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How and Why Do College Students Cheat on Assignments?

Editorial Staff

How and Why Do College Students Cheat on Assignments?

Writing-Help has conducted new research, surveying 800 students from U.S. universities to find out how and why college student cheat on assignments.


86% of surveyed students admit they cheat in college in one way or another. Among them, 76% just copied others’ works from online resources, thus infringing copyright. When we asked about the plagiarism issues, students confessed to trying to paraphrase or synonymize those works.

Others appeared to be more concerned about getting plagiarism-free assignments: 53% said they asked AI text generators to craft essays for them; 48% replied they better trust their works to custom writing services because it’s a human writer crafting papers from scratch there, and the originality won’t suffer.

Why do Students Use Custom Writing Services?

The #1 reason for using writing services is the pressure to succeed (87%). High expectations from teachers, parents, and the public in general, based on the stereotype that one should perform well in school and college to land a good job and succeed in life, lead to students’ stress and anxiety. Afraid to fail the expectations, students seek assistance to manage their academic results. Another motivation is panic: 63% feel their knowledge isn’t enough to write an A-worthy essay, addressing online services for help. (Impostor syndrome and fear of failure are also here.)

The extensive group of motivations behind cheating on written assignments relates to time management: 68% of students lack this skill and can’t organize their schedule to complete tasks on the due date. For 85%, things are more complicated: Struggling with academic overload, they can’t physically meet all the strict deadlines and decide to delegate some written tasks to related services.

An expectedly high percentage of respondents (71%) call laziness the motivation for ordering papers from writing services. For 54%, cheating is OK or even necessary to stay competitive: Seeing their peers doing that, not getting caught, and achieving high results while spending less effort, honest students lose motivation and decide to follow the lead of those classmates.

For 33%, the lack of interest in a subject is enough to ask someone else to complete this subject’s related tasks for them. More practical and career-focused, modern students don’t see any reason to spend effort on anything they consider irrelevant or invaluable for their future life.

How Often do Students Use Essay Writing Services?

Given the primary motivations behind using essay writing services, 55% of respondents admit they do it regularly. Others (31%) said they paid for papers a few times (1-3) when academic overload with lack of time came by.

At the same time, 14% of students from those coming to Writing-Help’s chat indicated they would never pay for essays because of ethics. Answering the question, “How can we help you?” they said they came to the chat because of curiosity.

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