With so much learning happening online nowadays—even before the pandemic—Chegg has emerged as one of the most popular learning assistance platforms among high school and college students. The platform specializes in learning aids like textbook rentals, homework help, and even one-on-one tutoring sessions. However, as with so many other learning tools, it's far too easy for students to use Chegg for the wrong reasons or in the wrong ways—whether intentionally or unintentionally. As a result, many students find themselves facing disciplinary action for cheating because their teachers or the school's grading systems detected the inappropriate use of Chegg content on assignments or exams.
Being accused of cheating can have serious repercussions for a student's academic and professional career—not to mention the loss of tuition and the possible financial burden on the parents. Schools are extremely sensitive to issues of academic integrity—and rightly so—but occasionally, an honest mistake or a lapse in judgment can result in severe penalties that jeopardize a student's future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a nationally renowned expert in matters of student defense, and he has successfully defended thousands of students as an attorney advisor against unfair accusations of cheating.
When Is It Considered Cheating to Use Chegg?
Whether the use of Chegg is cheating or not depends on how the student uses it and what the school deems “acceptable use.” Many schools have no problem with students using Chegg as a study aid for homework assignments; others treat the use of Chegg with suspicion, and still others may forbid the use of Chegg completely. As a general rule, using Chegg is considered cheating in the following situations:
- If the school or instructor expressly forbids using Chegg
- Using Chegg to get answers to a test
- Copying Chegg answers word-for-word on tests or assignments (plagiarism)
- Soliciting a tutor to complete an assignment for you
- Any other use in which the school or instructor says the use of Chegg is inappropriate.
To avoid being accused of cheating, it's always best to ask upfront about using Chegg if the rules haven't been clearly stated. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing disciplinary action for something you might not even have known was wrong.
When Is It Okay to Use Chegg?
Except in cases where the school/instructor forbids it, you're generally safe using Chegg strictly for study purposes—in other words, the way the platform itself is designed to be used. The following practices are usually accepted in most schools:
- Using Chegg to rent and read textbooks
- Using Chegg as a study aid to understand difficult concepts
- Getting tutoring to help with problem areas
- Getting homework help without copying answers
How Can You Get Accused of Cheating with Chegg?
Using Chegg to cheat was once thought to be undetectable or at least hard to trace—and some students who cheat deliberately may still get away with it. However, schools and teachers are getting very creative in finding ways to tell when a student has used Chegg improperly. Many teachers now run their papers through a plagiarism checker to see if online content has been copied. Others have seen Chegg content so often from their students that they have come to recognize it by sight. One teacher reportedly got so creative as to put a trick question on a test, open his own Chegg account, and plant the incorrect answer on the platform. (Fourteen out of 99 of his students used the Chegg answer!)
Whether you as a student use Chegg or not, the important thing to remember is that the teacher only needs to suspect you of cheating to report you for it. Additionally, since school disciplinary hearings are not courts of law, they may not need to establish conclusive evidence of cheating to find you guilty and recommend punishment. This is precisely why so many students find their professional futures in jeopardy over what might have been a simple mistake.
What to Do If You Have Been Accused of Cheating
If you or your child is facing disciplinary action from a high school or college for cheating, the last thing you want to do is face those charges alone. Every school has different policies in place for addressing academic misconduct issues, but the pressure to protect the school's reputation often means they administer justice too swiftly, often denying the student proper due process. You must also assume the school knows their own procedures better than you do, and without proper knowledge of how the process works, you could damage your own defense.
As an alternative to facing disciplinary charges on your own, consider hiring an experienced attorney advisor to help you. Most schools allow an accused student to have advisory counsel present to help prepare a defense. A good advisor will have a clear understanding of that school's disciplinary policies and will work to ensure you have proper due process. The advisor can also help you gather evidence, procure witnesses, and offer guidance in presenting your best defense. In a vast number of such cases, this added help makes a positive difference in the outcome, frequently averting disaster in the process.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of students across the country defend against charges of cheating and other forms of misconduct and help resolve other school-related issues. If you or your child has been accused of cheating, don't face it alone. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to discuss your case and your options.