The Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism. A word often feared by many a student writing an essay or project for fear of getting caught in the act. Although many of us may like to think we are above such unethical practices, many students today seem to either ignore or not understand the potential consequences, with over 50% of students out of 63,000 undergraduates admitting to some form of journalistic misconduct. Whether that be improper citation, copy and pasting, or even turning in entire assignments that aren’t theirs. It’s become apparent that today’s students don’t see the negatives or the immoralities of plagiarism, and how it could affect them in the future. Plagiarism is an unethical, fraudulent act, and students should be properly educated to take the act and its consequences seriously.


In an article written by Emily Strossburg, “Plagiarism destroys credibility”, she discusses the moral quandaries of plagiarism, stating that it is an unethical practice akin to stealing, since plagiarism is the taking of another person’s work without proper credit. I completely agree, plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty, and in doing it, you are only inhibiting yourself from learning the necessary skills to write a properly worded and researched essay that will be of to you in the future, only serving as a temporary solution.

Moreover, she discusses the often-overlooked consequences of plagiarism, even giving an example of a man running for governorship who had do resign due to allegations of plagiarizing from a writing foundation in his youth. While this event is an outlier in terms of the grandiosity of its consequences, it is still able properly illustrate to possible harshness of the drawbacks and punishments associated with plagiarism.

Showing how what could seem like a small one-time mistake can propel itself into your future career, possibly tarnishing your reputation, and making it difficult to succeed in a professional environment if word gets out. The severity of the consequences is something that students today are not properly educated on, which Emily Strossburg also discusses.

Something that she failed to mention however, is the ability use of modern technology and applications to discourage and prohibit plagiarism in new generations of students.

Websites such as Turnitin.com allow for word documents to be scanned for any discrepancies, with the website having a database of thousands of academic works to compare the student’s work to. Making sure that the student faces the necessary consequences if caught, or even letting them rework their essay to include more original material. If these programs are used early on in a student’s life, and it’s use mandated on the assignments that they complete; hypothetically, students would be discouraged early on from committing plagiarism.


Since their grades would directly correlate with the amount of plagiarism found in their assignments (Turnitin.com offers a percentage of plagiarism for each paper that is scanned) they would be able to see how it affects their performance. By setting up that notion early on, it can stop students from plagiarizing in the future, where the consequences would be more severe (expulsion from their institution, fired from job).


To conclude, plagiarism is a serious academic offense with harsh consequences that can be blown up into great proportions in the future. Although it can be easy to slip into that bad habit, educating students on the consequences of plagiarizing, and using tools to help detect it in student’s work can help dramatically decrease the number of students that intentionally take others work for themselves. Potentially even eliminating the wider problem of academic dishonesty as new generations of students come along.

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