I cheated. Academic misconduct. Can I ever go to an MD program?

Status
Not open for further replies.

PremedTastic

New Member
Jun 2, 2020
5
6
1
  1. Pre-Medical
I cheated with a friend on a take-home test (we shared answers). I know most of you will be brutal with me and hate me for cheating... BUT this experience honestly has made me a better person and will continue to for the rest of my life. I have been reflecting so much on the importance of honesty in all aspects of life and to be honest, while this whole thing SUCKS it also feels like a gift from God. Seriously. My school gave me probation until graduation. I know I will be a student that encourages my peers to do positive, honest behaviors and I will be a doctor with integrity. I already have dissuaded peers from making poor decisions since this happened. I am hoping to show that this one mistake does not define me.

I go to a top undergrad school in the US (top 3) and am in a very selective program at my school. I have a 3.8 GPA. I am a sophomore (19 y/o) chemistry major.

I have decided that I want to take some time off before medical school (2-4 years) so I can work, develop new skills, and be an honest professional. I have decided to add a business major and go into finance for 2-4 years before applying to medical school. I may even go get my MBA before medical school. I am 100% dedicated to becoming a doctor, but I want to spend time away from science and medicine and come back with more diverse experience for a better life. I do not care much about when I am finally a doctor, I just want to make sure I can be the best doctor a patient could ever want.

Both MD and DO programs would look at this very similarly, but I am looking to specifically attend an MD program.

My questions:
- do you think any of this would make a difference to MD schools?
- Do you think I still have a chance at going to an MD school if I apply in 2024 or 2026, four to six years after the incident?
- Do you think the fact that I go to a top school might help MD programs feel a little more secure about letting me in (not trying to be annoying with this question, but there is simply no posts on SDN that talk about this).
- Will residency programs ask about undergrad IA?

EDIT:
Please private message me with encouragement/discouragement if you do not want to post publicly but would like to let me know. I would really appreciate all input on this. If you yourself were/are in a similar situation or know someone that was, etc I would love to hear your perspective. Even though the below response is overall negative, feel free to lay more negativity on me in my inbox if you have genuine first-hand knowledge.

2nd Edit: (6/5/20); Please keep commenting your advice if you have an opinion. The more the merrier, even if it is repeating other responses!
 
Last edited:
About the Ads

GreenDuck12

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
2,105
2,266
226
  1. Medical Student
My questions:
- do you think any of this would make a difference to MD schools?

Time between the incident and time of application will help. You’re going to need to demonstrate that you have changed by the time of application. Service to others for a prolonged period is a good start. An MBA isn’t going to help you regarding the IA but if it works into your plans - fine.

- Do you think I still have a chance at going to an MD school if I apply in 2024 or 2026, four to six years after the incident?

Sure, but you’ll be a risky candidate. This profession requires integrity for the safety and well-being being of your patients, your colleagues, and institutions. You now have a documented deficiency in this area due to a very clear cut academic integrity violation (this wasn’t a missed citation or a similar answer on a group project). Think about how you can convince an adcom that you will be honest in the future, that you won’t cut corners or cross the line, that you will report colleagues that do cross the line, etc. You may end up applying with stellar academic credentials but you will remain a risky candidate. Time will help. Service to others where you can demonstrate your character and values will help.

- Do you think the fact that I go to a top school might help MD programs feel a little more secure about letting me in (not trying to be annoying with this question, but there is simply no posts on SDN that talk about this).

Cheating at a high caliber school doesn’t make the infraction any less problematic. An MD/DO program likely won’t be concerned about your academic abilities (provided you continue to do well and perform well on the mcat) but rather about your character. A highly ranked undergraduate degree won’t rectify that.

If you’re asking if the infraction will affect your competitiveness, it will. There are thousands of qualified applicants without IAs on their records. Your task now isn’t to worry about what kind of program you may be admitted to but rather what steps you’re going to have to take to demonstrate integrity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Jun 11, 2010
66,934
2
102,909
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
I specifically said in my post that both MD and DO schools would look at this very similarly, but I want to go to an MD program. I do not think they will look at this differently in severity.
You'te going to gave to own this and explain it. If you can get a LOR from the prof, that will go a long way to help.

Your goal is to get into A medical school now.

