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Plagarising on AMCAS Essay

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by frantic, Dec 6, 2001.

  1. frantic

    frantic Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 19, 2001
    New York City
    I just found that a classmate of mine's AMCAS Essay is a direct replication of the preface in a well known book. It is plagarism at its worse. What should I do? I worked on my essay for 9 months and this really pisses me off. :mad:
     
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  3. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    i wouldn't worry. if it's really a well-known book, then someone on an adcom is bound to notice.
     
  4. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

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    So maybe he/she footnoted it...

    NINE months? Damn..you should get out more...

    You could have have a baby in that amount of time!


    But really, if they decide to lie and cheat on it...that's really just their bad...and how did you find this out? Were you snooping or did he tell ya?
     
  5. PainMan

    PainMan Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    anywhere but here
    Laugh

    Sounds like a good interview question dont you think? Dont sweat it. It isnt cool, but the essay.... Ehh... it isnt that big a deal. It would be rather imbarassing if he gets caught..."Tell me mister smarty pants, how does the rest of your book go"....$1,000 plane ticket down the drain...
     
  6. locitamd

    locitamd Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    What was the book?
     
  7. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    What a schmuck. I hope he gets caught and rejected from all med schools he applied to. But I'm curious, what book was it?
     
  8. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Have you considered writing an anonymous letter to the adcom? Doing so might grease the wheels of justice a bit. On the other hand, an anonymous letter seems kind of cowardly.
     
  9. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    You can't go telling on people all your life unless they transgress against you directly. You'll tire and die before you're done telling on people's moral trangressions. As long as you put the time and effort and you're happy with your Personal Statement everything should be A.O.K.

    I agree plagerizing is wrong .... very wrong but really you can't do much other than have a clear conscious that at least your personal statement is not a reprint of a book.

    Writing an anonymous letter have no value. And yes it's cowardly. If you feel that strongly about it, confront the person and tell him/her that they should consider writing a genuine PS.
     
  10. serpiente

    serpiente Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I would write an anonymous letter to your pre med advisor, if you're really disturbed about this. Your advisor will probably take action and call the ad coms.
     
  11. AceUF78

    AceUF78 Membaaa.... 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think you should do anything. If you worked on your essay for 9 months, I'm sure it's pretty good. And with decent stats, you should get quite a few interviews. As far as ratting on him.... you don't want to be a snitch. He'll probably get caught and embarrased anyways. So just focus on your applications and forget about him, it doesn't affect you much.
     
  12. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    To those who think frantic shouldn't rat the guy out: Why do you feel this way? Note, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I'm wondering if anyone can articulate their reasoning in ethical terms. Simply saying "you'll feel guilty" or "he'll get caught anyway" doesn't seem like a very strong ethical argument.
     
  13. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member 7+ Year Member

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    No one should ever speak up unless anything bad directly affect them?!!?!?!?! As everyoen knows I'm no highbrow moralist, but this is DUMB. REAL DUMB. I'd make a crass joke, but someone would take it far too seriously. Think before you write. --Trek
     
  14. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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  15. Logan

    Logan Member 7+ Year Member

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    I just think that is ridiculous that you spent nine months on your personal statement
     
  16. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    There is nothing unethical about reporting the bastard. If I were the OP, I would write a letter to my school's pre-med committe or advisor. Writing medical schools directly is a touchy issue only because of the potential impact on your own candidacy. I would not feel guilty for a second for "Ratting" - in fact I'd feel pretty good about myself. How many of us want cheaters in med school as our future classmates and eventual colleagues? Also, to some extent, this sort of thing affects all of us DIRECTLY by diminishing the integrity of the admissions process. I'm serious. What's next - if I notice people cheating on boards in medical school am I supposed to keep quiet then too? Come on people - this is not an insular sort of thing - all applicants are affected...and this is to speak nothing of the harm done to society as a result of having unethical doctors practicing medicine. Ok I'm gonna stop writing now...
     
  17. j99

    j99 Member 7+ Year Member

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    If you were at the University of Virginia, you would be bound by the Honor Code to report such a violation. I would seriously consider reporting him--just make sure that you're sure that he did it.
     
  18. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think I read that essay. If I remember it correctly, it went something like: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
     
  19. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member 7+ Year Member

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    If it was that obvious, anyone should be able to pick up the bơok. dicken's 'a tale of two cities'.
     
