Columnist examines cheating in school – college and otherwise


Paige Ruder, Columnist

I could cheat.

This is what I thought as I took the ACT, proctor on the other side of the room and a prime opportunity to go back in the test and fix answers. But I didn’t, because I wanted to get into college fairly and know that I had gotten in based on my own merits, and I had hoped that everyone else had the same standards. However, the recent college admission scandals has left me disappointed.

For those out of the loop, there’s been a major shakeup in the world of college admissions. Last Tuesday, parents nationwide were prosecuted for essentially bribing their kids’ way into top institutions such as Yale, University of Southern California and Stanford. As a result, colleges all over the nation are under investigation as they rescind the admission of accused students.

Students cheat all the time. It’s masked as an we’re-all-in-this-together, fight-the-man dynamic where it’s “ok” to cheat because everyone’s stressed. But, even though the people engaging in cheating may benefit, those who truly deserve recognition, who work hard and get good grades without cheating, get snubbed.

Everyone has these urges. The pressure to get ahead is real in affluent communities where students have an edge. And the funny thing is, the cases of extreme cheating, the kind that has been highlighted recently in the news, aren’t being done by those who need the advantage. The kids who already have that edge are the ones doing it.

Such is the case in Prosper. We can’t pretend that we don’t have it good, and yes, with a better school system comes harder rigor, but we have the tools to help us. We have some of the best teachers in the state. We have top-of-the-line facilities, and a dedicated faculty. In the same way that students of millionaires cheating is a disadvantage to us, our cheating is a disadvantage to others. Some schools don’t have the same privileges as we do, so the unlevel playing field is exacerbated by dishonest practices. There’s no need to cheat; we’re already blessed with enough resources to help us succeed, and if we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.