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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MissIntrigued, Jan 5, 2009.
If it is in your records yes, you should fess up. If it is not, no. Let sleeping dogs lie...
Honestly, people have done shadier things to get into med school.
If it doesn't show up, I wouldn't mention it. Applicants leave a great deal unmentioned in this game and I don't think that's any more ethical.
Your school obviously didn't care enough about it to punish you too severely.
But let's be honest... was it only a stupid decision because you were caught?
Yeah, that question may come up at interview if it seems a problem in the primary/secondary applications. But antidepressants are used by a 1/4 of the country.... so it'd be a hard argument to call you unfit!!!
Hope it's not on your record... and even if it is... probably won't be a big deal...
Well hopefully the school gives you a straight answer.
I know what you mean when you say that people shy away from those with depression or doubt its effects on someone's life. My sister has pretty severe depression--at least I think that's what they finally settled on (the diagnoses changed every few months). She still has it pretty rough, but they finally found a treatment plan that seems to be working. Hopefully you're in good shape too.
I also know what you mean when you say that the first time you try something, you get busted. I have the worst luck with that. Luckily everything happened before I turned 18
The AMCAS instructions for completing the question about institutional action state:
Do what you think is right.
You're probably not the only with an infraction like that. Do you have data that vouches for your assertion that you're a different person now?
Hopefully the db will get what's coming to him.
Your "excuses" for what you did will not play well. You are rationalizing, and it is not going to sound good to anybody. You are not entitled be the "judge and jury" for your infraction, but that is what you are doing if you hide it from med schools.
The example of the "douche" is totally irrelevant to your case. If you don't mention your deal on AMCAS, you are intentionally submitting a false application - be prepared to live with the consequences if discovered which can be extremely severe.
Right now you are assuming there is no record of your little problem, but just because it is not noted on a transcript doesn't mean there isn't a record, so beware. Some med schools ask for letters from the dean of the college for any undisclosed academic disciplinary actions that are not otherwise reported on the transcript...
Did you make an "F" in that class? Expect to have questions about that...
Your GPA sucks, by the way, and will be the most likely reason you won't get into med school.
A lack of other infractions and a character witness. Own up. You screwed up, you learned your lesson, tell them that you can be an inspiration to others who are feeling hopeless because they did stupid shi t as a kid. Stop whining.
I can't help but think that you came here hoping that many of us would support your exclusion of the facts from your AMCAS application....that's not going to happen. If you were lazy enough to plagiarize, you should fess up to your actions and discuss what you have learned. As you said, this incident occurred eight years ago (which doesn't mean that you didn't do it more recently) and it may or may not end your chances with medical school...But, what might make your life a little more difficult is your 3.1 undergraduate GPA and a 3.4 post-bacc (which is defiantly low).
Adcom's gonna be worse. They're going to be judging whether you are fit to hold lives in your hands.
Per the underlined - don't know who is blowing smoke up your *****, but your GPA is very low. Anyone who tells you that your chances with this GPA are "very good" either knows nothing about the current competitiveness of med school or they are simply trying to give you false encouragement.
Apply with those numbers, falsify your app, and then get back to us...
A person who committed an academically dishonest act as a freshman justifies lying about it on an application years later.
Claims to have turned away from dishonest behavior.
Doesn't seem to be telling the truth.
LizzyM gave the best advice:
If you came here seeking affirmations for doing what you have already decided to do in your mind before even posting here (I'm not gonna spell this out), this is probably not the place you're going to get it. It is clear from your posts you have made up your mind and came here simply to seek that final "push" (figuratively) to follow through.
Again, refer to LizzyM's advice.
You are required to disclose on AMCAS whatever they say you must disclose.
They don't ask if you ever lied, or drank under age, or smoked pot, or ever got away with something. They ask if you committed an act of academic dishonesty and were found "guilty" of any such charges, and you must report it even if the record was expunged.
Similarly they ask about court convictions for various things, with some loopholes for expunged records, but that is a different issue.
The record is on my soul.
I've never gotten caught doing anything I shouldn't.
