Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:25 am

Hi Everyone,

I'm a Hispanic Female, 3.76gpa, 167 June LSAT (Retaking in October!) and I currently attend Harvard for undergrad (heading into Senior yr)

A little problem I'm facing - I was involved in that "cheating scandal" everyone might have heard about during the school year at Harvard. I helped a friend on some questions that she had trouble with by providing some help that my TF gave me. More than 1/2 the class was involved close to. I don't know how it will affect my T14 chances, but I was put on probation for a semester and the charge was "inappropriate collaboration". Any help on how to address this? I know that everyone in the country has probably heard about it. It was really unfortunate because it was kind of a lethal mixture because the TFs were helping students during OH's and the class had a reputation of 4 easy take homes where you can work on them with classmates (open book, open internet, open note, etc. were the instructions). I'm just so upset that this incident could shut me out of the T14. Any advice?

- Struggling

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Clearly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:43 am

Mexican?

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:49 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Mexican?


Yes - Sorry should have clarified. Mexican American.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Clearly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:58 am

HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Mexican?


Yes - Sorry should have clarified. Mexican American.

Fantastic. As to the cheating scandal, no one is going to have a definitive answer for you, because its kind of unprecedented to be implicated in such a well known situation. Plenty of people have had to writing cheating addenda, but this event got national coverage, and the way many people look at it I think puts you in a better spot than some random kid who got nailed copying work and had to disclose academic dishonesty. That said, academic dishonestly is one of the worst addenda to have to disclose, and I expect it to negatively impact your cycle at SOME schools. The important part is the retake...That you can change, the cheating scandal is out of your hands. Try to bump your GPA a bit too. Lets the chips fall with the cheating scandal. Your numbers are strong, and a good retake will help. Cast a WIDE net when you apply, some schools will care about the event, some won't, but I really doubt you'd be locked out of the T14 entirely as a URM with your numbers.

User avatar
jselson
Posts: 6337
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:51 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby jselson » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:08 am

Maybe you shouldn't have cheated in the first place?

I'm thinking this will hurt more than the URM + Harvard UG boost will help since schools take academic stuff pretty seriously, and this was pretty recent, and you're applying to the same university that punished you, but idk. An app's still worth a shot, but I think you're more likely than not to be rejected from HLS.

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:09 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:
HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Mexican?


Yes - Sorry should have clarified. Mexican American.

Fantastic. As to the cheating scandal, no one is going to have a definitive answer for you, because its kind of unprecedented to be implicated in such a well known situation. Plenty of people have had to writing cheating addenda, but this event got national coverage, and the way many people look at it I think puts you in a better spot than some random kid who got nailed copying work and had to disclose academic dishonesty. That said, academic dishonestly is one of the worst addenda to have to disclose, and I expect it to negatively impact your cycle at SOME schools. The important part is the retake...That you can change, the cheating scandal is out of your hands. Try to bump your GPA a bit too. Lets the chips fall with the cheating scandal. Your numbers are strong, and a good retake will help. Cast a WIDE net when you apply, some schools will care about the event, some won't, but I really doubt you'd be locked out of the T14 entirely as a URM with your numbers.


Thank you soooooo much for this. You're absolutely right. I know the way it was played out in the press was pretty ridiculous and it was only made worse when it was uncovered that Dean Hammonds searched emails of the RD. Other than that stupid incident, I've had a spotless record thus far. The difficulty for me is do I write the typical "I made a mistake, I'm sorry, I learned from it" type of addendum? I feel like this situation might warrant something other than the typical format. Especially because of how much news coverage it received. The class was semi-dysfunctional, and I was given disciplinary probation for helping another student, which even my TF thought we were allowed to do. Somewhere given a year's suspension for turning in full copies of others exams or so. I mean, it really varied and reflected me the structure and how the course was taught, rather than 175 students who decided to take shortcuts. I don't want to sounds like i'm making excuses, but It's such a mess and I just don't know how to approach it in an addendum. Thoughts?

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:13 am

jselson wrote:Maybe you shouldn't have cheated in the first place?

I'm thinking this will hurt more than the URM + Harvard UG boost will help since schools take academic stuff pretty seriously, and this was pretty recent, and you're applying to the same university that punished you, but idk. An app's still worth a shot, but I think you're more likely than not to be rejected from HLS.


I guess I deserved that. As much as the typical "maybe you shouldn't have cheated in the first place" is warranted, I just want to posit that I was not sanctioned for turning in an someone else's answers - just for helping out other students, (in the same OH's my TF facilitated said helping because I had a firm grasp of the material as she put it). Like I said, some people turned in other's answers, some people got help from Tfs etc, I'm wondering if the typical addendum is warranted in such a high profile case.

User avatar
jselson
Posts: 6337
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:51 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby jselson » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:16 am

HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:
HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Mexican?


Yes - Sorry should have clarified. Mexican American.

