premed23456

5+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2012
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Pre-Medical
Hey everyone,

I posted about this situation back in.. I think 2011, but now it's 2014 and I want to give an update about my situation and ask for an updated opinion from you all.

I was convicted of a DUI back in Nov 2010 and then convicted of an academic violation (cheating) at my prior institution in Mar 2011. For the DUI, I take full responsibility for, but I was wrongfully accused and convicted for the academic thing and this school is notorious for this practice as well. Their only sanction is immediate expulsion, so I ended up transferring to a diff University where I thrived and found to be a much better match for me anyway. In order to gain justice for what happened to me and for what happens to other students like me, I've worked with several organizations over the years in bringing up lawsuits against that school that expelled me, and it is currently a work in progress.

I graduated college double-majoring in Biology and Spanish, Cum Laude, with a GPA of 3.6, experience as a Resident Assistant, starting my own student org, shadowing, clinical, tons of volunteer experiences (domestic and international). Then I was granted a highly competitive graduate assistantship in the Res Life dept for the same university which would pay for my Master's degree, and decided to take it. So now I attend graduate school, working on my Master's in Applied Molecular Bio, set to graduate in May 2015. It entails lots of research as well as academic components.

My grad assistantship gives me the position of being a Residential Director of one of the res halls on campus. As a professional staff member now, I oversee students' conduct, adjudicate lots of judicials, serve to educate students on making good decisions, and serve as a mentor and role model for young students. This is only like 1/5th of what I do, but I think this part of my job is especially relevant in proving my character to adcoms.

I'm taking the MCAT's at the end of this year, and applying in 2015 to enter into a med school in 2016. So since my incidents it would be a total of 5 years that have passed at the time of my application. This, and considering everything else I'm doing currently and have done to prove myself, what do you think about my prospects of med school now? Still a crapshoot?

Let me know please, and you all are appreciated.
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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I think the DUI will be okay as long as you answer it honestly on your app. As for the cheating thing... If you were wrongfully accused, why did you transfer instead of trying to fight it? So I'm assuming (since you said you were convicted) that you got the expulsion IA from your undergrad? If you did, this might be hard to shake off unless you can dig this up again and try to get rid of it (if you were wrongfully accused). It would be near impossible to get into med school with an academic violation.

A 3.6 is also a little low for MD admissions.
 

DokterMom

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what do you think about my prospects of med school now? Still a crapshoot?
Frankly, it's always a crapshoot. The only way to find out if you can get in is to try. Apply super-broadly. Be upfront and scrupulously honest about the cheating thing and eat humble pie about how that looks on your record. Cheating seems to be the worst possible IA, and medical schools are generally looking for a way to eliminate applicants -- Cheating IAs are an easy excuse.

Disproving allegations of dishonesty is a very difficult thing. I'd suggest that your LORs might be the best way to do that -- Do everything you can do to get the strongest LORs you can, and see if you can get your letter-writers to talk about your character and integrity. You say you're innocent of the cheating. Talk to the people you're thinking of asking for LORs. Explain the situation to them. Ask them to think carefully about what they've seen of your character and integrity and explain that you know it's a long shot -- but that it's your dream that you've never given up on. Ask if they feel they can write you a strong letter, knowing about your blemished past, and give them an easy out if they hesitate. (A luke warm letter will be fatal.)

Also explore any back-door connections you have -- anything to get you past the auto-screen your cheating IA would otherwise present.
 
Oct 27, 2013
527
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Sorry about all these records that follow you. I'm pretty sure that med schools will stay far away from you with a cheating incident on your record, especially since you did not try to fight it. It also doesn't help that you have a DUI. You should know that in this age of transparentcy, these things are very hard to hide.

The last thing a med school wants to admit to is accepting you, knowing you have this on your record, especially if years later you were found cheating on something medically-related, like inappropriately changing medical documents. Not only that, but patients too can access a ton of personal information about you. I think the best direction to take is 1) investigate how to get those charges dropped and expunged 2) consider a slightly different alternative in medicine than medical school, like working as a technician or in a clinic.
 

