Published: April 13, 2020

Sometimes if we’re in a rush to get things done, we may unintentionally commit an act of academic dishonesty when preparing for a test or completing a paper or project. Whatever our intentions, these actions violate the Honor Code and have consequences. As we prepare for finals, here are the top three violations of the Honor Code and tips for how to avoid them.

Person typing on computerCheating

Cheating is more than copying your friend’s homework. Other actions considered to be cheating include but are not limited to:

  • Using prohibited notes or study aids, including using websites or other online resources when not permitted
  • Collaborating on course work when prohibited
  • Allowing someone else to complete your work or exam and turning it in as your own
  • Copying another student’s course work
  • Failing to abide by specific written course instructions
  • Using electronic devices or online sources when not expressly permitted

To avoid cheating, read your syllabus. Pay special attention to any collaboration policies. Know what is expected of you regarding your work. As courses are now online, be aware of when you can and cannot use outside resources. If you aren’t sure or need clarification on what’s in the syllabus, ask your professor.


  • Do your work by yourself.
  • Start your work early.
  • If you’re confused or stuck, ask your professor or TA for help.
  • Put your phone away while you are engaged in coursework, especially exams, unless explicitly permitted.


Plagiarism is submitting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, or failing to properly cite your sources. Remote academic resources, such as the Writing Center or University Libraries, can help.

With these resources, you can learn how to properly cite and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism. Additionally, they can help you learn how to use someone else’s ideas to support your own opinion and recognize when to use someone else’s ideas and when you should use only your own ideas.

Academic dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is any act in which a student gains or attempts to gain an unfair academic advantage over other students. Any form of academic dishonesty is a violation of the Honor Code. 

The Honor Code was designed to uphold CU Boulder's standards of academic integrity and intellectual honesty. It provides quick resolution of reports of student academic misconduct. All CU Boulder students are subject to the Honor Code for academic matters. Students who violate the code may be subject to discipline.

Aiding academic dishonesty

We all want to help our friends when they are feeling overwhelmed. But helping another student gain an unfair academic advantage can lead to an Honor Code referral. To avoid violating the Honor Code, do not help with work that will be turned in for credit, unless explicitly permitted. Also, do not send your friend’s work that you did for the course, even if you took it in a prior semester or are in a different section.

Instead, share with others where they can find academic help, such as virtual office hours or remote tutoring resources. Additionally, do not leave your work out where others can see it. Close or lock your laptop when you step away.

In general, these tips can help you avoid violating the Honor Code:

  • Use your resources! Talk to your teaching assistants, connect with the Writing Center and check out other virtual academic resources. Your academic department may have more support options specific to your major as well.
  • Practice good study habits. Find a quiet spot to study, set up consistent study sessions to review class material and eliminate distractions.
  • Start your assignments, homework, papers and studying early to give yourself enough time to get help and ask questions if needed.

Learn more about the Honor Code.