That said, no. I've never cheated, never lied in school (unless you count bsing english papers), never had a drug or alcohol infraction; and I never will.
So basically you don't even know what happened? Get on that.
I am going to agree with LizzyM, as usual. You have to realize that if somehow the idea gets convey to the adcoms that you were on Academic Probation (AP), and you lied about it, you will be in big trouble. It gives a trend of dishonesty.
I do take offense to the GPA comments, things like that really irritate me. Let's say the average GPA accepted is a 3.6, that gives plenty of people lower and higher than that an acceptance. The OP admitted a low GPA, does it make you feel better telling her it sucks?
I have a low GPA too, due to my freshman year where my parents were getting divorced and I was away from home. I was driving back and forth every day from classes (over an hour each way), not studying, and attending half the classes. I ended up on academic probation. For the last 5 years I have had a 3.5+ GPA, but my cuGPA is still going to be around a 3.2
To the OP, rock the MCAT, and if it were me, I would mention the academic probation. It is the right thing to do, and you are specifically asked for disclosure. Flip is right that the other things are not asked for by AMCAS, and I agree
If this were a "what are my chances thread?" I would suggest you consider DO.
I was in a Presidential Honors scholars program as a freshman and we were required to keep up a 3.5 GPA. I didn't do it the fall semester and was given a warning. I couldn't bring it over 3.5 after my spring semester and I was discharged from the program. I never cheated: I just got crappy grades. The only record of it was a letter I received in the mail. I never lost my scholarship and it was never listed on my transcript.
That said, I disclosed it on my AMCAS anyway because though relatively minor, why would you want to take the chance of someone finding out eventually and if you were lucky enough to hold an acceptance, to have it revoked? I think having an IA on my AMCAS (even something like mine) probably hurt my chances to interview at certain schools, but I've already been accepted so it didn't hold me back that much.
Again, I think
LizzyM said it best: Do what you think is best. You know the rules and the potential consequences of circumventing them. Make your decision and live with it.
For the sole reason that this is likely to be impossible to determine whether or not there is no record anywhere, you are advised to include it. Moreover, even if there is no official "record" of the incident, you never know who will still remember it. What if, for example, someone affiliated with your letters of recommendation happens to be aware of it? It would raise a lot of red flags to see that be mentioned in a letter, yet not by you on the AMCAS application. There's no denying that some adcoms may not like to see such a stain in your history. But, you also have a lot of tools at your disposal to try mitigating the damage. You can write essays about how you've grown, engage in extracurricular activities that demonstrate integrity, and get to know individuals who can speak on behalf of your positive attributes. There's no way to determine the efficacy of these endeavors, that's for sure. But, realize that adcoms - just like us premeds - come in all shapes and sizes, and there are bound to be some who are more forgiving and open than others. You can only help to bring these individuals out of the woodwork by being honest and emphasizing how you've learned from your mistake and grown since then. This is an additional reason for you to apply broadly come the summer that you begin your application.
Your situation is a good reminder of why life is unfair at times. Yes, a lot of people get away with things that they should have been caught for, and there are certainly deeds that I would consider to be far worse than plagiarazing a paper. But, there's nothing that you can do about these intricacies of our society and the medical school application process; you simply have but to make the best of your situation and move forward.
Not irrelevant, but not things that others haven't done, either.
I'd encourage you to come clean on your application. While plagiarism is indeed a serious blemish, Admissions Committees can understand/forgive an early slip-up - even one as significant as this. Show you have the integrity a career as a physician demands and own your mistakes. Good luck!
One revision to your post - LizzyM said to do what the OP thinks is "right," not "best." Big difference...
Love the avatar
I agree, big difference.
Then what exactly were you hoping to accomplish by posting here? Were you looking for advice? Well, you have gotten some pretty consistent advice here, and sorry it wasn't sugar coated.
If you weren't looking for advice, what were you trying to accomplish?
Sounds like you need a refresher course on ethics...
Whoops, you're right. My mistake
Gotta say, when you post a question like this, you should be prepared for any number of responses you may receive (even harsh ones).