Goro

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Until you get vindicated, your medical career is a non-starter. We take cheating very seriously (to paraphrase my learned colleague LizzyM "over my dead body would I accept a cheater") as dishonest doctors start out as dishonest students.

Unfortunately, we have your app, with the cheating and expulsion, and your word for it. And with that, we're stuck.

We're not fond of DUI convictions either, and I'm going to harsh here, people like you kill families like mine.

Hey everyone,

I posted about this situation back in.. I think 2011, but now it's 2014 and I want to give an update about my situation and ask for an updated opinion from you all.

I was convicted of a DUI back in Nov 2010 and then convicted of an academic violation (cheating) at my prior institution in Mar 2011. For the DUI, I take full responsibility for, but I was wrongfully accused and convicted for the academic thing and this school is notorious for this practice as well. Their only sanction is immediate expulsion, so I ended up transferring to a diff University where I thrived and found to be a much better match for me anyway. In order to gain justice for what happened to me and for what happens to other students like me, I've worked with several organizations over the years in bringing up lawsuits against that school that expelled me, and it is currently a work in progress.

I graduated college double-majoring in Biology and Spanish, Cum Laude, with a GPA of 3.6, experience as a Resident Assistant, starting my own student org, shadowing, clinical, tons of volunteer experiences (domestic and international). Then I was granted a highly competitive graduate assistantship in the Res Life dept for the same university which would pay for my Master's degree, and decided to take it. So now I attend graduate school, working on my Master's in Applied Molecular Bio, set to graduate in May 2015. It entails lots of research as well as academic components.

My grad assistantship gives me the position of being a Residential Director of one of the res halls on campus. As a professional staff member now, I oversee students' conduct, adjudicate lots of judicials, serve to educate students on making good decisions, and serve as a mentor and role model for young students. This is only like 1/5th of what I do, but I think this part of my job is especially relevant in proving my character to adcoms.

I'm taking the MCAT's at the end of this year, and applying in 2015 to enter into a med school in 2016. So since my incidents it would be a total of 5 years that have passed at the time of my application. This, and considering everything else I'm doing currently and have done to prove myself, what do you think about my prospects of med school now? Still a crapshoot?

Let me know please, and you all are appreciated.
 
May 26, 2013
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326
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Did your DUI result in a misdemeanor? As in..do you have a criminal background because of the DUI?
48 States classify a DUI as a traffic violation AND at least a misdemeanor if not a felony (for 2nd or 3rd charges, etc.).

Only in New Jersey (and I think Oregon), is a DUI considered only traffic violation, NOT a misdemeanor or felony. So you don't have a criminal background/no fingerprints in your file because of a DUI.

Most medical schools only care about any crimes you have on your record (misdemeanor/felony), and not traffic violations that did not result in a crime . So if your DUI happened in NJ or OR, you don't need to report it if your background check asks you about your crime history.

But if your school asks for any other violations, or requires your motor vehicle records, well then you need to confess.

I Live in NJ, and my cousin is a lawyer, so I so know some of NJ strange laws.
 
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premed23456

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Apr 11, 2012
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Thanks for the feedback, all. As for the academic violation, the school doesn't allow a student to "fight it" beyond the trial and the appeal process, both of which I went through. After going through both of those and still coming out with the same decision, they just expel the student, and there is no other sanction. As I said, I am currently in the middle of bringing this and other students' cases to legal attention with some other organizations, so we will see how that pans out. Likely, my violation will stay there for years to come. However, my transcript only says "enrollment discontinued" so it doesn't really say "expelled for academic violation" or anything of that sort. But, if I am going to be honest with adcoms, I should tell them about what happened.

As for the the DUI, it was a misdemeanor.

To go back to the cheating incident, what you're telling me is that, you see an academic violation on an application and you automatically toss the app out? Do the circumstances not matter? Like if it was potentially a wrongful conviction, or what have you?
 

