A charge of plagiarism in freshman year; should I still pursue this path?

Dec 13, 2020
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It's my first semester at uni and I received a charge of plagiarism from my school. It was for plagiarising source material on an open note bio lab assignment with short answer responses. I have definitely learned much more about plagiarism and what it covers at university (my plagiarism was noted as patchwriting from outside sources); I am truly regretful of my actions and it will definitely never happen again intentionally. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and I should have looked over my assignment more before submitting it to avoid utilizing others' ideas. I understand that this is an institutional action since I have received a grade reduction sanction from the university and will have to eventually report this since it is on my conduct record. I have noticed that this type of offense is referred to as "a kiss of death" on applications with a great GPA and MCAT score, so my question is if I should continue to pursue my path as a pre-med student. I worked hard to earn my own tuition and can't afford to waste time and money if this terrible mistake rules out any possible future of attending a medical school. If I can continue, what would be some tips to show that I've grown from this mistake or anything that would help my application in the future?
 
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deleted889094

Imo, first semester of college leaves you a lot of time to show you've changed and matured. This would be a lot more damaging if you did this as a senior, I think.
 
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Deltasidearm

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Imo, first semester of college leaves you a lot of time to show you've changed and matured. This would be a lot more damaging if you did this as a senior, I think.
Certainly better than later in college, but plagiarism is a very serious academic offense and I am not sure 2.5-3.5 years is long enough to overcome it. I am sure it is possible, though, and that decision is above my pay grade.
 
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deleted889094

Certainly better than later in college, but plagiarism is a very serious academic offense and I am not sure 2.5-3.5 years is long enough to overcome it. I am sure it is possible, though, and that decision is above my pay grade.
I wonder if it's possible for op to explain it on applications. Since this is covid time I think there's room to say it was more a result of a misunderstanding than an attempt to cheat. But it might really take some explaining

Probably a question for an adcom
 

candbgirl

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I wonder if it's possible for op to explain it on applications. Since this is covid time I think there's room to say it was more a result of a misunderstanding than an attempt to cheat. But it might really take some explaining

Probably a question for an adcom
There’s going to come a time when applicants can’t blame everything on Covid. Covid didn’t cause this person to cheat. Did lots of people in the class cheat? If that answer is yes, then maybe it was poor directions from the professor that led to a misunderstanding. But really.
OP there is no definitive answer about this. You have years before you apply. Build the best possible application you can. Perhaps work with a student orientation committee where you can speak about your experiences in this area. Helping other students avoid this problem might be one way to show ADCOMS that you know the seriousness and accept the fact that you cheated. You can’t worry about it at this point. Just move on and make sure you keep your record clean from now on. Good luck.
 
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deleted889094

There’s going to come a time when applicants can’t blame everything on Covid. Covid didn’t cause this person to cheat. Did lots of people in the class cheat? If that answer is yes, then maybe it was poor directions from the professor that led to a misunderstanding. But really.
OP there is no definitive answer about this. You have years before you apply. Build the best possible application you can. Perhaps work with a student orientation committee where you can speak about your experiences in this area. Helping other students avoid this problem might be one way to show ADCOMS that you know the seriousness and accept the fact that you cheated. You can’t worry about it at this point. Just move on and make sure you keep your record clean from now on. Good luck.
Given the op's first post, it sounded to me like they didn't know what they were doing was plaigarism. TBH, an open note exam where you can put stuff directly from the source material sounds more like a crappy test design.
 
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Mar 22, 2020
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I had an IA freshman year for sharing a homework assignment when it was against the rules to do so.
I have received interviews this cycle to some of the best schools in country (penn, Harvard, wash u, Mayo, yale, columbia, etc.).
This is minor , but you need to take responsibility for your actions, and demonstrate you are committed to being better. If your school has an honor council, etc. join that and get a leadership if you can. If you need to take multiple classes with this professor, work hard and see if he will write you a strong LOR.
People make poor decisions and adcoms are forgiving, especially if you stick out in a good way and are an applicant they really want. So during your next few years, find a few hobbies that you love and excel at them.
You don’t have room for this to happen again, it’s a good lesson you’ve learned early on in college. If you get involved in research, excel at that and be able to explain how you understand the importance of reading the literature, but especially the importance of citing other people’s work.
 
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Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: No. You're literally a freshman. And while that doesn't excuse what you did, you are young and people make mistakes. Will it be an uphill battle for you? Probably. But if you're dedicated, then work hard to show you changed.
 

Rachapkis

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Ad coms are going to ask themselves whether they want to admit someone with an IA for plagiarism when there are so many other qualified candidates. It is a very serious obstacle, but not necessarily an insurmountable obstacle. You will have put time between the offense and the time you apply which is a good thing. I would explain the offense simply, own it, and demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes.
 
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Any IA is bad, but with a good explanation that it was an honest accident and how you grew from it will certainly make up for it.
 

LindaAccepted

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It's my first semester at uni and I received a charge of plagiarism from my school. It was for plagiarising source material on an open note bio lab assignment with short answer responses. I have definitely learned much more about plagiarism and what it covers at university (my plagiarism was noted as patchwriting from outside sources); I am truly regretful of my actions and it will definitely never happen again intentionally. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and I should have looked over my assignment more before submitting it to avoid utilizing others' ideas. I understand that this is an institutional action since I have received a grade reduction sanction from the university and will have to eventually report this since it is on my conduct record. I have noticed that this type of offense is referred to as "a kiss of death" on applications with a great GPA and MCAT score, so my question is if I should continue to pursue my path as a pre-med student. I worked hard to earn my own tuition and can't afford to waste time and money if this terrible mistake rules out any possible future of attending a medical school. If I can continue, what would be some tips to show that I've grown from this mistake or anything that would help my application in the future?
An IA in your freshman year doesn't automatically prevent your acceptance to medical school. You don't have to give up your dream; just don't do it again. Adcoms understand that freshmen are young and make mistakes.

To overcome the hurdle:
  1. Develop a great med school application with high grades, a competitive MCAT, solid clinical exposure, community service, and if it interests you, research.
  2. When asked to address an IA, take responsibility for mistake and point to the fact that it hasn't happened again since then.
  3. Consider possible redemptive action -- speaking to incoming freshman about plagiarism and the need to stay away from it for example.
For more suggestions on this topic, please see this post on SDN where former chair of the admissions committee at the University of Arizona Medical School addresses academic infractions: Medical - Applying to Med School During COVID-19 (It's around 18:32) .

Good luck!
 
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