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Author Topic: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?  (Read 7516 times)

greencheese

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Hi,

A professor accused me of plagiarism on a paper, and I was placed on academic probation for my remaining semesters in college thereafter. But no suspension, or any other sanction, and I walked away with a C grade (the only blemish in my otherwise impeccable transcript) from the course. I graduated from a Top 10 Ivy League, and am shooting for all the T14 schools.

How much will this hurt my chances at T14 schools, and do I attach an addendum? (I believe my university will send a letter explaining the violation, anyway, but that's the school's reaction explained and not mine)

(Actually, more than anything, I'm afraid that my pre-law advisor will write about this and it will just get more accentuated than it has to. I've heard nasty rumors about our pre-law advisor.)

Yours thoughts, anyone?

Thanks!

greencheese

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 03:30:54 PM »
To add to the post, I was accused of plagiarizing key sections of a book for a paper. The course required writing papers throughout the semester, using as sources only the 4 or 5 books we were using for that class, and our class notes. As you can imagine, the professor knew the content of all the books like the back of his hand, so I would not have dreamed of plagiarizing, much less getting away with it! So it's a real shame that the professor decided I had plagiarized and took my case to the board. But yes, plagiarism is plagiarism, I was wrong. But how badly will this affect me, I wonder? Is it worth waiting a few years to apply to law schools, at which point the sanction will be taken off my record?


bigs5068

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 03:44:14 PM »
That record will always be there and you will need to report it to the bar, because they will find out. If your bar application does not match your law school application that will not be good.

Just apply and explain what happened, everybody has done something stupid and hope for the best. Mistakes don't go away and you should just be honest & forthcoming about them.

Cicero

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 04:48:06 PM »
You should find out whether it will be expunged after a few years and how your school handles it. When I was in college and was a dumb 18 year old, I was caught drinking on campus and briefly put on conduct probation. After 5 years, the record was expunged. When I applied to LS some schools wanted the information regardless of whether it was expunged and others only said to disclose it if it had not been expunged. When the 5 years were up, my school had completely destroyed the record, took it out of their computer system etc, so when one of the schools wanted a statement from the school, all the school could tell them was that I said something happened, because they didn't even know whether or not anything occurred. So anyway, you should find out what they do, and if you have trouble getting in the first time, maybe you could wait until it is off of your record and apply to more schools. For me, the underage drinking incident didn't affect my applications--I finished school in good standing and it was a dismissed misdemeanor. However, plagiarism is academic misconduct rather  than a conduct violation, so I guess it is possible that it might not ever be expunged, and it will likely be viewed very differently when you apply to LS.

You will need to make sure that you answer the fitness questions as honestly and openly as possible. If you don't, then you can you be kicked out of the program. You will also need to make sure that you disclose it to the Bar when you apply.

(It is possible to get into LS with this sort of thing on your record. We had 1 student my 1st year who was kicked out of an undergrad school for plagiarism. However, it didn't seem like she learned anything from that experience, and many of the people in our section saw her committing honor code violations throughout the year and had to turn her in. The LS I went to for 1L was for profit and didn't do anything about it. I hope you have changed since then. If you haven't, know that your classmates will likely notice if you are cheating, and you absolutely don't want to get a reputation for being a cheater in LS. If you do get that reputation, everyone in your section will know, people in other sections will know, etc. and it will very likely make it harder for you if you ever want to use your LS connections because your classmates will not recommend you when you apply to a firm where they work. Instead, they will likely remember that you are the class cheater and let their boss know. LS is a big competition since grades are determined by how well you do compared to your classmates, and law students do not take kindly to cheating.)

greencheese

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 05:06:15 PM »
Thanks so much for sharing. I checked my school's policy, and the record is destroyed 8 years after the matriculation date--so that would be in a few more years for me. I am really ready to apply to law school this cycle, though, so I don't think I would wait a few more years to apply.

You are right that my academic probation from plagiarism is of a different and more serious nature than what resulted in your disciplinary action. I would hate for this to keep me from T14 schools (I'm a foreigner and unfortunately, my JD will not mean as much at all if I go to a school that is not one of the top schools), and am desperate to know if my record would bar me from admission into the top schools.

My school outright has said that " ... there are some offenses which in many cases, may exclude an applicant from admission: serious plagiarism, cheating, forgery ... " I would like to know if my case is one of "serious plagiarism." As I described, the professor found me guilty of plagiarism, so I take full responsibility. But I did not plagiarize with intent (I am not stupid enough to plagiarize knowingly, that is. And no, I would never plagiarize in law school). In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that if my case were "serious plagiarism," I would have been suspended. I know many students from my school who were suspended for a semester or more for academic dishonesty, so I would like to believe that my case was not as serious.

Should I forget about my chances at the T14?

bigs5068

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 05:42:17 PM »
Just apply I think generally it needs to be pretty bad to be an automatic disqualification a felony with fraud. Serious plagarism who knows what that means, but the best thing to do would be call the school and explain the situation. Almost everybody has done something stupid at some point and if you didn't get expelled or anything I doubt it would be considered serious plagarism, but nobody on this board knows for sure. The best thing to do is call an admissions office and get the answer.

greencheese

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 05:59:23 PM »
Great advice, going straight to the source. Thanks, everyone!

llsatt1

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2010, 07:03:41 PM »
Plagiarism is such an ugly word.  If you copy a couple phrases people act like you burned the Bible or flag.  If you copy paragraphs OTOH then I think you deserve to be burned.

Morten Lund

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 09:07:50 PM »
That record will always be there and you will need to report it to the bar


This is an important point that was passed by.  Getting into law school is one thing - getting admitted to the bar is another thing entirely.  States vary, but all states undertake some degree of background investigation.

If you admit to being accused of plagiarism, it will cause a problem for your admission.  If you do not mention this on your bar application, and the records have been deleted at your college, the bar may never find out, but it they do - at ANY point of your ENTIRE professional career - you will face some very serious sanctions.  Those bar admission folks don't have a sense of humor, and they don't like being lied to.


llsatt1

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Re: How much will plagiarism, academic probation hurt my chances at T14?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 09:12:14 PM »
That record will always be there and you will need to report it to the bar


This is an important point that was passed by.  Getting into law school is one thing - getting admitted to the bar is another thing entirely.  States vary, but all states undertake some degree of background investigation.

If you admit to being accused of plagiarism, it will cause a problem for your admission.  If you do not mention this on your bar application, and the records have been deleted at your college, the bar may never find out, but it they do - at ANY point of your ENTIRE professional career - you will face some very serious sanctions.  Those bar admission folks don't have a sense of humor, and they don't like being lied to.

What other personal questions does the Bar ask of you besides plagiarism and criminal charges?