TennisBallAgainstDaWall

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Jan 8, 2014
28
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OP, were you expelled from your original institution? What is the notation on your transcripts?
Also, I think you have to come up with a really good statement to defend yourself in your interviews. What if your interviewer's family member was killed by a drunk driver? As for the cheating, I would really try to get that rescinded. Have you looked into getting legal help? You say your school is notorious, maybe you have a case?
Good luck
 

GypsyHummus

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Jun 12, 2011
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Until you get vindicated, your medical career is a non-starter. We take cheating very seriously (to paraphrase my learned colleague LizzyM "over my dead body would I accept a cheater") as dishonest doctors start out as dishonest students.

Unfortunately, we have your app, with the cheating and expulsion, and your word for it. And with that, we're stuck.

We're not fond of DUI convictions either, and I'm going to harsh here, people like you kill families like mine.
I have a question Dr. Goro

How would the ADCOM know a person has cheated if he failed to report it on his or hers ACCOMAS? Does each individual school contact the deans office? Do they call the head of the undergrad department, or do they simply check the transcripts?
 
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premed23456

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Yes, I was expelled. However, there's a gray are in this whole process because all academic violation information is kept confidential. More importantly, they put a "enrollment discontinued" notation on the transcript, which could mean that I left the university for any reason. For example, when I was applying to grad school for my Master's, one of the adcoms thanked me for being honest with telling them about the cheating incident because otherwise, based on what is on my transcript, they would have had no idea about it. Some people have told me I should talk to a lawyer about what I should do in regards to revealing this info during med school apps (they're suggesting that I shouldn't reveal it if I don't have to), but my gut tells me that I should just be honest.. I don't know.

And yes, the school has not been publicly notorious until recently, when the organizations against their single sanction policy have taken more aggressive legal routes to reveal what goes on behind closed doors in their Honor system procedures. Furthermore, there may be a case for a class action lawsuit for the University discriminating against minorities as well. I'm working with some of those orgs to help strengthen their cases by adding in my case details, but likely a positive outcome will only benefit future cases; not the ones that have already been adjudicated like mine. Either way, I'm pursuing this route to ensure justice for other students who might fall in the same shoes that I did.

For the DUI, trust me, I realize that what I did could have certainly taken the lives of others which I have absolutely no excuse for. I went through an entire, long period of reflection, regret, and sorrow for what I did, and continue to do so. I will express this during my interviews (if I'm lucky enough to even land one), and have a plan of action for showing my reflection and personal growth from that situation.

I've done a lifestyle assessment as a result of both of these life-changing situations, and have taken the correct steps since they occurred, to better myself. I've changed my friend circle, location, institution, decision-making style, and anything else I could so that I can be the best person I can be. I just would like to know if medical schools will accept the mistakes I made 4 years ago and see me for who I am today. Such a tough position to be in :(
 

chemguy79

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Yes, I was expelled. However, there's a gray are in this whole process because all academic violation information is kept confidential. More importantly, they put a "enrollment discontinued" notation on the transcript, which could mean that I left the university for any reason. For example, when I was applying to grad school for my Master's, one of the adcoms thanked me for being honest with telling them about the cheating incident because otherwise, based on what is on my transcript, they would have had no idea about it. Some people have told me I should talk to a lawyer about what I should do in regards to revealing this info during med school apps (they're suggesting that I shouldn't reveal it if I don't have to), but my gut tells me that I should just be honest.. I don't know.

And yes, the school has not been publicly notorious until recently, when the organizations against their single sanction policy have taken more aggressive legal routes to reveal what goes on behind closed doors in their Honor system procedures. Furthermore, there may be a case for a class action lawsuit for the University discriminating against minorities as well. I'm working with some of those orgs to help strengthen their cases by adding in my case details, but likely a positive outcome will only benefit future cases; not the ones that have already been adjudicated like mine. Either way, I'm pursuing this route to ensure justice for other students who might fall in the same shoes that I did.

