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greenbannan4

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Hi all so I am getting suspended from college for a year for a really dumb cheating incident that occurred back when I was a freshman. I won't serve my punishment until after my sophomore year because I was fighting the case. During that time I will be joining the Army National Guard as a medic that year to get my life back on track and for other reasons before coming back and finishing my degree. Once I finished my degree (business administration major with healthcare administration minor if that matters), the suspension will not be on my official transcript anymore. What should I do to make me a more attractive candidate for med school? My GPA isn't that great either for some other dumb reasons, but being a doctor is my dream. It is the only profession that I can see myself ever doing and I am not giving up on it. Should I even bother mentioning the fact that I was suspended on my application? By then it would been like 4 since that incident (2 years since I came back from the suspension) and I have already learned a lot since that incident. I regret my dumb decision so much, but I am worried about how that'll affect my med school application. Should I not mention it and hope that they don't find out? Or should I just be honest about it and explain everything to them and how much I have grown since then? How much do you all think that'll affect my acceptance chances too? And what else can I do to improve my chances? I'm thinking about getting a masters in health policy/administration (my school offers progressive masters degrees) as well if that'll help

Thanks so much for the help.

tl;dr I messed up pretty badly that led to a year long suspension. I am joining the Army to figure stuff out. Should I even mention that on my app? (it isn't on my transcript) And how will that affect my chances? Thanks!
 

caffeine is my drug

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By contract, I believe, you'll be required to mention it on an app. AAMCAS point blank asked last year. Even if you don't have to mention it, medical schools can still request previous records that include the incident, and are therefore able to contact deans regarding the incident. Unless you can thoroughly explain the entire situation and how it changed you as a person, schools will unlikely consider you for admission.


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They probably ask the question and you have to be honest. And frankly getting suspended for cheating usually derails chances for med school. If you waited a decade maybe you could say you were young and stupid but your current timing isn't going to make anyone assume you've learned from it. You can take your shot, but I think you'll find this more of a red flag for med schools than most other career paths.

Second, you say your GPA isn't great, so that may not be your only hurdle. You'd need to fix this, particularly with such a big red flag. Nontrads don't get to be substandard applicants.

Third, I don't think a masters will help you much. These are usually looked at as just another EC (working as a medic with the national guard already checks that box pretty well) and the grades don't get factored in with your undergrad grades.
 
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Jonny Seed

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During undergrad, I never knew or heard of anyone getting suspended for cheating. I've seen professors catch students looking on other test takers, but the worst result of that was a zero on the test. Is this usually something like downloading a paper or essay online and calling it your own?
 

GreenDuck12

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The biggest mistake you can make is not reporting it and hoping that the medical school and/or licensing board does not find out. There was a student a few years back who was about to graduate from OHSU in Oregon who failed to disclose some academic infraction. The student was expelled a month short of graduating because of it. Even if the student had been able to graduate, he or she may not have been able to match into a residency or pass the character piece of the medical licensing boards. Long story short, don't make the mistake of not reporting it. You may need to put medical school on hold for a while; don't worry, they aren't going anywhere.

Duke has this post about AMCAS and violation reporting: http://prehealth.duke.edu/apply/filling-out-your-application/conduct-violations
 
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GreenDuck12

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Most universities reserve the ability to suspend or expel students for this kind of violation but do not. It depends both on the context, and how far the professor/department choose to push it. At my own university, if you cheat on a chemistry or biology exam the student would definitely be suspended, whereas a student that copied a philosophy paper would receive a zero on the paper and maybe fail the class.

During undergrad, I never knew or heard of anyone getting suspended for cheating. I've seen professors catch students looking on other test takers, but the worst result of that was a zero on the test. Is this usually something like downloading a paper or essay online and calling it your own?
 
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Jonny Seed

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Most universities reserve the ability to suspend or expel students for this kind of violation but do not. It depends both on the context, and how far the professor/department choose to push it. At my own university, if you cheat on a chemistry or biology exam the student would definitely be suspended, whereas a student that copied a philosophy paper would receive a zero on the paper and maybe fail the class.
So if you're caught looking on someone else's exam, that alone could result in the end of your path to be a doctor? Seems excessive to me, especially considering it's only caught a small fraction of the time.
 

caffeine is my drug

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So if you're caught looking on someone else's exam, that alone could result in the end of your path to be a doctor? Seems excessive to me, especially considering it's only caught a small fraction of the time.
It's a competitive field and a lapse in morals is, and should be, a red flag.


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Jonny Seed

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It's a competitive field and a lapse in morals is, and should be, a red flag.


