Academic misconduct is especially problematic for international students in Pennsylvania, particularly those from countries where English is not the main language. Without a familiarity with the American education system or a clear understanding of what academic misconduct includes, international students frequently find themselves accused of cheating or plagiarizing assignments.
In many cases, an attorney can help clear the waters or help accused students defend their academic integrity.
Academic Misconduct in Pennsylvania
While every school in Pennsylvania has its own code of conduct that defines academic misconduct in its own way, all schools prohibit cheating, plagiarizing, or forging or altering official documents.
For international students, accusations for cheating and plagiarizing are the most common. While the precise definitions for these offenses vary on the specific school, in general, they prohibit using unauthorized materials during a test and claiming the ideas of someone else as one's own.
Why International Students Face Misconduct Allegations So Often
Numerous studies have shown that international students face allegations of cheating and plagiarism far more often than students from the United States. Experts think that this discrepancy comes from a combination of cultural differences, fear of failure, and an inadequate grasp of the English language.
Culturally Different Educational Systems
Western education – including schools in Pennsylvania – tends to promote independent thinking and problem solving. Contrary to popular belief, these values are not universal. International students from Asia, for example, frequently find the process very different from the rote learning and memorization that they are accustomed to, at home. Other cultures view parroting someone else's ideas not as plagiarism, but a sign of respect or even flattery. Out of their element, international students can feel like they need to cheat to succeed, and are unaware that plagiarism is frowned upon.
Fear of Failure
International students are also vulnerable to academic misconduct because they often have much more pressure riding on their academic success than U.S. students. Succeeding in school is demanded in many cultures, and failure is not an acceptable option. With so much pressure, international students who feel like they are falling behind can turn to academic misconduct far quicker than American students.
Finally, international students whose first language is not English can fall under suspicion of plagiarism far more quickly than American students. While native English speakers and writers can allude to the ideas of others or commit minor plagiarism with very little indication that they are doing it, international students whose writing is stilted or unnatural can get accused of plagiarism as soon as they write a sentence that flows naturally.
Joseph D. Lento Represents International Students in Pennsylvania
These factors all hurt international students in Pennsylvania. With more pressure, a different academic system, and closer scrutiny on their work, international students can face accusations of academic misconduct far quicker than domestic students.
Student discipline defense lawyer Joseph D. Lento knows this and strives to represent international students who have been accused of cheating, plagiarizing, or committing another form of academic misconduct in Pennsylvania. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686 for the legal help you need to defend your academic reputation.