Dangers of Plagiarism

Some students see plagiarism as something trivial that pretty much everyone does, and they rarely think of it as a criminal or civil offense. In reality, it’s far more than just an academic violation— a person who plagiarizes can actually be sued for fraud or copyright infringement. To avoid life-altering ramifications, it’s best to keep these tips in mind.

Consult with your instructors. There are different levels of plagiarism, and the definition can vary depending on who you ask. Depending on the teacher or policy at your school, simply citing sources incorrectly or turning in work you originally submitted for another class could be considered plagiarism. When in doubt, always ask questions to clarify.

Use an online plagiarism checker. Many instructors today use plagiarism detection software like Turnitin to catch students who plagiarize work. Before turning in your assignment, try using an online plagiarism checker like Grammarly ( to make sure you’re not copying someone else’s work. You can also use sites like EasyBib (easybib. com) to make sure you’re citing your sources correctly.

Put things into perspective. According to a survey on academic integrity done by Penn State, the main reason students plagiarize is due to their fear of failure. It’s important to make sure you put things into perspective and get help when needed rather than place your academic career at risk or face even more serious consequences. It’s better to take a bad grade than get caught for plagiarizing— we promise.

Say no. Doing someone else’s work for them is a violation of academic integrity, and both the author and the person turning in the work can be penalized for plagiarism. Many academic institutions treat plagiarism as a serious offense, and if you aren’t careful, you could risk losing your scholarship and even your spot at the school.

Layne Holley with Auburn University at Montgomery offered this advice:

1. Keep the penalties in mind. Plagiarism on a college application essay will get you an automatic rejection. Once you’re a student, no matter which university you attend, plagiarism in your coursework can result in loss of credit for an assignment or class, suspension, or even expulsion.

2. Don’t procrastinate. One of the chief causes of plagiarism is waiting until the last minute on an assignment and rushing to get it done.

3. Keep good notes. As you prepare your research for an assignment, make sure that you record your source material — not just for direct quotes, but for ideas that are new to you as well. Again, this means planning ahead and using your time wisely

As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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