Tips and Quick Information for Valparaiso Students


  1. Don't cheat!
  2. Don't make citations a last priority. Write them as you use them!
  3. If you don't understand whether or not something is unauthorized aid, ask your professor. Never assume. By the Constitution of the Valparaiso University Honor System it is your responsibility to do so. Better to ask now, than to pay later.
  4. Realize that your professors are smart! Not only have they been where you are, but they have also spent more years in school. If you turn in something that is not your work, they will know.
  5. Make sure that you cite everything that is not your own work. If you copy and paste from something, there should be quotes around it.
  6. If you are working with other people, be careful that they do not do something that could jeopardize your academics.
  7. Be careful to not make yourself look like you are cheating when you are not.
  8. In general, the use of cellular phones and 'smart phones' is not acceptable during class time, examinations, and quizzes. Respect other students by not providing an extra distraction within the class room. Regardless of its use as a time-keeping device, do not use a cellular phone during a quiz or an examination. Depending on the instructor's policy this could constitute the use of unauthorized aid (see your instructor for more information). When in doubt, turn off your cellular phone!

Many times it can be hard to know what is plagiarism and what is not. Always proofread your work after you finish and see if you are giving proper credit where it is due. Preventing plagiarism is easy and citing sources is not difficult . Besides, it just makes sense to give the originator of a quote or an idea the credit.

What does 'plagiarism' mean?

  • The word plagiarize is defined as, “to use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition).
  • It originates from the Greek word "to kidnap."

How do you prevent your own plagiarizing?

  • Give credit to the source by using citations!
  • Taking a quote from an outside source and changing a word here or there is not a proper use of citation. 
  • Remember to reference everything that you gather from outside sources. 
  • If in doubt, cite! It's always better to have too many citations than to not cite something that should be cited.
  • Your professors should teach you how to use the format of citations they want you to use. If you don't know, ask!
  • You can also get help at the Writing Center in the first floor of the Christopher Center.
  • Begin your works cited or bibliography page as you start your paper, do not wait till the end. Instead work on it as you work through your assignment. All too often students are turned in for failing to cite a phrase or an idea as a result of missing a citation.

Quick Overview of Honor System Principles

We can break the Honor Code down into three parts:

  • I have not given unauthorized aid.
  • I have not received unauthorized aid.
  • I have not tolerated others’ use of unauthorized aid.

What does this mean?

  • You agree to do your own work: to present original ideas, sentences and phrases, and when you include thoughts, argument structure, and words from other people, to give them proper credit. You agree not to give unauthorized aid to other people and not to tolerate such aid by anybody at Valparaiso University.
  • You agree to abide by your instructors' defined authorized/unauthorized aid policy. Consult your course syllabus, specific assignments, and instructor for more details.
  • You agree to write and sign the Honor Code in full on all coursework. Depending on the instructor your work may not be assigned a grade unless the Honor Code is clearly visible.

What are the benefits of this system?

  • When a test is given, your professor will leave the room. Your tests will never be proctored (unless a student in the class requests it). If you suspect a violation has been committed a proctor request form is available in the Deans Office.
  • You may receive take-home quizzes and/or tests with instructions defining the limitations of the authorized/unauthorized aid policy. In certain circumstances this may vary on coursework. Consult your assignment syllabus and/or course instructor for more information. Always ask when in doubt!
  • In short, you will be treated as adults that are mature enough to make your own decisions and uphold your own honesty and integrity.


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Contact Information

Honor Council (General)
Meier Hall, Rm 146
Valparaiso University

Honor Council (Appeals)