And I agree with someone above who said that if you think we're being harsh, adcoms will likely make the same judgments when they're considering your application.
If you want blind encouragement, this is probably not the place for you...
If there is not official academic record about what happened, then probably nobody would find out, but technically you are supposed to disclose things like this. Realistically, probably nobody will find out if you do not.
You seem to be trying to justify the cheating incident in your past, and I can understand your trying to rationalize it, but then I don't understand why you would get angry when people on this thread tell you that is what you are doing. If you didn't want "an ethical debate" then why did you post here? Of course you could expect some comments along those lines...
I agree w/the above comment to consider DO schools, particularly as you say you live in NYC. The DO schools would be more likely to not ream you for the lower range GPA, and they like older students w/more life experience.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
This kind of ethical dilema will likely come up again in your professional career. You gave the wrong med to a patient, no one knows, the patient is fine, no one will catch you....no big deal, right? Just change the documentation to cover the mistake and move on, right? Just dumb-up when the med count is off at the end of the shift, right? Just lie about the med you gave when giving report to the next provider, right? Just dictate the fasle med in your H&P, right?....
Just because you can get away with something doesn't make it right, especially in a career that is so dependent on ethics. I would think the scenerio where you fess up and talk about how you have learned and grown would be much more interesting to adcoms (that surely have heard it all), versus justifying and being defensive. Some of my best learning events sprung from a major screw up sometime in my life. There are no simpler, easier ways to do the right thing, IMHO.
Honey, this is an ethics debate. Do you do what is RIGHT, even when it may place you at a disadvantage and even if no one will find out and even if "everyone else" has done things that are WRONG?
As a physician you will have myriad opportunities to tell "white lies". Will you up-code to increase your reimbursement? Will you do favors for weathy patients (tell a lie in a letter to an airline so the patient can get a refund they wouldn't otherwise qualify for)? Will you lie in a deposition? If there is a way to back-date a note with the electronic medical record, will you do it because while it isn't right, what's right isn't always fair? Lies can hurt other people, place unjust financial burdens on others, and ultimately, erode the trust placed in you.
Do you have the courage to be honest in your dealings with others?
In the past, AMCAS has offered 1325 characters (about a quarter-page) for your explanation of what happened. In my experience, each applicant with an IA designation is reviewed to determine if the IA rises to a level that precludes any further consideration of the application or if the IA and the explanation of it is such that the applicant should be considered for interview. If so, the remainder of the application (but not the IA) is reviewed just like any other application.
I haven't served on the IA review committee in years and I never saw a case like yours and I haven't seen your 1325 character explanation of what happened so I really have no basis on which to give an opinion about whether you might be granted an interview.
However, the fact that you were so willing to falsify your application to gain an advantage in the admission process raises a great concern in my mind about your moral fitness for a career in medicine.
Man oh man. Everyone on this thread needs to get off their soap box and give the OP a break! Worse things have happened in this world. OP, remember that advice from the anal students on SDN are given with this thought in their minds: "If she lies and gets accepted, that's unfair to me because I was honest! WAHHH!!!" So ignore the negative comments from premeds. Also, it's a slippery slope to say that since the OP has considered making one small lie about an incident way back when, that she won't have the moral compass to be a great doctor. Total hogwash. OP, with that said only if you are 100% certain that the institutional action has been expunged should you leave it out of discussion. Good luck, and stay positive.
P.S. The best way to stay positive is to stay off SDN!
"For all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these: It might have been!"
Don't forget that.
Are you a troll? You posted this morning saying it was 12 months, and now you are saying it was 6 months...
Your explanation needs a lot of work. An explanation differs from an excuse...you are giving a litany of excuses, and it could leave the impression that when you are under a lot of pressure, you lose your ethical bearings...lots of people in far worse circumstances find the inner strength to do the right thing...why should med schools take a chance with you?
Try a "just the facts" approach without listing your excuses as if that explains it away. What did you do, what did you learn from it...leave out the mental illness angle - none of their business.