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Good point. My point is that college is a place where cheating goes on all the time. It should be punished. I think if you steal someones work, such as a long paper or plagiarize a huge passage and claim it as your own, that's especially wrong (see Joe Biden). But getting caught looking at a test doesn't feel the same as neglecting a patient. My point is that there are probably thousands of doctors who have cheated but were never caught, and who are great doctors.
 

etp123

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Good point. My point is that college is a place where cheating goes on all the time. It should be punished. I think if you steal someones work, such as a long paper or plagiarize a huge passage and claim it as your own, that's especially wrong (see Joe Biden). But getting caught looking at a test doesn't feel the same as neglecting a patient. My point is that there are probably thousands of doctors who have cheated but were never caught, and who are great doctors.

Probably, but does it make it excusable or right? No. As an above poster said, it depends on the school to decide whether or not an infraction is worthy of suspension or other disciplinary action. We don't know what constituted OP's suspension, so maybe it was something bigger than being caught looking at a test.

When it comes down to it, would you rather have a physician who had to cheat to get by, or one who studied hard enough that they knew the material and didn't need to cheat? If the student had a history of academic dishonesty in the past, what if they're tempted to try it again? Do they actually know the material? Can you 100% confidently allow that person to treat patients? Now, we all know there is gray area (the previous student had extraneous life circumstances that didn't let them prepare as well for the course, it was just one question, etc) but with thousands of applications adcoms don't have the time to see it as anything more than black and white... at least not without other very compelling arguments.

OP, I believe most everyone who wants to go to medical school should at least try. If you can get some awesome recommendations, definitely take advantage of that. You're going to have to work harder to make up for the suspension, so go above and beyond to show how committed you are to med school and how the you of back then isn't the you of now: volunteering with the underserved, more clinical experience, shadowing, research, more heavy science classes, etc. Always be honest. If you don't get in the first round, perhaps you'll have to wait a few more years and put more distance between you and the infraction. Continue building yourself in that time: more experience, a special masters program (note, these are different than regular masters - look up SMPs on sd.net and AAMC), etc. It'll be a marathon, but if you're truly committed then go for it.
 
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Jonny Seed

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Probably, but does it make it excusable or right? No. As an above poster said, it depends on the school to decide whether or not an infraction is worthy of suspension or other disciplinary action. We don't know what constituted OP's suspension, so maybe it was something bigger than being caught looking at a test.

When it comes down to it, would you rather have a physician who had to cheat to get by, or one who studied hard enough that they knew the material and didn't need to cheat? If the student had a history of academic dishonesty in the past, what if they're tempted to try it again? Do they actually know the material? Can you 100% confidently allow that person to treat patients? Now, we all know there is gray area (the previous student had extraneous life circumstances that didn't let them prepare as well for the course, it was just one question, etc) but with thousands of applications adcoms don't have the time to see it as anything more than black and white... at least not without other very compelling arguments.

OP, I believe most everyone who wants to go to medical school should at least try. If you can get some awesome recommendations, definitely take advantage of that. You're going to have to work harder to make up for the suspension, so go above and beyond to show how committed you are to med school and how the you of back then isn't the you of now: volunteering with the underserved, more clinical experience, shadowing, research, more heavy science classes, etc. Always be honest. If you don't get in the first round, perhaps you'll have to wait a few more years and put more distance between you and the infraction. Continue building yourself in that time: more experience, a special masters program (note, these are different than regular masters - look up SMPs on sd.net and AAMC), etc. It'll be a marathon, but if you're truly committed then go for it.
Definitely not excusable - maybe most suspensions are based on a pattern of behavior, which would be justified.
 

greenbannan4

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During undergrad, I never knew or heard of anyone getting suspended for cheating. I've seen professors catch students looking on other test takers, but the worst result of that was a zero on the test. Is this usually something like downloading a paper or essay online and calling it your own?
No it was a lot
Probably, but does it make it excusable or right? No. As an above poster said, it depends on the school to decide whether or not an infraction is worthy of suspension or other disciplinary action. We don't know what constituted OP's suspension, so maybe it was something bigger than being caught looking at a test.

When it comes down to it, would you rather have a physician who had to cheat to get by, or one who studied hard enough that they knew the material and didn't need to cheat? If the student had a history of academic dishonesty in the past, what if they're tempted to try it again? Do they actually know the material? Can you 100% confidently allow that person to treat patients? Now, we all know there is gray area (the previous student had extraneous life circumstances that didn't let them prepare as well for the course, it was just one question, etc) but with thousands of applications adcoms don't have the time to see it as anything more than black and white... at least not without other very compelling arguments.