Do not screw up again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

KnightDoc

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
6,474
2
7,268
126
  1. Pre-Medical
I cheated with a friend on a take-home test (we shared answers). I know most of you will be brutal with me and hate me for cheating... BUT this experience honestly has made me a better person and will continue to for the rest of my life. I have been reflecting so much on the importance of honesty in all aspects of life and to be honest, while this whole thing SUCKS it also feels like a gift from God. Seriously. My school gave me probation until graduation. I know I will be a student that encourages my peers to do positive, honest behaviors and I will be a doctor with integrity. I already have dissuaded peers from making poor decisions since this happened. I am hoping to show that this one mistake does not define me.

I go to a top undergrad school in the US (top 3) and am in a very selective program at my school. I have a 3.8 GPA. I am a sophomore (19 y/o) chemistry major.

I have decided that I want to take some time off before medical school (2-4 years) so I can work, develop new skills, and be an honest professional. I have decided to add a business major and go into finance for 2-4 years before applying to medical school. I may even go get my MBA before medical school. I am 100% dedicated to becoming a doctor, but I want to spend time away from science and medicine and come back with more diverse experience for a better life. I do not care much about when I am finally a doctor, I just want to make sure I can be the best doctor a patient could ever want.

Both MD and DO programs would look at this very similarly, but I am looking to specifically attend an MD program.

My questions:
- do you think any of this would make a difference to MD schools?
- Do you think I still have a chance at going to an MD school if I apply in 2024 or 2026, four to six years after the incident?
- Do you think the fact that I go to a top school might help MD programs feel a little more secure about letting me in (not trying to be annoying with this question, but there is simply no posts on SDN that talk about this).
- Will residency programs ask about undergrad IA?
I don't know you from a hole in the wall, and really don't hate you and am not trying to be brutal, but, as a premed who does not attend a T3 UG, but has several friends who do, I'm having a hard time buying the "one mistake" thing. I honestly can't imagine anyone performing at the level necessary to be admitted to a T3 without ever cheating, and then waking up one day at a T3 and suddenly deciding it is necessary and a good idea. Assuming I'm not way off base, adcoms will think the same thing. I wonder if @Goro does, and whether he thinks you are "owning it" in your OP. Was this really "one mistake" or just one time you got caught? And might you ever have been caught before and just have no available record to document it?

As others have already posted, a T3 UG is not in any way going to mitigate this for you -- med schools see 50,000 applications per year, many from T3, T5, T10, T-whatever without IAs, and this IA really is the cardinal sin of academics. I'm certainly no expert, but I really believe business schools would be way more forgiving of this than med schools. If you have any interest at all in pursuing that route, why torture yourself with potentially years and years of rehabilitation that might ultimately result in nothing when you can just have a very successful career in business?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

DrStephennmnm

Full Member
Oct 17, 2019
148
299
41
  1. Pre-Medical
To answer your question and be perfectly blunt, hopefully not. As for DO schools, I'm not sure. But yeah you can't really be choosy and say things like "I'm looking to specifically attend an MD school", makes you look very privileged and out of touch with reality. My advice? Go to Caribbean, you'd be a perfect candidate for them
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

HouseJC

If nobody hates you, you're doing something wrong
2+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2019
427
525
116
New Orleans
  1. Medical Student
Yes, it all depends on the perspective of the Admissions Committee person reading your application; their perspective is something you CAN NOT control. However, what is IN YOUR control is to try your best to own up to your mistake (explain why you did it, what you learned from it, how it made you a better person etc).

While cheating is still a cardinal sin, it is still worth a shot applying to DO and MD schools (just know that you are going in with a disadvantage).

I'm not an Adcoms and rather am a pre-med like you. Just my .02.
 

Supahchungus

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2015
291
945
166
  1. Medical Student
You better have a rich family member that can donate a substantial amount of $ to building a new medical library, hospital wing, or surgical simulation center.

In all seriousness though cheating is a cardinal sin in a field that requires upmost honesty. You can still recover and make it into medical school, but you’ll have to work hard to establish a pattern of responsibility and credibility. Like others have mentioned work hard to serve others. Maybe take a gap year after graduation working for an Americorps program? I wouldn’t do business/MBA unless that’s something you’re really interested in. It could be a good back up career if medicine doesn’t work out, but it’s not gonna dismiss your cheating.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
Jun 11, 2010
66,934
2
102,909
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
I don't know you from a hole in the wall, and really don't hate you and am not trying to be brutal, but, as a premed who does not attend a T3 UG, but has several friends who do, I'm having a hard time buying the "one mistake" thing. I honestly can't imagine anyone performing at the level necessary to be admitted to a T3 without ever cheating, and then waking up one day at a T3 and suddenly deciding it is necessary and a good idea. Assuming I'm not way off base, adcoms will think the same thing. I wonder if @Goro does, and whether he thinks you are "owning it" in your OP. Was this really "one mistake" or just one time you got caught? And might you ever have been caught before and just have no available record to document it?

