Hi I have a serious dilemma. In two years of high school (my sophomore and junior years) I cheated consistently on both my regular schoolwork and I think every exam. Now I am a senior graduating, and was already accepted to college. My question is: do I need to tell my teachers that I cheated? The subjects I cheated in (Latin, Greek, Literature, Math) probably would not have great impact on my professional career, so does that affect this in any way? I know that I shouldn’t have cheated, it was a STUPID STUPID STUPID thing to do, and I see that it was totally not worth it. But this was a time in my life when I was very confused, and even now I am trying very hard to come out of the snare of scrupulosity. It would’ve been much better just if I had never cheated at all, and I never would have this dilemma. Anyone who has an idea of what I can do, PLEASE HELP ME!!! I NEED YOUR HELP!!
I would go to confession, and ask the priest.
The perfect answer.
This is not something that you can readily go back and un-do, or make reparations for, unless you were awarded scholarship money, which the right thing to do would be to turn down.
The big question is whether or not the increase in your GPA that you achieved by cheating affected your application/acceptance to college, and whether or not (this would be very difficult to determine) you were accepted in place of someone who had legitimately the same or slightly lower grades.
All in all, probably the best would be to confess it, put it behind you, and do your level best to get the best grades you can on your own.
Thank you for your help. If you know anyone else who could weigh in on this, please urge them. I think the duty of reparation for an offense against justice and charity must provide satisfaction for the wrong done, according to the Catechism (Paragraph 2487). I don’t know if it would be proportionate satisfaction if I went back and told my teachers and parents and then had to have my transcript revised, and maybe not be admitted to college. I was thinking that maybe I should just do that, come out with it all, and have it over with, rather than hide it forever. That might be my just punishment. But I don’t know if that’s just my scrupulosity and tendency to veer to the extremes taking hold again (I don’t want to use that as an excuse though). The Catechism also says that “when it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be done secretly.” (Paragraph 2487). I don’t think it’s that I am stupid, that I don’t know anything, just that I was lazy and didn’t really put in the effort to work as hard as I should have. I don’t think my cheating (as bad as it was) harmed anyone though. And the college I am planning on going to is kind of a unique situation: one of my brothers goes there, and I knew a person there at admissions before, and we got along even before I applied. I think I was accepted there because I was interested in Classics (Latin, Greek) and music (which I actually didn’t cheat in!), and also because I knew that person, not necessarily solely because I had a really good GPA. I was one of their first to be accepted for that year I think, so it seems like they had made up my mind about me pretty sure already. Also, they liked me because I can write well. I think I am a unique student for them. But I will confess it and explain and ask the priest for his advice. [Sorry if I’m rambling, but this was REALLY bothering me, and I wanted some help. Thank you, and God bless you all!]