Perhaps one of the most common vices among college students is plagiarism. It easily competes in terms of prevalence and popularity with much more dangerous habits such as drug abuse or misuse, cyberbullying and internet fraud among others. Despite the development of various media to address this challenge, one being the free online plagiarism checker for students, this problem persists. This plagiarism checker for students is used to check for plagiarism in articles, essays, papers, etc. and for students who might get penalized for plagiarism, Aristotle’s analysis of the Freytag's pyramid places them under a static character thereby exhibiting the traits described under the cannon bard theory of emotions.

In attempting a conceptual analysis of plagiarism, it could be defined as an act of either directly copying or closely imitating the language and ideas of another author without approval or consent from such an author. It also covers the act of making the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author. This act is generally condemned not only among students but also within the context of the larger society.

Statistics on the Prevalence of Plagiarism in Colleges

The prevalence of plagiarism across various college campus has become a significant bane that needs to be addressed quickly. The notoriety of the practice is better reflected by a research work carried out among college students and which mainly involved six hundred ninety-eight undergraduates (85.9% between the ages of 17 and 23; 87.5% in the first through the fourth year) from nine colleges and universities. The participants were made to complete a survey on Internet plagiarism. It was discovered that a substantial majority, the statistics running into about 81% of the students involved reported that they use the internet to copy and paste the text into their papers without citation.

In another related research, the activity carried out by The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), an organization with the objectives of encouraging the values of integrity, honesty, and hard work. In studying trends in academic dishonesty and plagiarism in colleges for more than a decade, the reports revealed that about 68 percent of undergraduate students surveyed admit to plagiarizing as well as cheating on tests. Forty-three percent of graduate students do the same. These staggering statistics typically answer the budding question “how prevalent is plagiarism on college campuses?” as well as reflect on the decay in academic standards in college education. Unfortunately, it does not appear that there is any silver lining on the dark horizon.

There are several factors that could be said to facilitate or cause the rapidly growing indulgence of college students in this distasteful act, the first being that electronic communication through handheld and other popular devices makes it even easier for students to copy and transmit information both inside and outside the classroom. The ease with which the billions or resources available on the internet within seconds and from the comforts of their rooms is a primary causal agent in this regard. Students do not give many thoughts to the legal and moral uprightness of their actions since they are more concerned with getting better grades and ultimately passing the course. As though they were involved in a business strategy game, most students go to the extent of copying from several sources, which makes them complete their tasks in record time. This quick fix approach can be likened to the story of an hour summary, which is hurried and unprofessional.

Some other reasons that could be identified as the cause of the prevalence of plagiarism include lack of awareness, peer culture, lack of punishment, absence of risk and pressure to achieve, to mention but a few.

How to Combat Plagiarism in Colleges?

In combating the challenge of plagiarism, several possible solutions could be advanced, the first being the prescription of strict punitive measures for those caught involved in the act. Within the college community, defaulters could be suspended, and in extreme cases, rusticated. This would serve as a deterrence to other students and encourage originality, discipline, and hard work in the student population.

Additionally, students can be made aware of the evils of plagiarism. The school authorities should facilitate the teaching of ethics courses and explaining non-ethical behaviors in each session. This is important in increasing the awareness of students towards plagiarism.

Finally, it should be noted that there are consequences of plagiarism in college that also extend beyond the college years. There are several reported cases where indulgence in plagiarism has adversely affected the careers of such defaulters. One of such is the case where the master's degree of a former engineering student was revoked when it was found out that this dissertation was plagiarized. In another example, an assistant professor was forced to resign when an investigative panel discovered proof of plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation and other works. It has become clear from the preceding that plagiarism should never be an option for a student.