  20. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    The Great Plains
    "A Tale of Two Cities?" Oh yeah, thats where I heard that before! He was plagarising!!!! :eek:
     
  21. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member 7+ Year Member

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    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so. far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the
    superlative degree of comparison only. - A Tale of Two Cities
     
  22. jdub

    jdub Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    as everyone one knows, there is always another side to the story. is frantic 100% positive that his/her classmate turned in an essay that contained "un-noted" plagarism? anything less than that could really cause an unfortunate incedent.

    with time, dishonor, becomes an even larger burden. if you believe in karma, then you know that it will eventually catch up to this person in one form or another.

    frantic, do what you feel is right, but i suggest that your actions do not revolve around selfish reasons.
     
  23. Ciardeme

    Ciardeme Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Here is a solution: Either send a copy of the book to the ad com of each school he or she applied to, or just write a letter. You have to realize that if this person is going to be unethical at the get go, med school isn't going to turn them around. This potential future MD may be treating your mother, father, child someday. Think about all of the patients that will could potentially be affected by his/her bad decisions. <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
     
  24. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

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    I agree with those who've said that if you're 100% sure, you should report this to someone -- either your pre-med advisor or the adcoms of the schools s/he's applying to. This would be an awesome topic to write about for Pitt's or Duke's ethical dilemma essay!
     
  25. frantic

    frantic Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 19, 2001
    New York City
    Wow, I didn't think this situation would illicit such advice. Thanks. Without going into long details, the answer is yes I am 100% sure. I helped this guy work on his essay. About a month later, I picked up a book that was recommended to me by a friend and the preface read word for word. It was the same as the essay. My point is that I, like most people, took the med school application process very seriously and, with the competition being what it is, the people who have worked hard to get in should and those that cheat there way through the process should get what's coming to them.
     
  26. KyGrlDr2B

    KyGrlDr2B 7+ Year Member

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    It isn't right to tell on people all of the time, I agree with that. But this is something more serious. If this person cheats to get accepted then he/she won't mind cheating on exams. And that just puts patients lives at stake.
     
  27. quake

    quake Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Frantic, I strongly disagree with the suggestion to snitch. Snitching is very cowardly. It seems that the said person is some sort of friend to you (you helped him/her with the essay). I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to confront him/her personally to point out his misdeeds. Being careful to point out to them that there might be dire consequences if some adcom member remembers reading that essay from a book.
    As to the people advocating snitching I am sorry to hear that you guys think that such a cowardly act is honorable. Someday would you prefer to work with a colleague who would call you out on your indescretions or one that would be quick to report any indiscretion on your part to the powers that be?
    For thos insisting that this is not fair I fail to see why. Assume person A's personal statement honestly describes him as a hardworking fellow and person B's dishonest PS describes B as a hardworking fellow. Does B's dishonest PS make A any less industrious than he truly claims to be? Absolutely not. It may well turn out that A's extracurricular activities and recommendation letters would support his PS while B may not have any support for his/her claim to hardwork. Under no circumastance is A slighted.
    I reiterate my stand. Snitching is bad, friends should be friends and not cowards. I suggest to you frantic to be a friend or a neighbor instead of an envious premed. I'm sorry to sound harsh but snitching never ever solved a problem.
    My I cent.
     
  28. Tone2002

    Tone2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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  29. AceUF78

    AceUF78 Membaaa.... 10+ Year Member

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    I strongly agree with Quake, in the suggestion that you should confront him directly instead of going behind his back and reporting him.
    Plus you cannot be a 100% sure that he didn't cite that book (Not unless you were there watching when he hit that "Certify and Submit" button) Maybe he cited it at the last minute..... or went back and did it later and re-certified his application.
    Plus I can understand somebody plagarising another person's essay, but I can't really comprehend how it's possible to plagarize a book's preface (word for word) for one's "Personal" statement ??
     
  30. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

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  31. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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  32. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I'd confront this person directly, and leave nothing unsaid. Just go up to him/her and say "hey bleep hole, I just started reading (insert name of book here)...has a really catchy lead in...ever read it? Because to me it seemed REALLY familiar!"

    The jackass will act all shocked and emabarassed and maybe make a joke. Ha ha. Make sure they know you don't think it's funny. Go ahead, scare the poop out of them. Make them lie awake at night wondering what you will do and who you will tell. I am serious. They deserve it.
     
  33. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

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  34. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    2 things:

    1 - Assuming this person gets accepted somewhere because of his/her cheating, then some other qualified applicant (who deserves it more than this person) will not get in.

    2 - Someone who is going to cheat this obviously is not the kind of person that should become a doctor. We're expected to handle lots of confidential personal information, for example. Would this person be the kind of guy/gal you would trust with this information? I think not.

    I would agree with a bunch of others on here - you should probably turn him/her in. It's not an easy situation, but this person should not become a doctor.
     
