Impossible standards mean cheating isn’t just for slackers


Otto Tielemans

Freshman Emma Saldana takes a peek at freshman Joanne Quiray’s test answers. Photo illustration: Otto Tielemans/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Most people have the misconception that the students who cheat most are the ones struggling in school. However, the reality is that those who are cheat most often are the ones who are college bound.

Statistics reveal that 80% of the country’s best students cheated to get to the top of their class. Why are so many students turning to cheating rather than studying? It’s because the competition for college admissions has escalated at an unfathomable rate.

With so much emphasis put on attending elite colleges, most teenagers are willing to do anything to reach the top, even if it involves cheating.

Of course kids always have the option of spending hours studying in their bedrooms so that they can achieve “honest grades.” But if they spend all their time studying, where will they find the time to be involved in extracurricular activities? How will they be able to study for their SAT, ACT, and AP exams?

The process of college admissions no longer reflects that of the past. A high SAT score, mediocre Grade Point Average, and one or two extracurricular activities will not guarantee you a place among Columbia’s freshman class. The time has come where students have to have a perfect SAT/ACT score, a glittering 5.0 GPA, and be president of an organization.

Students shouldn’t be blamed for doing whatever it takes to get into a prestigious university. If anything, high admissions standards and parents should be to blame.

Parents across the nation are telling their children to achieve straight A’s and to score a minimum of 2200 on the SAT. At the same time, they want them to spend their time volunteering and participating in cross-country. It is because of this excess stress that students turn to cheating on exams and homework assignments.  

We have to come to the realization that these students are not robots, they are 16-year-olds.

If we want students to stop cheating, then we have to get the message across that achieving a “B” in a class and a 1800 on the SAT is okay; we have to make it clear that obtaining a degree from California State University Northridge will be as valuable as one from Harvard. 

I have come to the conclusion that I won’t get straight A’s. Not because I’m lazy, but because I’m realistic. I realize that I won’t achieve an “A” in every class because I don’t like all of my classes. I know that I’ll never achieve a 5.0 GPA. And to tell you the truth, that is one of the most relieving feelings a person can have.

I still remain hopeful that I will be accepted to Georgetown University and accomplish amazing things with my degree. But in case I get rejected, I won’t break down and wither away. In a nation with over 5,000 universities I know that I will go to college somewhere. I fully understand that I will still be able to accomplish my goals, just not the way I intended.  

It is this train of thought that we must pass on to our peers. If not, we risk having students who will go through life cheating and never fully developing the skills necessary to succeed in life.  

What do you think?