What Happens If You Plagiarize in College and Get Caught?

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Posted on November 21, 2023

Let’s imagine the worst scenario ever: you got caught with one or some cases of plagiarism. You might read the letter from your professor notifying you about it and panic. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you still can have a lot of questions like any other student. What happens if you plagiarize in college? What legal punishments can those who are convicted of plagiarism face? What is the plagiarism penalty?

You might think that if you ask people at your school or university, someone can immediately accuse you of plagiarism. Today, you’ll learn what happens if you plagiarize in university and how to create unique texts, even if not everything you write is 100% your own. Let’s dive right into it and understand how to save your reputation in front of your professors.

Plagiarism and Its Types

People have many questions about what happens if you plagiarize in college, but we’d rather start with the basics. So, what is plagiarism and what are its kinds? Typically, plagiarism is defined as the use of someone else’s work or thoughts as your own without crediting the sources or acknowledging doing so. It has different forms.

You might think that plagiarism is one Big Bad Thing, but a lot of people, even politicians, can plagiarize without knowing it. And it does not always happen in academic settings. But for the sake of your student life, it’s essential to discuss plagiarism in college. So, we’ll cover every aspect of plagiarism in school and how it affects students’ academic integrity.

  • Copying and pasting information from other sources. This one’s pretty bold, and most students don’t even know how easy it is to find the source of plagiarism. In such cases, someone usually takes entire sentences or paragraphs of text and puts them in their own work. It’s pretty bad for academic integrity, but it usually happens when a person does not know that such things are forbidden.
  • Presenting the results done by someone else as your own. Unlike the previous one, this action is much worse for your integrity. It means malicious intent and a desire to use plagiarism for your own interests and to make sure that you receive credit for something unique made by other people.
  • Plagiarizing your own work. Yes, some people have already asked, “Can you plagiarize yourself in college?” and the short answer is yes. However, if it was a draft you didn’t publish, you can safely use it. Always make sure to ask your professor if you can use your previous work. In terms of integrity, it’s not that bad if you don’t know about it.
  • Paraphrasing without crediting the person’s work. Even if you quoted the direct phrase but later used insufficient paraphrasing, it’s possible that you can be accused of plagiarism if the scan detects it. However, if you make such a misstep intentionally, it isn’t good for your academic record.

What Happens If You Plagiarize in College? Don’t Panic!

What happens if you plagiarize? What consequences might you face for copying someone else’s work? Interestingly, not all consequences of plagiarism are related to expulsion, worsening of reputation, or law outcomes. Even without it, students face other issues. They might always be worried about plagiarism, remaining in the rumination circle thinking, “What happens if you plagiarize in high school? Am I a bad person?”

Pro tip
A student accused of plagiarism, even informally, will bear terrible levels of stress. During the exam weeks, it can be extremely distressing. It can worsen their relationship with others.

Even more, students who plagiarize learn to live in an unfair world: after all, don’t you expect your professors to be fair, politicians to advocate for your interests, linguists to offer you well translated texts, and nurses to do their job well? One immoral behavior can lead to the next. If society does not respect other people’s right to their own unique content, everything will be bad.

Lastly, it also does not allow you to learn in a healthy academic environment. When committing plagiarism, you don’t think critically for yourself. It can have negative consequences for you even without any particular legal short-term penalties. You won’t get the unique experience of learning in a place where you can get support and understanding. Plagiarism in college will lead to poor career decisions and even make you an unfit candidate because you have lost touch with your unique thinking.

How to Plagiarize Without Getting Caught: The Main Rules

As a new student, you might think, “How to plagiarize without getting caught?” but that’s not the right approach to the issue. First of all, don’t plagiarize at all. Plagiarism is bad and can lead to all types of consequences, from expulsion to law involvement. Even if it’s not the case, you won’t learn anything useful.