As others have already posted, a T3 UG is not in any way going to mitigate this for you -- med schools see 50,000 applications per year, many from T3, T5, T10, T-whatever without IAs, and this IA really is the cardinal sin of academics. I'm certainly no expert, but I really believe business schools would be way more forgiving of this than med schools. If you have any interest at all in pursuing that route, why torture yourself with potentially years and years of rehabilitation that might ultimately result in nothing when you can just have a very successful career in business?
What may hurt the OP, upon further reflection, is that this wasn't a spontaneous thing, like two people sharing notes in a lab session, or someone panicking during a quiz and pulling out the cell phone.,

Cheating on a take-home test requires more forethought into the act of cheating.

Then there this mindset, which sure is offputting: Do you think the fact that I go to a top school might help MD programs feel a little more secure about letting me in. Why would someone cheated at Harvard make Adcoms and screeners feel more secure?

I'm not prepared ot say that OP's medical career is over, but s/he sure better have a Plan B
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

countdracula4u

New Member
2+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2016
8
7
86
  1. Pre-Medical
S/he is 19 everyone. Let’s not be so hard on them. Everyone makes mistakes. As someone who is applying this cycle and has met a bunch of people on the interview trail, all I want to say is that one mistake doesn’t define who you are. I think the fact that you’ve been reflecting on things and are owning up to it is a great first step. Going forward, now you know what the right choice is and I think this will also help you in other parts of your life as you’ll be more thoughtful/cognizant about your other decisions as well. The premed journey is a long ride—learn from this experience but then move on: you go to a T3 undergrad and sound like you have a lot of amazing plans for the future. Just be kind to yourself and show that same kindness to others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users

PremedTastic

New Member
Jun 2, 2020
5
6
1
  1. Pre-Medical
What may hurt the OP, upon further reflection, is that this wasn't a spontaneous thing, like two people sharing notes in a lab session, or someone panicking during a quiz and pulling out the cell phone.,

Cheating on a take-home test requires more forethought into the act of cheating.

Then there this mindset, which sure is offputting: Do you think the fact that I go to a top school might help MD programs feel a little more secure about letting me in. Why would someone cheated at Harvard make Adcoms and screeners feel more secure?

I'm not prepared ot say that OP's medical career is over, but s/he sure better have a Plan B
I will not go into more details, but this was spontaneous.

Also, that is not my mindset, but something my school alluded to when I discussed IA reporting with them. I wanted to ask the actual experts what they thought.
 
Jun 11, 2010
66,934
2
102,909
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
S/he is 19 everyone. Let’s not be so hard on them. Everyone makes mistakes. As someone who is applying this cycle and has met a bunch of people on the interview trail, all I want to say is that one mistake doesn’t define who you are.

I keep seeing people who commit IAs state the bolded a lot this cycle on SDN.

Noone is saying that a bad decision defines you, nor are we saying that these SDNers are bad people.

But we ARE saying that actions have consequences, and with a surplus of candidates who don't have IAs, med schools can decide who not to admit.

I always point out to my teenage son that we're always one bad decision away from disaster.

So yeah, one bad choice doesn't define you, but it can prevent you from ever being a doctor.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users

Isoval

Year four and still haven't failed out yet, cool.
2+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2017
1,778
2,997
126
Texas
  1. Medical Student
Just my two cents:

This was a huge mistake. It’s hard to evaluate just how huge of a mistake it was. But you appear to know that already.

Right now, you’re dead in the water for ALL medical schools. Honestly, maybe even the money-grubbing Caribbean ones too.

My sincere recommendation is that you finish your degree. You join AmeriCorps or Peace Corps for a year/two years. After, perhaps a few years teaching. Then you finally apply to medical school 4-6 years down the road. If you’re truly interested in finance or business, maybe that’s viable for you...but it obviously won’t have the same impact of committing yourself altruistically to repair your image.

And to everyone else saying “s/he was just 19 and did something dumb”...

