How to Avoid Common Honor Code Violations | Student Affairs Division

Sometimes when things are hectic, like in finals, we can make mistakes. These errors could be a real accident or an intentional choice to take shortcuts. Whatever our intentions, actions that violate the honor code have consequences, including probation and suspension. As the finals approach, here are the top three honor code violations and tips on how to avoid them.


The cheat includes:

  • Using prohibited notes or study aids, including online resources like Chegg when not permitted.
  • Collaborate in courses, unless expressly authorized. This includes using shared group notes to take exams.
  • Allowing someone else to complete your assignment or exam and hand it in as if it were your own.
  • Copy another student’s course.
  • Failing to comply with specific written course instructions.
  • Use of electronic devices or online sources where not expressly permitted.

Examinations are individual assignments, unless expressly authorized by faculty. To avoid cheating:

  • Read your program. If you have questions about what is allowed, ask your teacher.
  • Pay close attention to all collaboration policies.
  • Know what is expected of you in your job. Consider things like:
    • Can I use online sources?

    • Can I use course materials, such as textbooks or lecture notes in Canvas?

    • Can I use my own notes?

  • Start your work early, whether it’s studying for exams, writing papers, or finishing projects.
  • If you’re taking an online or hybrid course, know when you can and can’t use external resources. If an exam is open, it does not mean that it is open on the Internet. Ask your teacher(s) if you’re not sure what you can use.
  • Put your phone away and close all other tabs while taking courses, especially exams, unless explicitly permitted.
  • If you are confused or stuck, ask your teacher or your TA for help.


Plagiarism is submitting someone else’s work or ideas as your own. This also includes failing to properly cite your sources. The important thing to remember to avoid plagiarism is to give credit to the source.

Academic resources, such as the Writing Center and university libraries, can help. With these resources, you can:

  • Learn to quote and paraphrase correctly to avoid plagiarism.
  • Learn to use someone else’s ideas to support your own opinion.
  • Know when to use someone else’s ideas and when to use only your own ideas.

To avoid plagiarism:

  • Cite your sources as you go, including in-text and works cited citations, references or bibliography.
  • Start early so you have plenty of time to quote, proofread, and edit.
  • Do not copy and paste material into your paper, even if you intend to go back and delete it later.

Helping academic dishonesty (helping a friend)

We all want to help our friends when they feel overwhelmed. But helping another student gain an unfair academic advantage can lead to an honor code reference.

To avoid aiding academic dishonesty:

  • Do not share your own work with others since taking the course. This includes essays, worksheets, exams or lecture notes.
  • Remind your friends to use their faculty office hours and other academic resources.
  • Shut down and lock your computer when you’re away from it.

Other tips

In general, these tips can help you avoid breaking the honor code:

  • Take your exams alone. If your final exam is not in person, book a room on campus or work with other members of your household to take the exams alone and in a quiet space.
  • Don’t check other websites, your phone, or other technology when taking exams.
  • Use campus resources! Talk to your teaching assistants, connect with the Writing Center, and check out other academic resources. Your university department may also have more support options specific to your major.
  • Adopt good study habits. Organize cohesive study sessions to review course material and eliminate distractions.
  • Start your homework, your papers and your studies early. This gives you plenty of time to get help and ask questions if needed.

Learn more about the Honor Code.

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