OP, I believe most everyone who wants to go to medical school should at least try. If you can get some awesome recommendations, definitely take advantage of that. You're going to have to work harder to make up for the suspension, so go above and beyond to show how committed you are to med school and how the you of back then isn't the you of now: volunteering with the underserved, more clinical experience, shadowing, research, more heavy science classes, etc. Always be honest. If you don't get in the first round, perhaps you'll have to wait a few more years and put more distance between you and the infraction. Continue building yourself in that time: more experience, a special masters program (note, these are different than regular masters - look up SMPs on sd.net and AAMC), etc. It'll be a marathon, but if you're truly committed then go for it.

I know what I did is not excusable, but it was also such a dumb mistake. A lapse of judgment that I really regret but I am 100% committed. Do you think doing a post-bacc or independently just taking science classes while working part time as an EMT or something like that would be good?
 
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Jonny Seed

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No it was a lot

I know what I did is not excusable, but it was also such a dumb mistake. A lapse of judgment that I really regret but I am 100% committed. Do you think doing a post-bacc or independently just taking science classes while working part time as an EMT or something like that would be good?

Honestly, I am no expert, but you should contact every medical school you're interested in and see if they can look past it. If they give all give a definite no, then you know doing a postbacc is not worth it. My guess is there may be some school who can look past it. Once you find it, then tailor all of your studies towards that.
 
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GreenDuck12

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I think putting time between the infraction and your application will help reinforce that it was a mistake of youth (and one you will not repeat). Doing things that demonstrate maturity can only help i.e. army national guard, finishing your degree, volunteering, and being employed for several years. Take some time before jumping back into school so that you 1. can sort out the challenges that you have had academically and 2. have a bit of fire in the belly to push you excel academically. My guess is, doing some type of post-bac, after working for a few years, will be necessary. I do think you need a longer term strategy for applying to medical school.
 
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greenbannan4

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Honestly, I am no expert, but you should contact every medical school you're interested in and see if they can look past it. If they give all give a definite no, then you know doing a postbacc is not worth it. My guess is there may be some school who can look past it. Once you find it, then tailor all of your studies towards that.
Do you know of any schools that are more lenient to these incidents?
 

greenbannan4

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I think putting time between the infraction and your application will help reinforce that it was a mistake of youth (and one you will not repeat). Doing things that demonstrate maturity can only help i.e. army national guard, finishing your degree, volunteering, and being employed for several years. Take some time before jumping back into school so that you 1. can sort out the challenges that you have had academically and 2. have a bit of fire in the belly to push you excel academically. My guess is, doing some type of post-bac, after working for a few years, will be necessary. I do think you need a longer term strategy for applying to medical school.
Yea I'm still trying to figure out a long term strategy. What I'm thinking about now is just finishing up my degree, while working part time as an EMT (hopefully get on a 911 service) and then after I graduate maybe work a little as a healthcare consultant or something more in the administrative side of health care in order to learn more about the more business side of healthcare. And after that then go do a post-bacc. What do you think?
 

GreenDuck12

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Do you know of any schools that are more lenient to these incidents?

I'm not sure that there are any schools that will admit to being lenient about a suspension on your record nor would many likely flat out discourage your from applying. Likely they would say it is reviewed on a case by case basis and happily accept your $100 application fee. In my opinion, a suspension is going to be akin to a major hurdle that you have to develop a compelling reason for an ADCOM to look past. There are no guarantees this will work out given how stiff the competition is for spots in medical school classes. If I were you, after a period of years (5+) I would start a post-bac program and demonstrate continued academic excellence in the sciences, prepare like crazy for the MCAT (to earn the highest score possible), all while volunteering in medical and non medical settings. I would then apply very broadly to a combination of MD and DO schools (assuming an excellent GPA and MCAT score).

Yea I'm still trying to figure out a long term strategy. What I'm thinking about now is just finishing up my degree, while working part time as an EMT (hopefully get on a 911 service) and then after I graduate maybe work a little as a healthcare consultant or something more in the administrative side of health care in order to learn more about the more business side of healthcare. And after that then go do a post-bacc. What do you think?

At this stage, I would not get hung up on the "what" as it largely will not make much of a difference. Instead, I would think about the skills that you are gaining: teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, etc. I would also think about what character traits you are demonstrating and find a way to make sure you consistently demonstrating leadership, compassion, altruism, etc because as a doctor you are going to need all of these. Whatever you do, make sure you volunteer in non-medical settings. You will need as much of the "warm and fuzzies" on your side as possible if and when you do decide to apply.
 