19 is old enough to know right from wrong. Even my 10-year-old nephew can tell you lying, cheating, and stealing are wrong. It is not a question about age. If somehow you’ve made it to 19 and don’t know you shouldn’t cheat, then I have no idea what to tell you. OP knew what s/he was doing and did it anyways. Now there are consequences to that action, as deserved. This is not a teaching moment - let me reiterate that OP certainly already knew it was wrong. This is a punitive moment.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users

Seihai

The dog is always the real hero.
2+ Year Member
May 24, 2017
619
1,013
126
You're not in a good place for admission to medical school. Your GPA is going to be called into question with people thinking that this was the one time you got caught and that you cheated to get your GPA in all other respects. Even assuming schools look past the academic record and don't question your academic capabilities, they will absolutely question your character.

Have you seriously considered going into a different career path altogether? Lots of people put medicine on a pedestal because of how competitive it is rather than the intrinsic benefits of becoming a physician. If you want to help people, there's many, many other ways to do it beyond becoming a physician that aren't necessarily as prestigious, but are almost as effective in giving you the ability to take care of others.


If you want anecdotal experience: I have a friend who went to a top undergrad (think along the lines of HSYP). They were caught cheating on a lab report in their freshman year, but got very close to a 3.8 by the end of their graduation (with the F in freshman chem being their only major blemish GPA-wise). They got a fairly good MCAT score (516+) and applied broadly to MD schools (50+ applications) knowing that their IA was going to hold them back. They got one interview, which they received a rejection from.

If you do choose to apply, you need to have many backup plans and don't have your heart set on medicine. If you really want to pursue this path in spite of the difficulty you're going to face, your plan of taking many years and showcasing an improvement in maturity and morals is probably the only realistic way that you'll be able to overcome an academic dishonesty IA.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users
Jun 11, 2010
66,934
2
102,909
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
How do you get caught cheating on a take home test?

Do you just mark all the same answers as your friend and cross your fingers hoping that your professor doesn't notice?
Magic thinking is a real thing, so this would be my guess.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Damson

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2017
812
913
116
On The Move
  1. Medical Student
I keep seeing people who commit IAs state the bolded a lot this cycle on SDN.

Noone is saying that a bad decision defines you, nor are we saying that these SDNers are bad people.

But we ARE saying that actions have consequences, and with a surplus of candidates who don't have IAs, med schools can decide who not to admit.

I always point out to my teenage son that we're always one bad decision away from disaster.

So yeah, one bad choice doesn't define you, but it can prevent you from ever being a doctor.

can i be ur teenage son
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Hopeful101

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Nov 16, 2017
163
168
116
  1. Medical Student
It's funny. I don't think I know a single person who hasn't cheated at some point in college, or maybe more recently than that. Everyone does or has done it, but administrations are completely unforgiving to people who get caught.
 
Jun 11, 2010
66,934
2
102,909
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
It's funny. I don't think I know a single person who hasn't cheated at some point in college, or maybe more recently than that. Everyone does or has done it, but administrations are completely unforgiving to people who get caught.
Beware the sin of solipsism.
 
  • Like
  • Wow
Reactions: 5 users

RJ McReady

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2019
672
1,859
126
It's funny. I don't think I know a single person who hasn't cheated at some point in college, or maybe more recently than that. Everyone does or has done it, but administrations are completely unforgiving to people who get caught.

really?
I’ve never cheated. And I only know a handful of people who have.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

longhaul3

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 29, 2016
1,065
2,097
176
It's hard to say whether you can ever go to an MD program because every school and every reviewer within each school sees applicants differently. I think that in aggregate the likelihood of admission is low enough that you should not plan your life around going to med school. Plan for a different career, whatever interests you, and move this to the back burner (or the -80˚C lab freezer). When you're at an inflection point in your career, bring it back and think about whether you'd still want to do it and what it would take to do so.

Trying to play chess with your 20s in the hopes of convincing one person at one school to take a chance on you is asking for trouble. Most other high-powered careers that graduates of HYP pursue, which may be open to you now, will be closed if you try to play this game and fall back on your butt at 26.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

glee123

Full Member
Sep 3, 2019
58
56
56
  1. Medical Student
I would say higher & mid-tier MD programs are essentially closed off at this point, but lower-tier MD / DO schools should still be possible if your academics are very strong and you have several years of demonstrated altruism (5+ years, after college) to back up the IA. Caribbean MD (which might actually not be a terrible option, depending on your career goals) schools probably wouldn't even care about your IA as long as you could pay (lol), so that door is always open too
 
  • Okay...
Reactions: 1 user

DokterMom

SDN Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 1, 2013
5,423
12,667
226
  1. Non-Student


Selected statistics from the linked article:

  1. 60.8% of polled college students admitted to cheating. The reverse is that close 40% don't cheat. That's a minority, but hardly an insignificant one.
  2. The same poll revealed that 16.5% of them didn't regret it. So 83.5% of them did.
  3. Cheaters have higher GPAs. Oddly enough, the thought that my grades were better (hence my answer was likelier to be right ) than most of my classmates was one of the thoughts that prevented me from cheating.
  4. 95% of cheaters don't get caught. Leading to the prevailing belief that if you got caught once, it wasn't the first and only time you cheated.

