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My very best friend cheats, not just looking over her shoulder for two answers, I mean full out cheats - raising each grade from what would be a D to an A. I feel very guilty for doing something wrong, so I can not cheat.

I have a rank 35 in the school (I have only made 3 B's in 4 years of school). Most students above that cheat constantly. She takes mostly AP classes and I do too, but I am getting very frustrated that she and others look very intelligent when they cheat on the whole test before hand. My friend always brags about how she will be awarded a very prestigious award for her grades in Calculus, but my friend just told me she cheats on all the tests. Just recently she got a list of all the answers for a test and just bubbled each in knowing nothing. She will be awarded with many awards she does not deserve. I just don't think it is fair considering colleges look at rankings.

I don't want to lose my friendship with a really close friend, but I can't let this stand. I have tried warning her it was a bad idea. She wants to be a medical doctor and I feel like its important now for her to not cheat. People say that bad things will happen in the future because of what she does now, but I honestly believe she will continue to cheat without consequences.

Side-note: Another friend said, "Why would it matter if she cheats, that isn't affecting you." I just feel like it is affecting me when rank is what colleges look at.

What should I do?

closed as off-topic by virmaior, scaaahu, user3209815, Richard Erickson, Buzz Oct 12 '18 at 14:27

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    I don't want to sound too harsh, but really, in my experience, a student who is able to get away with cheating so many times is a sign of badly designed tests or of lack of control by the professor. – Massimo Ortolano Oct 24 '14 at 20:25
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    Adding to what @MassimoOrtolano said: If your observation that ”most students above that cheat constantly” is correct, something is wroung about the whole system, but maybe this is something you should not address alone. – Wrzlprmft Oct 24 '14 at 20:28
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    Could you approach a faculty member and say something very general, such as. "I'm concerned about how easy it is to cheat. All I would have to do is X." – Jeremy Miles Oct 24 '14 at 21:16
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    @JeremyMiles I +1 this idea. Reasonable teachers should understand that you are 1) not the one cheating, and 2) not willing to betray anybody. However, it can improve the system in the future. – yo' Oct 24 '14 at 22:41
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    Maybe your friend should read this: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/30539/… – Nick S Oct 25 '14 at 20:10
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You say that several students are cheating. This is actually good in the sense that you maybe can avoid specifically naming your friend.

One option is to contact a relevant faculty member (ideally one that you know and trust) and say that you know that several of the top graders are cheating. A second option is to do this anonymously.

The advantage of doing this anonymously is obviously that people will not know that you reported this. The disadvantage is that it may be less credible.

BTW your friend is completely incorrect. It definitely does affect you, since the ranking and the prizes can affect your future career. If she can't understand that, then she perhaps isn't such a good friend.

  • 2
    I find it unlikely that somebody would want to take credit as "the person who ratted the cheaters out" especially when the cheaters are your friends. So the disadvantages of anonymously submitting a complaint are not that bad. – Ali Caglayan Oct 20 '15 at 15:38
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    @Alizter what I meant was that if one reports anonymously, it might not be taken seriously by the faculty member. – Bitwise Oct 20 '15 at 16:00
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    The whole situation is totally translatable to reporting plagiarism & misconduct among faculty members. In my experience "if one reports anonymously, it might not be taken seriously' is exactly what happens, for a number of reasons. Mainly because it is just easier to ignore anonymous complaints than acknowledge a system flaw. – Scientist Oct 6 '18 at 17:19
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I strongly recommend you take action in order to end your friend's cheating ASAP, either by convincing her (first thing, obviously) or letting the professors know. You can do that anonymously, the professor will have to catch your friend in the act anyway so the credibility issue should not be too much of a concern.

Why? Well, just because you friend wants to be a medical doctor. Habits die hard, thus she is more than likely to cheat her way through medical school, and then real problems will arise. Patients treated by doctors who do not have the right credentials will suffer, some may die. Think about them, their loved ones. Makes sense?!

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    None of this is theoretical. Watch this American Greed episode about a dishonest cancer doctor who faked positive test results. He disfigured people who did not need treatment. All for a little more money. What if someone -- say, a former friend -- could have gone back in a time machine and stopped that one person from their life of crime? – Paul Oct 26 '14 at 3:34
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It is far better for your friend and classmates to learn the consequences of cheating now before the consequences become more severe. Cheating in college often becomes part of a student's permanent academic record. Cheating on a job often results in employees getting fired with loss of income and increased difficulty finding a job.
Definitely report it, anonymously if you prefer. Share everything you know including methods, frequency and duration. You don't have to tell your friend that you are reporting it, but she may figure it out. Include the names of the students who you know are cheating. This will make it much easier for the teachers and administration to correct the situation. Let the teachers decide what to do. Realize as a former teacher myself, I occasionally suspected cheating but did not have enough evidence to do administer consequences.

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    When cheating is reported to me by students, it's often the case that I can't prove that a particular student cheated, but I typically can take steps to stop that particular method of cheating. I appreciate it when students make me aware of these situations. – Brian Borchers Oct 25 '14 at 18:49
  • I agree with the general point of your answer, but totally disagree with "Include the names of the students who you know are cheating". As you stated yourself, they may figure out. And then the OPs life would be hell. The system is flawed, a general notice will help to fix them, without any names. On the other hand, if they are unwilling to fix their system, all they will do is punish the students you reported. – print x div 0 Nov 4 '14 at 12:29
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Do not let this get back at you.

One of the first things to do is: protect yourself. In an ideal world, you report the cheaters, they get punished and life goes on.

I've seen that situation happen. But we don't live in an ideal world, what happened was that the cheaters didn't have any other consequences other then a: "guys we heard that", and the girl who reported them had a real shitty 2 years, because the cheaters weren't so forgiving to the "rat".

So: I'd argue that the best thing is to look after your own interests first. If there's a way to get it of your mind without getting identified, go for that.

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