Fantastic. As to the cheating scandal, no one is going to have a definitive answer for you, because its kind of unprecedented to be implicated in such a well known situation. Plenty of people have had to writing cheating addenda, but this event got national coverage, and the way many people look at it I think puts you in a better spot than some random kid who got nailed copying work and had to disclose academic dishonesty. That said, academic dishonestly is one of the worst addenda to have to disclose, and I expect it to negatively impact your cycle at SOME schools. The important part is the retake...That you can change, the cheating scandal is out of your hands. Try to bump your GPA a bit too. Lets the chips fall with the cheating scandal. Your numbers are strong, and a good retake will help. Cast a WIDE net when you apply, some schools will care about the event, some won't, but I really doubt you'd be locked out of the T14 entirely as a URM with your numbers.


Thank you soooooo much for this. You're absolutely right. I know the way it was played out in the press was pretty ridiculous and it was only made worse when it was uncovered that Dean Hammonds searched emails of the RD. Other than that stupid incident, I've had a spotless record thus far. The difficulty for me is do I write the typical "I made a mistake, I'm sorry, I learned from it" type of addendum? I feel like this situation might warrant something other than the typical format. Especially because of how much news coverage it received. The class was semi-dysfunctional, and I was given disciplinary probation for helping another student, which even my TF thought we were allowed to do. Somewhere given a year's suspension for turning in full copies of others exams or so. I mean, it really varied and reflected me the structure and how the course was taught, rather than 175 students who decided to take shortcuts. I don't want to sounds like i'm making excuses, but It's such a mess and I just don't know how to approach it in an addendum. Thoughts?


Do NOT make excuses for this in your addendum, that is the LAST thing you want to do. You are not a special snowflake. The truth is that an official body of the university you are applying to found you responsible; don't try to litigate it again. The more time you spend doing that in your addendum, the more attention you will draw to it, and the worse you'll look. Just say what you were found guilty of, your punishment, and what you've learned/what actions you've taken to make sure it doesn't happen again. Let the adcomms figure out the severity of the issue, don't try to push them into agreeing with you.

User avatar
ManOfTheMinute
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:54 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:21 am

i'm not sure if you want to try to blaze a new trail in academic dishonesty addenda. While I see the temptation to leverage the national press coverage it received, if I were in your shoes I might just try to play it safe and do a mea culpa (with just a little nod tot he ridiculousness of it)

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:24 am

Got it. Thanks! Everyone! (I hope it doesn't hurt that 3 of the TFs in the class were HLS students.....)

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Clearly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:25 am

Its true. You need to tread carefully in writing this addendum. Accept full responsibility for it, anything less would leave a really immature impression.

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:29 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Its true. You need to tread carefully in writing this addendum. Accept full responsibility for it, anything less would leave a really immature impression.


Care to elaborate on "tread carefully" ?

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Clearly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:32 am

Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:33 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.


Got it. Thanks for the advice!

lats19nys
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:26 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby lats19nys » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:42 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.


yea i mean, to be honest, like he said, just ur tone and the fact that u put cheating scandal in quotation marks in the title suggest to me u really feel like u did nothing wrong. I'm not saying u actually feel this way but if u present urself in that manner i don't think they'll think very long b4 rejecting u.

HYSHopeful2014
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby HYSHopeful2014 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:55 am

lats19nys wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.


yea i mean, to be honest, like he said, just ur tone and the fact that u put cheating scandal in quotation marks in the title suggest to me u really feel like u did nothing wrong. I'm not saying u actually feel this way but if u present urself in that manner i don't think they'll think very long b4 rejecting u.


The reason I put cheating scandal in quotes is because that's how it was referred to in the press. In all honesty, it wasn't a scandal, it was actually a complex working of many isolated incidents. The reason it took Harvard over a semester to come back with decisions regarding everyone is because their were wide ranging infractions, ranging from inappropriate collaboration warranting one semester probation, inappropriate collaboration warranting two semester probation, plagiarism warranting one year suspension, and plagiarism warranting two years suspension. I received 1 semester of probation for inappropriate collaboration.

That being said, I fully understand the severity of the infraction. I was simply wondering how to approach the addendum because it was an infraction that literally the entire country was made privy. Also, there are so many conflicting reports in the press regarding our former dean basically saying it was completely the professor's fault or etc.. I just simply didn't know how to approach an incident that was so well known. But, just as Harvard did, I will give an individual account of what happen as I saw it, note my faults, and show how I learned from them and hopefully the rest of my application will speak for itself.

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby NYstate » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:39 am

Just treat it like any other academic suspension from any other school. I realize this was a huge deal in your life but I don't think the world of academics revolves around it. By that I mean, just simply write an addendum stating you were disciplined for providing improper assistance. Explain that you have learned from this mistake and have otherwise a perfectly clean record.

Rehashing a scandal and your role in it only hurts you. Don't make it a huge story. Just say on [date] I was sanctioned by My undergraduate school for inappropriate collaboration. [Maybe breifly explain in one sentence what you did- I assisted another student with class review ( or whatever it wAs you did)which was a violation of the class honor code. I was placed on academic probation for a semester. I take full responsibility for my actions and have learned from my mistakes. I have no other incidents on my record.