For the DUI, trust me, I realize that what I did could have certainly taken the lives of others which I have absolutely no excuse for. I went through an entire, long period of reflection, regret, and sorrow for what I did, and continue to do so. I will express this during my interviews (if I'm lucky enough to even land one), and have a plan of action for showing my reflection and personal growth from that situation.

I've done a lifestyle assessment as a result of both of these life-changing situations, and have taken the correct steps since they occurred, to better myself. I've changed my friend circle, location, institution, decision-making style, and anything else I could so that I can be the best person I can be. I just would like to know if medical schools will accept the mistakes I made 4 years ago and see me for who I am today. Such a tough position to be in :(

Honesty should be paramount in this process; If your eventual medical school were to find out that you lied about being expelled for cheating, your medical career would be over immediately. End of discussion. If you attempt to hide the truth of certain deleterious actions in order to get accepted to medical school, you shouldn't pursue a career in the medical profession. It's harsh to say and it's a difficult position to be in, but it's also a position that you created from your own actions.

The thing that gets me about this situation is that I don't really sense any sort of ownership from the cheating situation; If you feel that it was bogus, I think that it should have been fought diligently 3 years ago instead of attempting to be a crusader from people falling victim to a rogue professor/university. I would like to think think that a cheating situation COULD be overcome, but you should take ownership of the situation and hopefully an ad com would possibly be receptive to your plight.
 

LizzyM

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Many schools have a no tolerance policy toward any student who lies, cheats or steals or tolerates anyone who does. If you attend such a school, you are well aware of this policy. There is some debate over whether the single sanction and the student jury is a good model (see U Virginia alumni magazine from about a year ago for one school's recent discussion of this matter) but the OP was sanctioned and that sanction must be reported. The OP knows this.

There are over 35,000 med school applicants each year for <20,000 slots. Any given school gets >4,000 applications and makes <400 offers to fill a class. Will everything the OP has done since Mar 2012 be enough in Summer 2015 to overcome a DUI and an expulsion for cheating? I don't have an answer for that because I do not have insight into the thought process that goes into the decisions made by >100 adcoms.
 
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premed23456

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Yep, I intend on being honest just so that everything will be out there in the open.

I did fight it diligently for as long as I could, 3 years ago but nothing came of it. Appeals in general hold little ground in this honor system (almost none of them get approved). And it's a little hard to take ownership of the whole thing when I know in my heart and it was a wrongful accusation, and there was so much proof at the trial to justify that (please correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you mean by ownership). What got me that guilty verdict (I, and the other people in the organization I worked with think) is the fact that in the end, a member of the student jury asked me "if you didn't do it, then who did?" I had no answer to that, because what I had to prove was that I did not do it. There are other students who have been wrongfully accused through this system, and many other honor systems as well.

Are you saying I should say that I was guilty even though I am 100% sure that I really am not? It takes a lot, reflecting on the half-year battle I fought with that honor committee and the emotional, financial, and the countless amount of other trauma I went through, to do that.

I don't intend on bashing the school or making excuses or anything like that when I apply. I intend on stating what happened, the circumstances of the case, and the actions I've taken since to redeem my character on the application. Do you think I'd be better off saying I'm guilty or saying that it was a wrongful accusation like I plan on doing? If you can further explain what you mean by "ownership" (if it's not an admission of guilt like I'm thinking), that would be appreciated.

Thanks again!
 

Goro

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Applicants have to report IAs and since it's on the official record (getting expelled is not something that gets wiped way), the medical schol will know about it.

Lying on your app would mean an instant expulsion from medical school if the candidate were accepted (or acceptance would be rescinded if discovered prior to matriculation.

Now, in cases where there is no official record of an IA, say where a student committed plagiarism, and the Prof failed the student but didn't report it, then we'd have no way of knowing.



