Understanding Academic Honesty is the First Step

A letter of advice to incoming engineering students.

Hello future ECE 400 students,

I am writing this letter to inform you about how procrastination at the college level can be quite unethical. Not only does it have a potential to harm your academic career, but it also can affect your social life and career aspirations. As an ethical grey area students are forced to decide whether to delay gratification by completing assignments promptly or to think inwardly and allot time in their schedules to complete tasks as they are due.

The Dilemma is this; As you may understand by now Electrical Engineering is complicated. This difficult material provides a basis for a daunting list of things to understand. As the semester progresses the coursework accelerates and can be tiring to stay on tempo with it. These adversities promote the sense that procrastination is necessary to digest the material but in truth the negative effects greatly outweigh the positives.

I will continue from here by describing the pros and cons of procrastination and its effects on certain aspects of your life.



  • Allows time for material to "sink in"
  • Common problems with understanding may become apparent among peers
  • Trailblazing can be more time consuming than following


  • Causes domino effect when issues occur
  • Peers may accelerate beyond your understanding
  • Increases probability of missing deadlines

-Reduces time frame for checking work



  • Allows student to pursue social obligations before completing assignments
  • Promotes necessity of group collaboration to complete assignments by deadlines


  • May force student to miss social events in order to finish assignments on time
  • Peers may lower expectations of you and your resolve
  • Piling up deadlines may cause frustration and with that unfriendliness



  • Builds task/time management skills


  • Procrastination may be illuminated to employers which is typically frowned upon
  • Reflects a lack of ambition and desire to work

Ok, so if you read this and still feel that procrastination isn't as bad as everyone says just remember; Murphy's Law, "What can go wrong, will." And this is exponentially conflicting for a procrastinator because as one priority gets bumped up that puts more of a crunch on the others. This cataclysm is something that can ruin semesters or even entire academic careers.

My advice is to stay on task or even work ahead if that is a possibility. There is hardly any drawbacks for being over prepared and this positive choice could promote other good feelings like accomplishment, confidence, and security. To make your college experience the most enjoyable, don't procrastinate.

Regards, Dalton Martin


  • Instructor's comments: I helped you with the formatting a bit. Hope you like the results. Note that the topic you chose is related to "work ethics" and not ethics per se. But that's fine, I like that topic. Regarding your text: I have noticed that more students seem to be doing their work at the last minute these last two years. I wonder if some sort of procrastination threshold has been passed, so that now there is now more peer pressure to procrastinate then there is not to procrastinate. Doesn't it make sense? If a group of students start the homework as soon as it is announced, then this encourages more students to join the group and start the homework early. After all, it's more fun and effective to work with other people. On the other hand, if everybody around you is procrastinating, then it's not encouraging to start working on the homework early because you end up working alone and not getting any help from your peers. Is there a way to reverse this trend? Can instructors help in any way? I wish there were. -pm
    • That is a great observation that you have made about the increase in procrastination. I think that the increase in procrastination may be due to the availability of information. Now there are more resources than ever for finding information necessary to do the assignments correctly which means that students don't need to seek out assistance and allows them to delay. Ok, so for a professor to correct this they could tighten deadlines so that students cannot wait due to risking a lack of feedback. Also thy could implement incentive for early submissions. The best cure for this would be to make an early submission more comfortable for the student then to let them wait till the due date. - DM
      • I like the idea of giving an incentive for early submission! I think I am going to try this next semester. Thanks for the tip! -pm

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