism reverberates widely. In many cases, intentional plagiarizers only consider the external effects of plagiarism and cheating on tests. However, whether you get caught or not, plagiarism has some critical consequences. First, you deprive yourself of the intended learning objectives of an assignment, paper or report by not conducting thorough research and formulating an original document. You can also damage relationships with peers and instructors. Dutiful students may be upset if they put forth great effort and watch you cut corners. If an instructor finds that you have plagiarized, he develops a sense of distrust is more likely to scrutinize your work going forward.

Learn the Consequences of Plagiarism

Most high schools and colleges take plagiarism very seriously and have stated polices that outline discipline processes and consequences of plagiarism. The punishment for plagiarism in high school varies according to the instructor's standards and course syllabus. Students in English, communication and other writing intensive disciplines must follow strict formatting rules in accordance with professional style guides and ethics. Instructors with a zero tolerance policy in their classes automatically flunk anyone caught cheating. Other instructors may be willing to consider a lesser penalty such as a zero on the assignment for a first offense.

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Face Formal Discipline and Sanctions

Your high school or college normally gets involved if incidents of plagiarism are repeated or severe. This stems from one or more instructors reporting these incidents through the school's formal disciplinary reporting processes. At the high school level, a school board hearing is commonly held to determine whether a student's conduct violated the code to an extent requiring suspension or expulsion from school. In college, a disciplinary board usually handles the student's disciplinary hearing if he reaches the stage in the conduct code justifying a suspension or expulsion hearing. The effects of plagiarism can include being restricted from school grounds and barred from future attendance.

Receive Disciplinary Transcript Notation

In 2015, Dartmouth College suspended 64 student-athletes for cheating in a sports ethics class by falsifying their attendance record. Their actions embarrassed the school and disrupted the athletic team. In situations like this, students may also receive a disciplinary notion of suspension on their academic record, which acts as a red flag if they try to transfer to another school. Students who are suspended or expelled for academic dishonesty typically spend considerable time and money applying to other schools in order to finish their studies. Further, dismissed students may need to change their major if that program is not offered at their new school. As such, the impact of plagiarism can be life altering.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.