A quote from the AMCAS help file pertaining to institutional action:
What's done is done. All that you can do at this point is be honest and ingenuous; anything else would threaten to bestow upon you the very qualities that you are desperately trying to nullify (namely, honesty). When you apply, you should not hesitate to tell the medical schools what happened. But do not stop there, for there is a component that is of far greater importance. You will also want to discuss what you learned from the mistake (getting caught, seeing your potential future be threatened) and how you went on to remedy it (IE: you made an effort to always be honest with the patients you were working with and developed professional relationships based on integrity and tact). Avoid making excuses, for they will do nothing more than make you seem whiny/desperate and reduce the credibility of your newfound maturation (I believe that is contributing to the negativity of some of the responses given in this thread). For as I said earlier, adcoms are people too, who come from a wide variety of different backgrounds. Thus, while some may immediately dismiss your application, there are others who may have made similar mistakes of their own, or are understanding of some of the unwise decisions that we make in our youth. If you can demonstrate to them your true maturity, then I think at least some of them will be willing to give your application more consideration.
With regards to your references, unless you've been in touch recently with the professor who taught the course in which you plagiarized, I would not suggest getting a letter from him. You are far better off having your true integrity be assessed by someone who has known you for a long time and whom you are still in contact with (that way, the letters will be stronger).
I think that feeling is justified. All of us had opportunities to cheat. Even among those of us who did cheat, many of us came forward and came clean. Why should we have to feel sympathy for someone who wants to continue a pattern of dishonesty? I can feel sympathy for a depressed person who had a panic attack and plagiarized one small homework assignment. I can't feel sympathy for a recovered person who wants to lie again and is upset that other people dare to disapprove of her behavior. It shows she hasn't learned from her mistakes.
You say you are a nurse. Did you ever get asked about academic dishonesty on any app for nursing school, or for any licensure?
I assume you failed to disclose this...could be a problem if somebody asks...
I'm not going to get into the debate of "should you explain it or not" because I think other people have already answered that.
But if you do decide to explain it, offering a justification is possibly one of the worst things you could do. Explain the facts simply, offer only the most compelling of mitigating details (it's not entirely irrelevant that you were working 40 hours a week). Explain why you feel that you have changed because, while you may consider this to be an isolated incident, adcoms will consider this to be evidence regarding of your moral character.
I could care less if she lies or not on her application. If she does, I hope she doesn't get caught. I was mainly trying to inform her that getting caught lying is far worse than having them know the truth. People have done things worse than this and gotten and acceptance; there is no need to be neurotic about it.
You just need to chillax for a while. Apply broadly, apply DO, and as for the application, do what you think is right.
i think i need to jump in here before MissIntrigued has a nervous breakdown because of all the crap that is being hurled toward her....
i basically had the same situation except i made this mistake later in my college career (with a similar result) and took less time off before applying.
this will absolutely NOT keep you out of med school!!!
For the record I got five interviews, one acceptance so far and did not apply to any DO schools.
PM me if you want more help.
Now to the rest of you who posted in this thread....i GUARANTEE that if you were in this situation you would've absolutely tried to sweep this under the rug if you could. It's easy to lecture other people about the "right thing" but if it was your dream and your career on the line i'm absolutely sure you would see things differently. also...remember: "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"
the OP was right in asking for advice only from people who know what they're talking about and yet, as is typical on this site, got a torrent of holier-than-thou answers from idiots who have no idea what they're talking about. There are only two people who have any business giving advice about this situation and that would be myself and (possibly)
one piece of advice i will give you in public though is not to discuss this on SDN and don't take any of the "advice" you got from anyone in this thread seriously (unless it is from myself or LizzyM - who, for the record, is not exactly an expert in this kind of situation by her own admission)....not saying i'm an "expert" but having lived it definiltey gives me a real perspective on the situation. i had posted about my situation on here (under a different name, so don't bother looking for it) when it happened and of course all the answers i got were along the lines of "you're done" and "you'll never get into med school" and of course the typical holier-than-thou crap...but as you can see they were all (not surprisingly) wrong.
good luck and feel free to contact me.