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Jonny Seed

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Is there any chance you could work something out with your undergrad about possibly expunging this record? Not sure if anything like this exists. Maybe see if they can expunge it after a set time period.
 

greenbannan4

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Is there any chance you could work something out with your undergrad about possibly expunging this record? Not sure if anything like this exists. Maybe see if they can expunge it after a set time period.
Well after I come back from my suspension and graduate, my school will take off the suspension note from my transcript. They will keep the record internally, but as for what they send to schools, they won't see the suspension.
 

greenbannan4

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I'm not sure that there are any schools that will admit to being lenient about a suspension on your record nor would many likely flat out discourage your from applying. Likely they would say it is reviewed on a case by case basis and happily accept your $100 application fee. In my opinion, a suspension is going to be akin to a major hurdle that you have to develop a compelling reason for an ADCOM to look past. There are no guarantees this will work out given how stiff the competition is for spots in medical school classes. If I were you, after a period of years (5+) I would start a post-bac program and demonstrate continued academic excellence in the sciences, prepare like crazy for the MCAT (to earn the highest score possible), all while volunteering in medical and non medical settings. I would then apply very broadly to a combination of MD and DO schools (assuming an excellent GPA and MCAT score).



At this stage, I would not get hung up on the "what" as it largely will not make much of a difference. Instead, I would think about the skills that you are gaining: teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, etc. I would also think about what character traits you are demonstrating and find a way to make sure you consistently demonstrating leadership, compassion, altruism, etc because as a doctor you are going to need all of these. Whatever you do, make sure you volunteer in non-medical settings. You will need as much of the "warm and fuzzies" on your side as possible if and when you do decide to apply.
Thanks! I appreciate. It is encouraging to not see the "you're screwed' post haha
 

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Do you think doing a post-bacc or independently just taking science classes while working part time as an EMT or something like that would be good?

Well it depends on your GPA needs too. If you've got a 3.6+ GPA then perhaps doing a SMP after taking some time off to work/volunteer and demonstrate the integrity of your character as @GreenDuck12 suggested would be enough in my opinion. But if your GPA is below that, then definitely do a postbac or independently take science classes (DIY postbac) to get those grades up first, and THEN do a SMP. The technicality between a formal postbac/certificate program vs. a DIY postbac at your state school isn't a big deal, but SMPs do matter to an extent so make sure you do your research when you get to that point. EMT, healthcare consultant, etc are all fine - do things that show you can handle a leadership role, be responsible, be trustworthy, etc. Serve with the underserved. This will be a several year marathon. Keep your head up, always evaluate and re-evaluate your situation.
 
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gyngyn

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Is there any chance you could work something out with your undergrad about possibly expunging this record? Not sure if anything like this exists. Maybe see if they can expunge it after a set time period.
Even "expunged" IA's need to be reported:
"You must answer Yes to this question if you were ever the recipient of any institutional action resulting from unacceptable academic performance or a conduct violation, even if such action did not interrupt your enrollment or require you to withdraw. You must answer Yes even if the action does not appear on or has been deleted from your official transcripts due to institutional policy or personal petition. "
Emphasis, mine.
 
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greenbannan4

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Well it depends on your GPA needs too. If you've got a 3.6+ GPA then perhaps doing a SMP after taking some time off to work/volunteer and demonstrate the integrity of your character as @GreenDuck12 suggested would be enough in my opinion. But if your GPA is below that, then definitely do a postbac or independently take science classes (DIY postbac) to get those grades up first, and THEN do a SMP. The technicality between a formal postbac/certificate program vs. a DIY postbac at your state school isn't a big deal, but SMPs do matter to an extent so make sure you do your research when you get to that point. EMT, healthcare consultant, etc are all fine - do things that show you can handle a leadership role, be responsible, be trustworthy, etc. Serve with the underserved. This will be a several year marathon. Keep your head up, always evaluate and re-evaluate your situation.
Yea I need to get my GPA up. But thanks tho! I feel like a DIY postbacc might be better for me just so I will be able to work part time as well.
 
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OP, I believe that your service in the NatGurad can go a long way toward salvaging your medical aspirations. You will need long periods of exemplary behavior and responsibility.

Please restrain your solipsism. My school has interviewed people who were suspended for cheating. We do NOT admit them.

During undergrad, I never knew or heard of anyone getting suspended for cheating. I've seen professors catch students looking on other test takers, but the worst result of that was a zero on the test. Is this usually something like downloading a paper or essay online and calling it your own?


100% agree. We have had instances where we have outright rejected people who didn't check the box and explain, and a LOR writer let slip that there was some IA, like "Joe has grown since the cheating incident..."


The biggest mistake you can make is not reporting it and hoping that the medical school and/or licensing board does not find out. There was a student a few years back who was about to graduate from OHSU in Oregon who failed to disclose some academic infraction. The student was expelled a month short of graduating because of it. Even if the student had been able to graduate, he or she may not have been able to match into a residency or pass the character piece of the medical licensing boards. Long story short, don't make the mistake of not reporting it. You may need to put medical school on hold for a while; don't worry, they aren't going anywhere.

