First of all, plagiarism is cheating and cheating is wrong. Our Western traditions are built on the foundation of honesty. When we say a piece of academic work was produced by us when it in fact was not, we are guilty of breaking a basic fundamental law of our civilization, which is honesty. Honesty is one of the most valued character traits we can possess. It is valued in business, politics, and religion. Plagiarism, which is dishonesty, is scorned by our culture and our tradition of civilization. Education is the search for truth and the dishonesty of plagiarism is an unethical assault on the integrity of our educational system.
In addition to being dishonest, plagiarism is unfair to other students. Plagiarism gives the perpetrator an unfair advantage in grade point average that could garner them scholarships rewards, or unearned academic recognition. If the class is graded on a curve, it can negatively impact other student's grades. Well-intentioned and hard-working students could suffer from the unfair action of a cheater.
When evaluating the reasons not to plagiarize, some are very pragmatic. Schools have access to the latest software systems designed to catch plagiarism. The suspect is placed at a high risk of getting caught. This would result in a minimum penalty of getting a zero on the exam. It could even be more serious. Some schools have policies that range from academic probation to expulsion ("What is Xavier University's Stand on Plagiarism"). Risking your academic future for the ease of plagiarizing is a fool's bet and a misguided folly.
The damage done to your career by getting caught plagiarizing will not end with the failed course or the expulsion from school. This is a record that could haunt you for a lifetime. Many times, people in a highly visible position have had their reputation damaged by reports of plagiarism while they were in college. In fact, "In the past few years, in cases that made headlines, a university president and a newspaper reporter had to resign because of plagiarism" ("Documentation and Plagiarism"). The public loses confidence in politicians known to have cheated by copying other peoples work.
Positions that require a security clearance in government or industry will not be attainable. Banking positions will be reluctant to hire anyone with a plagiarism black mark in their past. As K. Kells of Seneca College puts it, "Plagiarism is after all fraud. Consequently, no reputable employer would wish to hire or have as an employee any individual whose honesty could be brought into question". Unlike a bankruptcy, plagiarism charges do not go away after seven years, they are with you for a lifetime.
If you plagiarize, you will carry the haunting feeling that you could be found out at any time. As your career advances, someone may do a background check on you or examine some of your previously written dissertations. The plagiarism could show up years later and destroy the career and reputation that you have worked years to acquire. Plagiarism will sit in your life's portfolio forever, waiting to be discovered. The plagiarizer will live in daily fear of the truth being exposed at the most unexpected and inopportune time.
The self-inflicted damages done by plagiarism are not just limited to reputation. If the act involves writing or music for