Harvard Plagiarism Scandal: Lessons Learned

In case you had any remaining doubts about the importance of academic integrity and writing your college essays yourself, we’d like to draw your attention to the latest cheating scandal at Harvard University.

Yup, Harvard. As in, the #1 school in… the world?

The university is investigating over 100 students suspected of plagiarism. Which, as you probably already know, is serious business. Many of these students have been asked to withdraw from the university for a period of time, and those who have not withdrawn are facing disciplinary probation. This is the kind of thing that stays on your record (and haunts you!) for a long time.

The kind of plagiarism these students engaged in wasn’t even what we usually think of when we think of plagiarism—as in directly copying answers or writing from someone else’s work, or having someone write work for you. What happened? Students collaborated on a take-home exam, exchanging ideas and answers over email. The professor got suspicious when he noticed too many similarities in student responses.

If that’s not a sign that schools take academic integrity extremely seriously (with even the slightest infraction leading to major consequences), we don’t know what is.

And if that’s not enough, well, this story at Harvard is coming on the heels of a recent crackdown on plagiarized college application essays. Students who paid people to write essays for them were discovered and denied acceptance, or their applications were immediately tossed from the application pool.

So for those of you out there who needed a little reminder, here it is: do your own work… always. And that goes for those college application essays, too. You don’t want to ruin your academic career before it begins, after all. It’s just not a risk worth taking—not when you have all the tools and resources you need to write an amazing essay of your own.

 

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