Duke has this post about AMCAS and violation reporting: http://prehealth.duke.edu/apply/filling-out-your-application/conduct-violations

Yes. The honor code at many schools, including the US Naval Academy is: I will not cheat nor tolerate anyone who does".

So if you're caught looking on someone else's exam, that alone could result in the end of your path to be a doctor? Seems excessive to me, especially considering it's only caught a small fraction of the time.
 

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An SMP addresses the question "Is this applicant academically capable?" It does not address the primary question AdComs will have for you @greenbannan4, which is "Is this applicant a trustworthy, honest, ethical, moral person? Does s/he consistently use good judgement? Will s/he be an asset to the profession or an embarrassment?"

Those latter questions are much harder to answer in your favor.

True, the incident happened freshman year. But instead of immediately admitting fault and humbly accepting the consequences, you chose to fight the charges. I understand why you made that decision, but the end result is that the incident has dragged on for over a year now and will have left a lingering bad taste in this university's memory. That's not to say your conduct was unforgivable, but it is human nature to more easily forgive something of short duration than something that dragged on for a while.

It will take many years to redeem yourself. By the time medical schools are ready to consider your possible 'rehabilitation' you should be well-established in some other profession, so 'Plan B' simply needs to be part of your long-term strategy. Make your Plan B something you can be happy with --
 
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100% agree. We have had instances where we have outright rejected people who didn't check the box and explain, and a LOR writer let slip that there was some IA, like "Joe has grown since the cheating incident..."
This is sort of saying that someone could get away with it if it's not reported, and no one brings it up??
 

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No, this is explaining how bad an idea it is to not bring up because you never know if/when someone may bring it up. Medical schools can request access to your records beyond your transcripts which will require you to sign off on their request. If you were to decline, that would be a very, very large red flag to the medical school and would likely result in rescinding any offer you may have had.

This is sort of saying that someone could get away with it if it's not reported, and no one brings it up??
 
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Jonny Seed

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No, this is explaining how bad an idea it is to not bring up because you never know if/when someone may bring it up. Medical schools can request access to your records beyond your transcripts which will require you to sign off on their request. If you were to decline, that would be a very, very large red flag to the medical school and would likely result in rescinding any offer you may have had.

But will they request access to records if you gave them no sign that they need to? I have no stake in this, but just curious. I assumed they got every record possible either before or after an offer.
 

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By law, outside entities (including parents) are unable to access a significant portion of your records without your written permission (FERPA). My S.O. was admitted to veterinary school with only her transcripts, LOR, and GRE scores. Once she accepted her offer, she had to sign a document allowing her veterinary program to access her non-medical records. When she applies for residencies and for her license, she will likely need to do the same thing.

But will they request access to records if you gave them no sign that they need to? I have no stake in this, but just curious. I assumed they got every record possible either before or after an offer.
 
You need to realize and come to grips with the mindset of the people you're dealing with. You're a documented integrity violator. You cannot find it unreasonable that it's assumed that someone who's been caught cheating has done it before, and given the opportunity, will do it again.

I had something like this happen right before my very eyes a few weeks ago. We caught a student trying to cheat, did the right thing and dimed her out because 1 - it's the right thing to do 2 - not doing so by the rules put us in jeopardy and I for one have way to much at risk 3 - we are busting our ass and that diminishes our efforts and 4 - this individual claims to want to be a surgeon. During the exam the prof catches her in the act, takes her out into the hallway, student turns on the waterworks wah wah wah, prof folds and lets her finish the test, doesn't do what she should have and XF the student for the course. Yeah she's still in the course. Her problem now is we all know and no one wants to work with her.

The funny/sad part is she still walks around with this air of superiority because she doesn't know the entire class knows what she done did.

So now we have this cheater that might as well be covered in Chernobyl dust and a prof that is a sweet lady but now has this stink on her too.

In an environment where grades are currency and academic integrity is boiler plated into every syllabus and students are pro forma threatened with the worst possible consequences, cheating is bank robbery. Then that happens and everything that's been said is meaningless. That's what cheating can do to an academic institution and that's why you're going to get asked the question. To be throughly honest, there really shouldn't be any reason for you to expect to get a chance when pitted against the 39,000 applicants that didn't cheat their freshman year. If you get one you better earn it every day because if you get a seat an I don't you better be worth it. I'm not one for the zero-defect stance but this is literally one of those "You Had One Job" scenarios.
 

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You need to realize and come to grips with the mindset of the people you're dealing with. You're a documented integrity violator. You cannot find it unreasonable that it's assumed that someone who's been caught cheating has done it before, and given the opportunity, will do it again.

