When you hear or see the word ‘cheat’ or ‘cheating’, what comes to mind? Cheating in sports, cheating in a video game, or maybe even cheating in a relationship. These are all considered poor behaviours – cheating at University is no different.
Cheating in your studies means using any dishonest means to gain an advantage in your studies. Examples include using crib notes (notes containing the answers) in an exam or having someone else sit a test for you.
What is contract cheating?
Contract cheating is when you use a service or another person to do any of your University work for you.
(Definition modified from TEQSA, ‘What is Contract Cheating’? What is contract cheating and methods to reduce it | Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (teqsa.gov.au) )
Essentially, if you enter into a contract (an agreement), with a service or person to do your work for you then you are engaging in contract cheating.
Examples of contract cheating include:
- paying for an essay, such as from one of the websites in the image at the start of this page
- paying a friend, peer, or relative to complete an assignment for you
- asking someone to complete part of an assessment for you
- sharing University lecture notes on a contract cheating website.
Any time you are paying money to someone to complete work required for your studies, you are contract cheating. But contract cheating also includes agreements made without the exchange of money, such as promising to do something for a friend if they complete your assignment for you.
(Adapted from TEQSA, ‘What is Contract Cheating’? What is contract cheating and methods to reduce it | Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (teqsa.gov.au) )
You are also contract cheating if you offer to write someone else’s assessment or part of their assessment for them.
It is very important to note that if you upload your own work or notes from the University onto a cheating website, this is contract cheating.
Why is contract cheating wrong?
Watch this video from the 21C student partners about contract cheating and why it’s a problem: Contract Cheating: it's not worth it - YouTube
As the video explains, contract cheating is harmful to you as a student, it is harmful to your peers, and it is harmful to the University community.
When you contract cheat, you are depriving yourself of the opportunities to learn that are being granted to you as a higher education student.
In the modern world, you need to acquire learning and skills that have been designed for you by experts in your field. If you are paying someone else to do your work, then you will not be able to get the education that will benefit you.
If you are studying a professional degree, then you will not be able to adequately perform the functions of that profession when you graduate. Worse still, in some professions like Law, you won’t be able to practise if you are found to have engaged in contract cheating.
The reputation of the degree, diploma or cert you are studying is dependent on the University’s reputation. The better the University’s reputation, the better standing your qualification will have. If you contract cheat, you take away from the reputation of your qualification and from the University’s. You also undermine the hard work that your peers are putting in. To support and maintain the University’s standing, you need to avoid contract cheating.
Engaging in contract cheating is a violation of the Student Misconduct Rule. If you are found to have contract cheated, you will face the Misconduct process.
Another reason to avoid contract cheating is highlighted in the video, and that is if you do use contract cheating services, they may be able to use this against you in future. They can bribe or use threats to extort more money from you. For example, they may say that they will report you to WSU for cheating unless you pay them another $150.
How can you identify a contract cheating service?
|Identifier||Explanation||Hints & Examples|
|It's all about the money||The site will offer to write your assignment for you in return for money.|
If there is any mention of exchange of cash for services, then this is contract cheating.
The site may offer specials and discounts. For example, “Get 50% off your first essay!”
|It won't be connected to the university||The site will not have any official affiliation to WSU or any other links or associations to legitimate institutions – universities, schools, government agencies, and so on.||If the site is not advertised on any university pages, then avoid it.|
|It's not about helping you improve your writing skills||The site will have no interest in assisting you in improving your writing or academic skills. It will all be about paying someone else to do the work for you.||If the service is expecting you to return and keep paying for future essay writing, this is a clear sign that this is contract cheating.|
|Sites are blocked on campus computers||Most contract cheating websites are blocked on the university’s servers. If you are on campus, using a University computer or the university network (internet), then you won’t be able to get into most of these sites.||If you are studying from home, evaluate the name of the website. Contract cheating operators often use something obvious like “Write My Essay for Me” or “Pay for My Essay”.|
|Suspicious claims||Further clues will include making dubious and suspicious claims like guaranteeing you a certain grade.||For example, “HD guaranteed!” and “100% plagiarism free!”|
How do I avoid contract cheating?
- The best way to avoid contract cheating is to ensure that you are doing your own work. Do not get anyone to help you complete assignments, tests, exams, reports, unless they are one of the following:
- Your Subject Coordinator
- Your subject tutor
- A legitimate University or College support service, such as Studiosity, PASS, Study Smart and MESH
- Get help from the right places
If you are not sure about the requirements for an assessment, or you need help with anything, ask your Subject Coordinator or seek help from your School.
If you have a question about contract cheating, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential response.
- Plan for your assignments.
Sometimes when we are stressed, especially if we’re short on time, we might turn to the wrong places for a quick fix. Do your best to plan ahead to avoid the stress that can lead to cheating. Use University support services if you need to. The Study Smart Assignment Calculator is a good way to plan your work.
There are also many other self-help resources you can use to assist you in putting your assignments together.
If you know that you aren’t going to make a deadline, talk to your Subject Coordinator or Tutor to see what they advise.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek help here.
- Be wary of social media targeted advertising
There are many providers of contract cheating services in Australia and across the world. If you use social media, you may be a target for contract cheating services.
If you see someone offering services online for a fee, block the ad and use the Report a Cheating Service form on WesternNow to report the service to the University.
- Ask your Subject Coordinator or Subject Tutors for assistance with understanding the requirements of your assessments.
- Complete your own work.
- Get help from Western Sydney University support services when you need it.
- If you think you may have been targeted by a contract cheating service, report it.
- Don’t use websites advertising contract cheating services.