  35. jase133

    jase133 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    honestly now,

    how many ACCEPTED applicants are really on the moral high ground? yes, there are those who would never do anything wrong, but bad seeds do slip pass the system. and even those who may appear to be morally righteous can be assholes in disguise.

    heck, med students i know (at my school) are so full of themselves, and i'm sure they are not hesitant to cheat if it gives them an advantage to get into plastic surgery or whatever.

    fact is, this is life. we may care about this issue, but it won't get us anywhere. there, i just wasted 2 mins of my life when i could be studying for my finals... see my point? =)
     
  36. quake

    quake Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Come on Bradonite:
    1. No one is perfect. I am NOT condoning plagiarism but I'm very sure that every person has committed some indescretion or anther during their lifetime that may cause an adcom to think twice b4 sending them an acceptance. The question here is : Is Frantic's friend a victim of a bad judgement call OR does this indiscretion speak to his character.
    2. The person who is not trustworthy is well and truly the snitch. Frantic's friend trusted Frantic with her PS. You are recommending that this trust should be broken. We definitely cannot conclude that Frantic's friend is not trustworthy. He may not be a man of integrity but trust is not the issue here.
     
  37. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A. 10+ Year Member

    "easy way out is not the best way" - line I used in one of my essays, Pritzker maybe? anyway

    difficult: confront the person in the way you deem best
    easy: tell on the person

    as for the 9 months thing, I STARTED mine 10 months before I turned it in, but that's cuz I took the MCAT a year early and had too many anxious thoughts and energy after the test. Went about 5 or 6 months before I looked at first draft again, then slowly built up speed until May when I put lots of time into it.

    later
     
  38. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Hey, I don't think I'm asking too much here. I think it's a very serious thing to do - you're basically cheating on your application.

    I'm not saying all premeds have to be perfect. We're not. But copying a personal statement verbatim from a book is waaay over the line.

    USeF - talking to the guy sounds like a good idea, but what do you do if he ignores you?

    I ask you this - if, in the future when we're all doctors, you knew that another doctor was releasing information about a patient (something that I think is on the similar scale to this), wouldn't you have to turn him in?

    What we're talking about here isn't a little thing, like maybe saying you spent 10 hours on a certain extracirricular when you only spent 2 or 3. This is pretty serious. I think it should be treated that way.
     
  39. Weeble

    Weeble Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I have to agree with brandonite here, nobody's perfect, but this is a big deal. A couple of things.

    1)Plagiarism is BIGTIME. This is not a secret to anyone. It shows incredibly poor judgement to plagiarize an essay word for word.

    2)The more important thing... People plagiarize because writing essays is hard. And it's not like things get any easier when you're a resident on the wards. Someone who's willing to cut corners on some essay is probably willing to cut corners on call at four in the morning as well. That's how patients get killed.
     
  40. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    It is wrong, unethical and immoral to cheat on anything.

    We, as doctors, are going to be faced with ethical decisions when we see that a fellow doctor has done something wrong and we need to ask ourselves, ... What will we do when we know someone has done something unethical and God forbid a patient dies?

    There is nothing wrong with the original poster feeling like he should do something. I worry about those who are willing to say "hey, everyone cheats, who cares and get a life"

    If someone has to cheat on their story about their life and why they want to become a doctor, well... that says a lot about their true intentions. Anyone who is truely dedicated to becoming a doctor would know the words to write because those words can only come from him or her.

    Now, that said, if it is from a well known book, the adcoms aren't stupid and I would dare say almost all of us have read The tale of Two Cities, so his plagarism will be obvious. Let him be judged now before he feels he can cover something up in the future that may affect a patient's life.

    As to all who will say that I shouldn't preach because I am not perfect and I have done things in my past that are wrong, I will answer them right now. I have not, nor would ever cheat or commit plagarism, not now, not ever. I have been in school 3 and1/2 years and in that time I have turned in 3 people for cheating. I am well liked and highly respected at my school, so turning in a few bad apples has not affected the way people think of me and I wouldn't have cared if it did.

    Just my two cents
    Amy
     
  41. leorl

    leorl Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    You know what, that is an extremely well-known passage. I am sure most admission staff, being intelligent people, would recognize that. If your friend indeed plagiarized, he/she is very stupid for picking such a widely read classic to copy.

    I would confront your friend first to make sure you have all your facts straight. Maybe even ask to see the essay again. If he/she did plagiarize, then I would report it and tell him/her that I was doing so. Not because of a morality issue really since no one is perfect. I'm sure everyone's cheated at some point in their lives, just your friend definitely chose the wrong thing to do it with. But I'd report because as someone brought up earlier, if they happen to somehow miss that the essay is straight out of a book, it is very unfair for the other honest people who busted their butts and are trying to compete for a spot.

    But really, I can't imagine that the passage will be unrecognized or missed by many schools.
     