I had something like this happen right before my very eyes a few weeks ago. We caught a student trying to cheat, did the right thing and dimed her out because 1 - it's the right thing to do 2 - not doing so by the rules put us in jeopardy and I for one have way to much at risk 3 - we are busting our ass and that diminishes our efforts and 4 - this individual claims to want to be a surgeon. During the exam the prof catches her in the act, takes her out into the hallway, student turns on the waterworks wah wah wah, prof folds and lets her finish the test, doesn't do what she should have and XF the student for the course. Yeah she's still in the course. Her problem now is we all know and no one wants to work with her.

The funny/sad part is she still walks around with this air of superiority because she doesn't know the entire class knows what she done did.

So now we have this cheater that might as well be covered in Chernobyl dust and a prof that is a sweet lady but now has this stink on her too.

In an environment where grades are currency and academic integrity is boiler plated into every syllabus and students are pro forma threatened with the worst possible consequences, cheating is bank robbery. Then that happens and everything that's been said is meaningless. That's what cheating can do to an academic institution and that's why you're going to get asked the question. To be throughly honest, there really shouldn't be any reason for you to expect to get a chance when pitted against the 39,000 applicants that didn't cheat their freshman year. If you get one you better earn it every day because if you get a seat an I don't you better be worth it. I'm not one for the zero-defect stance but this is literally one of those "You Had One Job" scenarios.
I'm surprised one of the students in the class didn't report this to the dean and demand some sort of action. She should have gotten a zero on the test in my opinion. Was she looking on someone else, or did she bring something that wasn't allowed?
 
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Tc99m

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Please restrain your solipsism. My school has interviewed people who were suspended for cheating. We do NOT admit them.
.

All instances of cheating such as plagiarism are severe infractions, and hesitation for admittance to medical school is appropriately warranted, but are they all treated the same? I also had a lapse in judgement close to 6 years ago in undergrad when I copied and pasted a sentence without citing it. As a result I received a zero for the paper, the instance was reported to the academic dean, and I received a warning. I have since grown from this, and as a teaching assistant in graduate school, I have also encountered an instance of one of my students plagiarizing on his work. As a result I felt disrespected and disappointed by the my student, and realized how I did the same to my professor as an undergrad. For those who disclose their academic integrity violation(s), do evaluate them on a case-by-case process?
 
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There's cheating, and then there's cheating.

Forgetting to put citation on some text (very common and forgivable) is very different from having someone sit for you non an exam (true story) to two students working together when they're supposed to be independent to changing the answer on a scantron from after it's been submitted. Perhaps the worst horror stories are the kids who hacked into the school's computers and either changed answered or stole exams. I think someone has made a post in these forums about their photographing an exam from a computer monitor when a professor foolishly left the room. That student will never be doctor.

Honor code violations fall somewhere in between and are case dependent.

Your incident is, in my opinion, and from the experience of our Adcom, the most forgivable.



All instances of cheating such as plagiarism are severe infractions, and hesitation for admittance to medical school is appropriately warranted, but are they all treated the same? I also had a lapse in judgement close to 6 years ago in undergrad when I copied and pasted a sentence without citing it. As a result I received a zero for the paper, the instance was reported to the academic dean, and I received a warning. I have since grown from this, and as a teaching assistant in graduate school, I have also encountered an instance of one of my students plagiarizing on his work. As a result I felt disrespected and disappointed by the my student, and realized how I did the same to my professor as an undergrad. For those who disclose their academic integrity violation(s), do evaluate them on a case-by-case process?
 
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Jonny Seed

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There's cheating, and then there's cheating.

Forgetting to put citation on some text (very common and forgivable) is very different from having someone sit for you non an exam (true story) to two students working together when they're supposed to be independent to changing the answer on a scantron from after it's been submitted. Perhaps the worst horror stories are the kids who hacked into the school's computers and either changed answered or stole exams. I think someone has made a post in these forums about their photographing an exam from a computer monitor when a professor foolishly left the room. That student will never be doctor.

Honor code violations fall somewhere in between and are case dependent.

Your incident is, in my opinion, and from the experience of our Adcom, the most forgivable.

I really don't think taking a picture of an exam that a prof left on the screen should make you unworthy of being a doctor. I could understand how a student could feel tempted in that situation and make a huge mistake. Especially when you can whip out your phone and take a pic in about 2 seconds. He should get a zero on the test, and maybe even an F in the class.

Hacking or faking an identity is a much more sever way of cheating, and probably should blacklist you for good.
 
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In this business, there's no room for "being tempted". There's right and wrong, and "character" is defined as what you do when no one is looking. Someone who would take a pic of an exam on a monitor is displaying only tip of the iceberg behavior.