@OP, I'm going to suggest the following:
  1. Take a serious and honest look at why you wanted to become a doctor. For many, the prestige factor or financial angles truly are the primary motivations. Know that if you are coming from a tippy top undergrad, you'll be able to secure an equally prestigious and better-paying career in some other field - particularly finance. Imagine yourself racking in the big bucks in investment banking and ask yourself if that doesn't feel every bit as good as your imaginary medical career.
  2. Now take this imaginary Plan B and make it Plan A. Even from HYPSM caliber schools, high-flying careers in finance or tech don't come without effort, so DO put some effort into it. If you still can't get medicine out of your heart, then make medicine your Plan B.
  3. Be sure to take your med school prerequisites, but also know that you'll need extra time to "get the stink off" your IA. You'll also need extra service to others - preferably in ways that are dirty, smelly and profoundly uncomfortable. (No cushy hospital volunteering for you.) This is not punishment; it's redemption. If you're still not "over" medicine, then...
  4. In your application secondary essay, own your IA. Admit to being young and stupid and describe how crushed you were when you realized how your short-sighted stupidity destroyed your future. Explain how you started down another path but just couldn't shake your dream. Then beg for mercy.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
About the Ads

PremedTastic

New Member
Jun 2, 2020
5
6
1
  1. Pre-Medical
@OP, I'm going to suggest the following:
  1. Take a serious and honest look at why you wanted to become a doctor. For many, the prestige factor or financial angles truly are the primary motivations. Know that if you are coming from a tippy top undergrad, you'll be able to secure an equally prestigious and better-paying career in some other field - particularly finance. Imagine your self racking in the big bucks in investment banking and ask yourself if that doesn't feel every bit as good as your imaginary medical career.
  2. Now take this imaginary Plan B and make it Plan A. Even from HYPSM caliber schools, high-flying careers in finance or tech don't come without effort, so DO put some effort into it. If you still can't get medicine out of your heart, then make medicine your Plan B.
  3. Be sure to take your med school prerequisites, but also know that you'll need extra time to "get the stink off" your IA. You'll also need extra service to others - preferably in ways that are dirty, smelly and profoundly uncomfortable. (No cushy hospital volunteering for you.) This is not punishment; it's redemption. If you're still not "over" medicine, then...
  4. In your application secondary essay, own your IA. Admit to being young and stupid and describe how crushed you were when you realized how your short-sighted stupidity destroyed your future. Explain how you started down another path but just couldn't shake your dream. Then beg for mercy.

Thank you for this great advice.
 

PremedTastic

New Member
Jun 2, 2020
5
6
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Trying to play chess with your 20s in the hopes of convincing one person at one school to take a chance on you is asking for trouble. Most other high-powered careers that graduates of HYP pursue, which may be open to you now, will be closed if you try to play this game and fall back on your butt at 26.

Thank you. This is a good perspective to have. I had not thought about it like this.
 
D

deleted804295

It's funny. I don't think I know a single person who hasn't cheated at some point in college, or maybe more recently than that. Everyone does or has done it, but administrations are completely unforgiving to people who get caught.
I never cheated in college. All my peers who did barely managed to graduate college so :shrug:
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Pepe18

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2016
360
623
91
Calling getting caught a gift from God makes it sound like you have long history of cheating and you are only guilty because you got caught. That’s the kind of statement someone with an addiction would say because they could get help once they are caught. Just be aware of how you explain the situation if you do apply

I went to a top 10 undergrad. There are so many great opportunities coming out of those programs and you have time to choose a new major. Set yourself up for a good backup career and decide if medicine would even be worth taking a 4 year gap. My classmates from undergrad were pulling in $150K+/yr since they graduated while I did two gaps years, four year med school, and I still have six years of training before I’m an attending. Sit down and really think about whether it’s worth it to you
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
About the Ads
Status
Not open for further replies.