  42. quake

    quake Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think the people advocating snitching have misunderstood us severely. I think cheating is bad but snitching is cowardly. Cowardly doctors would probably be as bad as cheating doctors. I agree with UseF and all others who suggest that the person be confronted. Personal confrontation is a better solution to the PROBLEM of cheating than snitching.
    Also people who feel that someones lie would prevent deserving applicants from getting in should reevaluate themselves well. If the adcoms do not like you for who you say you are...they don't. If they like another person for something he says he is that he isn't, how does that affect you. Who you are is who you are. If the guy had doctored his GPA or MCAT score or written his own rec letters that would be different. But a personal statement....?
    Yes what he did was wrong. Solve it the good way. Frantic was probably not there when he pushed the submit button... Give him the benefit of the doubt until after the confrontation.
    Please keep us updated.
     
  43. charleb32

    charleb32 Member 7+ Year Member

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    This is the most ignorant thread I have seen to date. It shows how truly stressed we are, if he get's in he does, if he doesn't he doesn't. Whether he does or not, doesn't have anything to do with whether you will or not. And if he does I highly doubt his personal statement will have a lot to do with it.
     
  44. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    you could 1. yell at your friend, Mr. Lazyass or 2. not tell him but write a little letter to your pre med advisor who should be very familiar with many medical schools and may know which ones he applied to and let your pre med advisor handle it. BUT i would DO SOMETHING! this is unfair not just to fellow applicants but to the medical schools who think that this is your own work, and to your alumni school because they think that they taught you better. cheating like this just gets worse and worse. imagine what kind of medical student this jerk will make....what kind of doctor he will make! would you want him treating your child? beleive me, letting cheaters cheat makes them more bold and driven to cut corners. i may seem fanatic about it but i spent two years promoting academic integrity on my campus and prosecuting cheaters at formal judiciary hearings and presenting at a conference for academic integrity so am familiar with some of these issues. Typically, plagiarers can be found out because the work they plagiarize has perfect grammer, wording, sentence structure, etc. and the essay does matter to medical schools!!! it can get you an interview at a place that you would never have had a chance. and it is supposed to demonstrate your eloquence, humility, and committment to medicine. But do something, please!
     
  45. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    ???
     
  46. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member 7+ Year Member

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    Shoot...as soon as i get this f**king thesis out I can get back into my regular drinking schedule! This sucks!! Oh well, i'm defending it on wednesday so i'm almost done! --Trek
     
  47. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member 7+ Year Member

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  48. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Would the posters who say snitching is a cowardly thing to do please explain why they think that?

    I firmly believe that sticking up for high morals is the bravest thing we can do.
     
  49. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Turn that puppy in! If he is so bold to plagarise on the AMCAS essay than he would certainly be capable of cheating in medical school and who knows what when he gets out. Seriously, I know on this forum it is somewhat a faux pax to relate every action to their future as a physician but this is legit.
    ADCOMs are pressed to weed people like this out. Everyday, unethical physicians make a bad name for everyone. They end up looking at the original adcom for some clue to the predicting future unsavory, slimy behavior.
    I would suggest notifying the school ANONYMOUSLY!!! You can do that by either a phone call or something, just give them a heads up and where to find the original source. Your "friend" would be none the wiser because he can assume they stumbled on to it themselves. Believe me, he has assumed that risk and is just waiting for it.

    I am seriously concerned for anyone who would say doing this is cowardly. When you get it in, you will see how important high ethical behavior is in medical school and future career.

    For my critics who might they say "If it is so brave why remain anonymous?" Because bravery is not stupidity. By remaining anonymous, you will ensure not to be considered by the same adcom as someone who is "looking" to trim the competion. Sure, some might be impressed but others may question. Don't give them that opportunity.
     
  50. BlueDevil7

    BlueDevil7 Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think a reasonable solution would be to confront the person and verify that they actually plagiarized. If I found out they did, I would tell them that they either need to let schools know about this themselves or I would do it for them. I also would have no problem signing my name to that letter. If your motivation is selfish, in that you're only doing it in the hopes of taking that person's spot, rethink your motivations. I would sign my name to that letter because I would not feel comfortable knowing that I helped let someone extremely dishonest get into medical school. If you explained in the letter that you would not feel comfortable having that person become a physician and why, I would think medical schools should appreciate this information and not hold it against you. I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with this attitude, but someone who will plagiarize something that important will later put their patients' lives in jeopardy.
     
  51. Slingblade the Surgeon

    Slingblade the Surgeon Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Big Black Leather Chair
    Plagiarism smagiarism, these academic whinings sicken me! There are NO original words or combinations of words, so shut up about it. Whiner
    :rolleyes:
     

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