With so many qualified candidates who don't cheat (and spare me the "everyone cheats, they just haven't gotten caught" attitude), we're not going to take risks on those who do.

I notice that all through his thread you've been trying to justify dishonest behavior. Interesting viewpoint for someone trying to enter a profession that requires trust and honesty.

I really don't think taking a picture of an exam that a prof left on the screen should make you unworthy of being a doctor. I could understand how a student could feel tempted in that situation and make a huge mistake. Especially when you can whip out your phone and take a pic in about 2 seconds. He should get a zero on the test, and maybe even an F in the class.

Hacking or faking an identity is a much more sever way of cheating, and probably should blacklist you for good.
 

greenbannan4

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There's cheating, and then there's cheating.

Forgetting to put citation on some text (very common and forgivable) is very different from having someone sit for you non an exam (true story) to two students working together when they're supposed to be independent to changing the answer on a scantron from after it's been submitted. Perhaps the worst horror stories are the kids who hacked into the school's computers and either changed answered or stole exams. I think someone has made a post in these forums about their photographing an exam from a computer monitor when a professor foolishly left the room. That student will never be doctor.

Honor code violations fall somewhere in between and are case dependent.

Your incident is, in my opinion, and from the experience of our Adcom, the most forgivable.

Well what I did kind of falls in the middle of that in my opinion. So pretty much I copied and pasted a conclusion into my word document, but only to use as a frame of reference to finish my paper. I read over the conclusion and wrote my own, but I ended up not even using most of the ideas from that conclusion and forgot to remove the pasted conclusion from my work. So I had two conclusions with different ideas on my document and one of those was copied. I know I shouldn't have done that in the first place. It was more of a laziness thing because it was like 5am and I had been working on it all night and just wanted to finish. I didn't even end up saving time because I ended up just writing my own anyway and it has cost me so much already. I know, it was such a stupid mistake.
But so what do you think? Sounds forgivable, or I would have to do a lot more to earn my forgiveness?
And what school are you associated with if you don't mind me asking?
 
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You were sloppy and deserved the sanction.

How you do on your apps will be how you own this and explain it.

I could tell you where I am, but then I'd have to reject you!


Well what I did kind of falls in the middle of that in my opinion. So pretty much I copied and pasted a conclusion into my word document, but only to use as a frame of reference to finish my paper. I read over the conclusion and wrote my own, but I ended up not even using most of the ideas from that conclusion and forgot to remove the pasted conclusion from my work. So I had two conclusions with different ideas on my document and one of those was copied. I know I shouldn't have done that in the first place. It was more of a laziness thing because it was like 5am and I had been working on it all night and just wanted to finish. I didn't even end up saving time because I ended up just writing my own anyway and it has cost me so much already. I know, it was such a stupid mistake.
But so what do you think? Sounds forgivable, or I would have to do a lot more to earn my forgiveness?
And what school are you associated with if you don't mind me asking?
 

Law2Doc

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I really don't think taking a picture of an exam that a prof left on the screen should make you unworthy of being a doctor. I could understand how a student could feel tempted in that situation and make a huge mistake. Especially when you can whip out your phone and take a pic in about 2 seconds. He should get a zero on the test, and maybe even an F in the class.

Hacking or faking an identity is a much more sever way of cheating, and probably should blacklist you for good.
You are entitled to your views but every academic institution would consider such an act academic dishonesty. Best to try to view things the way they do, not based on your own moral compass. Feeling tempted and making a mistake has never been much of a defense (even dating back to the Garden of Eden).
 
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Jonny Seed

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In this business, there's no room for "being tempted". There's right and wrong, and "character" is defined as what you do when no one is looking. Someone who would take a pic of an exam on a monitor is displaying only tip of the iceberg behavior.

With so many qualified candidates who don't cheat (and spare me the "everyone cheats, they just haven't gotten caught" attitude), we're not going to take risks on those who do.

I notice that all through his thread you've been trying to justify dishonest behavior. Interesting viewpoint for someone trying to enter a profession that requires trust and honesty.

I actually agree with you. I'm not justifying dishonest behavior at all.

If a 19 year old is being stupid and take a pic of something he shouldn't, I think he should fail the class and get some sort of disciplinary action. This would surely hurt his chances at med school, maybe end them for some time. I'm not a dean, so it really doesn't matter what I think.

I do agree with you. There are only a few thousand people selected for med school each year, let's pick the elite only.

To the OP, you really need to personally talk to all of your schools you're interested in, and ask direct questions to find out if they'd accept someone with a 99th pct mcat and 4.0 gpa with a suspension, because that's what you'll need to even be considered. You have to prove somehow that you were young and stupid, and you've learned (assuming you have). Maybe even try to talk to kids to discourage them. See if you can talk to your high school seniors. Prove it.

