Cheating is a lose-lose situation

Thou shall not cheat.

If college students had a 10 commandments, that line would be probably be among the top three on the list.

It’s a given that students are expected to work hard, do their own research, write their own papers and rely on good study habits to pass their classes.

However, a recent study published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal suggests that for graduate students this is often not the case.

According to the study, which involved more than 5,000 graduate students at 32 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, there is some serious academic dishonesty going on at the graduate school level.

The survey reports that MBA students are the most likely to engage in – or at least admit to engaging in – cheating. More than half, 56 percent, of business graduate students surveyed admitted to everything from plagiarism and downloading essays off the Internet to taking cheat sheets into exams.

Many of the cheaters said they did it because they believed it was an accepted practice in business. They see getting the job done as more important than how it gets done, the study’s author said. Given recent business scandals, those numbers are both scary and predictable.

However, the problem is definitely not confined to business students.

Graduate students across the board admitted to cheating. The survey showed at least half of engineering and science graduate students admitted to some form of cheating. Even among the “most honest” of the graduate students, those in the humanities and social sciences, a whopping 39 percent admitted to cheating.

And these are only the ones who admit to it. More students are likely cheating than admit it.

Worst of all, these students aren’t just cheaters, they seem to have no regrets and are obviously willing to talk about and admit to it. Where’s the guilt?

So what of the other half who aren’t cheating? The students who spend hours studying and researching and working their butts off to compete against their peers who skate by on plagiarized papers and openly admit to cheating on exams? They’re getting a raw deal – so they might as well cheat, too.

One of the reasons cheating is prevalent, the author said, is that in a competitive world, students see their peers cheating, and so they cheat, too.

But for those that don’t, the degree doesn’t mean much because it’s the same one their peers achieved through cheating. And those cheapened degrees are unfair to everyone.

Graduate students are supposed to be the crŠme de la crŠme of the academic world. They are the students who go on to become the CEOs, the doctors, the lawyers and the professors.

It’s a scary thought that more than half of the world’s future leaders are clawing their way to the top through dishonest means.

We guess Mom was wrong. Winners do cheat, and cheaters do win.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.