High school cheating culture reveals the prioritization of grades and college acceptances over the maintenance of the students’ sense of dignity. This is a result of numerous heavy and injurious exterior pressures. Because of these pressures, the students cannot help but resort to different ways to raise or keep their grades, making it so that they are not at one-hundred percent fault for the given consequences. Cheating shouldn’t be encouraged, but rather than only giving the students the outcomes of their actions, period, there seems to be a dire need to address and fix the causes that force the actions to come into play in the first place.
Either the parents or the students themselves place almost impossible standards as the bare minimum in terms of their education and other activities to put on their school applications. Endless lists and marks of acknowledgement and intelligence are needed and sometimes even those aren’t sufficient.
This is because some parents are unable to see the changes in how college entrance works from back when they applied for college and other parents believe that social respect and superior education can only happen when graduating from one of the well-known prestigious schools. Also, some students find self worth in their grades because they are convinced that their future happiness is dependent on them.
Another factor that makes more of an indirect impact is the idea of innate advantage. Surely students who come from a more privileged background have an upperhand than the kids who don’t, which isn’t their fault at all, and they have the opportunity to afford certain programs that “look good” on their transcripts. The students that can’t afford such luxuries have to work harder to place themselves at the same level and then work even harder to get scholarships for the ridiculously expensive schools that adults and they themselves feel they need to get into.
The moment someone does something beyond what the hard-working students are doing and successfully gets accepted into one of the most desirable universities, the bar once again, with no moment of hesitation, skyrockets. High school becomes a competition of sorts, a passive battle field, where a seemingly small risk for a small shortcut doesn’t sound as harmful as it is.
But in the end, it’s understandable to a certain extent. Cheating seems to be unavoidable unless the outside pressures are fixed that greatly and negatively impact the students’ mental or emotional state, prompting them to make decisions they would surely regret later on.
Jenny Kim, Grade 10
La Canada High School