If they all say no, or imply no, then it's probably not worth your time to take SMP or apply.

Maybe a foreign medical school may be more willing to give you a chance.
 

Jonny Seed

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You are entitled to your views but every academic institution would consider such an act academic dishonesty. Best to try to view things the way they do, not based on your own moral compass. Feeling tempted and making a mistake has never been much of a defense (even dating back to the Garden of Eden).
Good point! Of course it's academic dishonesty. I never said it wasn't.
 

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I really don't think taking a picture of an exam that a prof left on the screen should make you unworthy of being a doctor. I could understand how a student could feel tempted in that situation and make a huge mistake. Especially when you can whip out your phone and take a pic in about 2 seconds. He should get a zero on the test, and maybe even an F in the class.

Hacking or faking an identity is a much more sever way of cheating, and probably should blacklist you for good.

Think about it this way: the student who took a picture of the exam the prof left on the screen wasn't above stooping to underhanded means to get ahead of his peers. They KNEW they weren't supposed to do that, but they conscientiously did the wrong thing anyways. They didn't get a good grade because they worked to earn it, but because they exploited a vulnerability. That person was willing to falsely represent themselves as someone who studied the entirety of the course material and aced the exam, when in reality they only studied the minimum they needed to correctly answer those questions. That person is willing to lie about their academic credentials. That person is lying to you about how hard they worked in medical school. How do you justify that they are just as worthy as their peers to become a physician? How can you say it's OK for them to treat patients whose lives could be at stake?

Medicine is a very serious profession. What you will be prescribing them will affect the livelihood of real people and will have consequences. People are depending on you to be trustworthy, honest, and professional. This is why "small" moral infractions like taking a pic of an exam can be barring. You know that they were capable of such things in the past, maybe they'll try it again, or maybe they've gotten better at hiding it. You'll never be 100% confident in their character again.
 
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Jonny Seed

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Think about it this way: the student who took a picture of the exam the prof left on the screen wasn't above stooping to underhanded means to get ahead of his peers. They KNEW they weren't supposed to do that, but they conscientiously did the wrong thing anyways. They didn't get a good grade because they worked to earn it, but because they exploited a vulnerability. That person was willing to falsely represent themselves as someone who studied the entirety of the course material and aced the exam, when in reality they only studied the minimum they needed to correctly answer those questions. That person is willing to lie about their academic credentials. That person is lying to you about how hard they worked in medical school. How do you justify that they are just as worthy as their peers to become a physician? How can you say it's OK for them to treat patients whose lives could be at stake?

Medicine is a very serious profession. What you will be prescribing them will affect the livelihood of real people and will have consequences. People are depending on you to be trustworthy, honest, and professional. This is why "small" moral infractions like taking a pic of an exam can be barring. You know that they were capable of such things in the past, maybe they'll try it again, or maybe they've gotten better at hiding it. You'll never be 100% confident in their character again.
This is really well said.
 
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Too hard to answer...these cases can be very unique, and our wily old Dean of Admissions might recognize the one I'd give as an example. Most of the time I try to confound him with disinformation.

Yea I know I messed up. But so have you had students who have had similar cases still get admitted?
 
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DrMikeP

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Well what I did kind of falls in the middle of that in my opinion. So pretty much I copied and pasted a conclusion into my word document, but only to use as a frame of reference to finish my paper. I read over the conclusion and wrote my own, but I ended up not even using most of the ideas from that conclusion and forgot to remove the pasted conclusion from my work. So I had two conclusions with different ideas on my document and one of those was copied. I know I shouldn't have done that in the first place. It was more of a laziness thing because it was like 5am and I had been working on it all night and just wanted to finish. I didn't even end up saving time because I ended up just writing my own anyway and it has cost me so much already. I know, it was such a stupid mistake.
But so what do you think? Sounds forgivable, or I would have to do a lot more to earn my forgiveness?
And what school are you associated with if you don't mind me asking?

Do the year plus in the Guard. Return to school and finish your degree and get it removed from your record. Make A's. Then admit the mistake on your application and don't make excuses. Indicate that it was expunged from your academic record after you served your punishment, but you've learned the importance of being open and honest so wanted to disclose it.

This seems like a fairly minor mistake to warrant being suspended over, so I kind of wonder if your edits basically were little more than paraphrasing the copied conclusion and maybe your paper itself came across as being plagiarized. I make no excuses for being skeptical over your explanation, as adcoms will be similarly.

Cheating is viewed horribly for med school applications, so you will have to work really hard to show how you've changed and exhibit remorse then apply broadly and maybe some schools will look beyond it or not.
 
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