Columnist Gary Brown checks out a survey of college students that has surprising results.

“Cheaters never prosper.”

Apparently, that’s another life lesson that Mom was too optimistic about.

She told me that more than once over the years. I think she probably
believed cheating always catches up with you. And it probably does. But, you
may still prosper in spite of it, according to a recent “CollegeHumor
Cheating Survey.”

“Oddly enough, we found that cheaters usually win and winners usually
cheat,” says Ricky Van Veen, editor in chief of in
promotional material about the survey.

“I guess our parents never conducted an extensive anonymous online cheating


As the weeks of final exams and college graduations unfolded -- “prime
cheating season” -- surveyed more than 30,000 students
throughout the country in an effort to determine which schools’ students
cheated the most and what the most common cheating methods were.

If you were enrolled at Ball State, Appalachian State or Penn State, chances
are good you’re a cheater. According to the survey, those are the top three
“cheating” schools in the nation, based on those admitting their academic
indiscretions. Almost three-quarters (71.9 percent) of students polled at
Ball State admitted to cheating, followed by 67.9 percent at Appalachian
State and 67.2 percent at Penn State.

Of course, almost 61 percent of all students polled reported to have
cheated, with only 16.5 percent claiming to have “strong feelings of

So much for honor. The survey showed that at schools with an honor code 67.6
percent of students cheat, while at schools without an honor code only 41.5
percent of students cheat.

The latter finding is almost as surprising, perhaps, as the survey statistic
indicating that “religious students are more likely to cheat (65.4 percent)
than those who aren’t religious (58.3 percent).” The survey also showed that
males cheat more than females (64.8 percent to 42 percent). Big shock there.

And in case it came to mind while you’re reading the last paragraph, the
survey also seemed to show that those who cheat in school are 2.5 times more
likely to cheat in their relationships than those who don’t cheat in school.


Although I don’t want to turn this into a how-to column, the cheating itself
is accomplished with trusted techniques. Looking over another student’s
shoulder is the most popular (14.5 percent) single method of cheating,
followed by storing the answers in a calculator (11.1 percent) and getting a
test from a friend (9.2 percent). “Though many students (45.6 percent) use a
combination of cheating methods,” according to the survey report.

“You would think that cell phones or calculators would be the most common
method of cheating in this day and age,” said Van Veen. “It’s good to know
that some traditions are still being preserved on college campuses today ...

Only 12 percent of cheaters have been caught, the survey said. And only
about 7 percent of those people who got caught stopped cheating because of

Perhaps the rewards are too great.

Students who cheat have a higher grade-point average (3.41) than those who
don’t (2.85),” the survey revealed.

Sorry, mom. But I’ll bet what you said about not being able to judge a book
by its cover was right on target.

Reach Canton Repository Living Section Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or