I have a question Dr. Goro

How would the ADCOM know a person has cheated if he failed to report it on his or hers ACCOMAS? Does each individual school contact the deans office? Do they call the head of the undergrad department, or do they simply check the transcripts?
 

Goro

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Time does heal reputations, especially when they're followed by exemplary service and conduct. there are plenty of AdCom members who believe in redemption.

This is one of those things that you may have to simply take on the chin and see how it goes. You might very well get interviews and then it's on you to convince the interviewers.

I've done a lifestyle assessment as a result of both of these life-changing situations, and have taken the correct steps since they occurred, to better myself. I've changed my friend circle, location, institution, decision-making style, and anything else I could so that I can be the best person I can be. I just would like to know if medical schools will accept the mistakes I made 4 years ago and see me for who I am today. Such a tough position to be in :([/quote]

At my school, the app isn't tossed out, but in interviews we'll ask the interviewing (privately) what his/her side of the story is. However, people in your shoes do not fare well at my school. They're the rare pool of interviewees who get rejected outright by the AdCom.

"Enrollment discontinued" is a term very likely to raise eyebrows and invite questions, so the mild language isn't likely to help you.


To go back to the cheating incident, what you're telling me is that, you see an academic violation on an application and you automatically toss the app out? Do the circumstances not matter? Like if it was potentially a wrongful conviction, or what have you?
 
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premed23456

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Thanks so much for all the input, everyone. I apologize for mistaking what was meant by "ownership." I'm still trying to figure out how to strike a balance between letting them know that I was wrongfully accused and not making myself look like the victim (which I really don't want to do). I guess I'll just have to beast on this MCAT, apply, and see what happens. I'll keep you all updated!
 

nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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Yep, I intend on being honest just so that everything will be out there in the open.

I did fight it diligently for as long as I could, 3 years ago but nothing came of it. Appeals in general hold little ground in this honor system (almost none of them get approved). And it's a little hard to take ownership of the whole thing when I know in my heart and it was a wrongful accusation, and there was so much proof at the trial to justify that (please correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you mean by ownership). What got me that guilty verdict (I, and the other people in the organization I worked with think) is the fact that in the end, a member of the student jury asked me "if you didn't do it, then who did?" I had no answer to that, because what I had to prove was that I did not do it. There are other students who have been wrongfully accused through this system, and many other honor systems as well.

Are you saying I should say that I was guilty even though I am 100% sure that I really am not? It takes a lot, reflecting on the half-year battle I fought with that honor committee and the emotional, financial, and the countless amount of other trauma I went through, to do that.

I don't intend on bashing the school or making excuses or anything like that when I apply. I intend on stating what happened, the circumstances of the case, and the actions I've taken since to redeem my character on the application. Do you think I'd be better off saying I'm guilty or saying that it was a wrongful accusation like I plan on doing? If you can further explain what you mean by "ownership" (if it's not an admission of guilt like I'm thinking), that would be appreciated.

Thanks again!
Wait so what exactly happened here? What was the nature of this violation that you got asked such a question? Was it some cheating scandal?

Have you contacted a lawyer to try and do something about this if you really did not violate your academic honesty? Even with a school with harsh IA policies, I don't understand how they could have enough evidence to issue you an IA if you really were innocent. But then again, I have heard that a college's process is very different from what happens in a court setting, in that a school doesn't need much proof at all to issue an IA.
 

DoctorDachshund

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I would try to tie the two together... say you were falsely expelled, so you went out and got druck, then got DUI.
 
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premed23456

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Yea it was definitely a cheating "scandal" that lasted for half a year. And yes, the college Honor system works differently than than a court system. There was no faculty supervision and the whole thing was student-run. In short, I was accused of copying another student's organic chem lab paper in a class where everyone was ranked against each other.. even though I was ranked 3 and she was ranked 7 (one of the many things that didn't make sense in the case). Essentially there's 6 months worth of info that I could talk about all day, and don't really want to get into here on SDN.