  • Explain in your own words. Punishments for plagiarism can vary, so there’s no need to do it. If you want to write a paper about a topic and include several articles you want to use, read each one and write what you understood from them. Don’t copy and paste; simply write it as you remember it. This way, your text won’t be considered plagiarism, especially if you quote the author. It brings us to the next step!
  • Cite the author. Regardless of the case, always add the relevant quotation in the citation style your professor asked you to. When in doubt, cite – that’s the golden rule.
  • Use your grade language. Students say they were accused of plagiarizing by their professors when it was clear they didn’t use the language typical for their school or college. So, if you don’t want your work to be seen as someone else’s, don’t copy their style. If you want to sound more formal, just try to read more in the academic style, and you will slowly develop your own approach.
  • Utilize a plagiarism checker. You can check your plagiarism on Grammarly, CustomWritings Plagiarism checker, or QuillBot. If you have any particular one in mind that is suitable for your university only, go for that plagiarism checker.
How to Plagiarize Without Getting Caught

“I Got Caught Plagiarizing in College What Should I Do?” Your Next Moves

Perhaps you tried not to plagiarize, but something still went wrong. Now you’re thinking, “I got caught plagiarizing in college what should I do?” Even though this panic is understandable, you don’t need to worry about it too much. Remember that not all people get penalties for plagiarism, and a lot of professors allow you to explain yourself in the first cases of plagiarism. Here’s your plan of what happens if you plagiarism in university or what you can do.

  1. Acknowledge the plagiarism. If you suddenly realize that when you were doing your homework, you translated something wrong or detected crossplag, don’t wait until you’re accused of being a bad student. Contact your professor and explain that it was accidental. He or she will be nicer to you once you tell them about what you committed and how sorry you are about it.
  2. If you get caught, show you are committed to doing it right. If you haven’t noticed your error on time and your professor has already accused you of plagiarizing in your work, be sincere about it and apologize. Tell them that you are ready to face the punishment for plagiarism. If you say that you are not ready, professors will think badly about you. This way, you can save your reputation. If you behave nicely, it’s also possible that you won’t face any serious academic consequences. But don’t count on it!
  3. Explain why you made a mistake. If you know that you didn’t quote someone when you studied, show that. If you don’t understand how to paraphrase, try to show that you committed plagiarism because you weren’t aware of the proper methods. Show you have learned your lesson and how you will use a specific plagiarism checker or be more careful when studying other people’s work.
  4. If anyone was hurt, apologize to them. In the case when you used the work of someone else and didn’t credit them for it, approach them and be honest. Ask them to give you a chance to make up for it and not involve the law if possible.
Jacob Lee Top-10 Writer at CustomWritings.com
If you are already in trouble, getting out of the situation is quite an unpleasant process. However, refusing your fault will only prolong and deepen the consequences and your suffering. If you plagiarized and got caught, apologize for your own good.

Punishment for Plagiarism: How Bad Is It?

What happens if you plagiarize in high school? What are the plagiarism consequences in college? Plagiarism is a serious offense that can harm your career or academic reputation, but there are different types of penalties for plagiarism.

You can be surprised, but there are legal consequences for plagiarism. The author has a right to sue the person who plagiarized. Of course, your professor won’t do it unless you plagiarize their work, but it’s still possible as a concept. Sometimes, when an author finds out that there was plagiarism in a college that used their work, they can file a civil lawsuit against the student who did it. However, it can even be a criminal offense if the person committed plagiarism to get into a university or get a scholarship that they would not have received otherwise. Fortunately, your professor won’t sue you.

Plagiarism consequences in college

What happens when you plagiarize and your professor finds out? What happens if you plagiarize in college? Here are some potential actions an institution will enforce:

  • Make you redo the work. It’s one of the softest options, so if you get such a chance, go ahead and make it right.
  • Decrease your grade. Because plagiarism harms the quality of your work, it’s logical that your professors will decrease your mark for it.
  • Put zero grade on your course. This one’s a little bit rougher, but if you committed plagiarism on a severe level, you may receive zero points for the entire course.
  • Expel you from school. In rare cases where you make a severe mistake, you can face expulsion. However, such options are usually avoided, and most professors choose something else as a punishment.
You now understand that plagiarism is a serious problem that you should do without. If you have any questions, it’s better to ask your professor and try to be on the safe side. In any case, use a reliable checker, learn how to paraphrase and quote, and you’ll be safe!
About authors
James Snyder A Top-10 writer at CustomWritings.com
James is one of the most prominent authors on our team with more than 7 years of experience. He specializes in writing essays and coursework. James loves to work from home with a cup of hot chocolate and his cat Archibald.
Kate Roth A Top-10 writer at CustomWritings.com
Kate likes to read long stories and write essays. She’s experienced in both academic writing and marketing activities, so she can tell everything about a writer’s job in a few simple words. You can use our website to request the help of our experts anytime.
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