Don't turn this into a soap opera no matter how tempting it is. Everyone who has to write an addendum had a long back story that is important to them because they feel the need to explain. Just like them, you will be making yourself look bad if you go to deeply into the situation.

If the school wants more details, they will ask you.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain
Posts: 4114
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby TheSpanishMain » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:01 am

Just be careful how you word it. Acknowledge a mistake, but maybe phrase it as "I neglected to familiarize myself appropriately with the school's policy on collaborating with other students, as was my responsibility" or something along those lines. It implies that you DID do something wrong, but it was a crime of ignorance, not a deliberate attempt to cheat.

Also, echoing keep it brief. Doubtless the people reading it will already be familiar with the scandal, and will have their own opinions about whether it was or was not blown out of proportion. You probably won't change their mind. I'd go date, a few sentences of explanation in concise, straightforward language, and the resolution. "I was given a formal warning/placed on probation/whatever."

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby NYstate » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:37 am

TheSpanishMain wrote:Just be careful how you word it. Acknowledge a mistake, but maybe phrase it as "I neglected to familiarize myself appropriately with the school's policy on collaborating with other students, as was my responsibility" or something along those lines. It implies that you DID do something wrong, but it was a crime of ignorance, not a deliberate attempt to cheat.

Also, echoing keep it brief. Doubtless the people reading it will already be familiar with the scandal, and will have their own opinions about whether it was or was not blown out of proportion. You probably won't change their mind. I'd go date, a few sentences of explanation in concise, straightforward language, and the resolution. "I was given a formal warning/placed on probation/whatever."


Maybe. I think this comes close to making excuses. Up to OP I guess. I think if she said she was helping someone review under the guidance of TAs ( or whatever it was she did) combined with the fact she only got a semester probation, the schools will understand.

Edit to add: what you have written here sounds like you don't think you did something wrong. Maybe that isn't your intent, but that is the way it sounds.

User avatar
Samara
Posts: 3245
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Samara » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:25 am

HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
lats19nys wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.


yea i mean, to be honest, like he said, just ur tone and the fact that u put cheating scandal in quotation marks in the title suggest to me u really feel like u did nothing wrong. I'm not saying u actually feel this way but if u present urself in that manner i don't think they'll think very long b4 rejecting u.


The reason I put cheating scandal in quotes is because that's how it was referred to in the press. In all honesty, it wasn't a scandal, it was actually a complex working of many isolated incidents. The reason it took Harvard over a semester to come back with decisions regarding everyone is because their were wide ranging infractions, ranging from inappropriate collaboration warranting one semester probation, inappropriate collaboration warranting two semester probation, plagiarism warranting one year suspension, and plagiarism warranting two years suspension. I received 1 semester of probation for inappropriate collaboration.

That being said, I fully understand the severity of the infraction. I was simply wondering how to approach the addendum because it was an infraction that literally the entire country was made privy. Also, there are so many conflicting reports in the press regarding our former dean basically saying it was completely the professor's fault or etc.. I just simply didn't know how to approach an incident that was so well known. But, just as Harvard did, I will give an individual account of what happen as I saw it, note my faults, and show how I learned from them and hopefully the rest of my application will speak for itself.

How does that make it not a cheating scandal? Seems like a very appropriate term to me.

User avatar
nothingtosee
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby nothingtosee » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:43 am

Samara wrote:
HYSHopeful2014 wrote:
lats19nys wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Don't put anything you put in this thread in the addendum. There is a way to acknowledge you didn't know you were in the wrong, and still accept responsibility for putting yourself in that situation. Keep it brief as well, the less you draw attention to it the better. But be very careful implying that you didn't do anything wrong, because after all, this is at odds with the record, that shows you did.


yea i mean, to be honest, like he said, just ur tone and the fact that u put cheating scandal in quotation marks in the title suggest to me u really feel like u did nothing wrong. I'm not saying u actually feel this way but if u present urself in that manner i don't think they'll think very long b4 rejecting u.


The reason I put cheating scandal in quotes is because that's how it was referred to in the press. In all honesty, it wasn't a scandal, it was actually a complex working of many isolated incidents. The reason it took Harvard over a semester to come back with decisions regarding everyone is because their were wide ranging infractions, ranging from inappropriate collaboration warranting one semester probation, inappropriate collaboration warranting two semester probation, plagiarism warranting one year suspension, and plagiarism warranting two years suspension. I received 1 semester of probation for inappropriate collaboration.

That being said, I fully understand the severity of the infraction. I was simply wondering how to approach the addendum because it was an infraction that literally the entire country was made privy. Also, there are so many conflicting reports in the press regarding our former dean basically saying it was completely the professor's fault or etc.. I just simply didn't know how to approach an incident that was so well known. But, just as Harvard did, I will give an individual account of what happen as I saw it, note my faults, and show how I learned from them and hopefully the rest of my application will speak for itself.

How does that make it not a cheating scandal? Seems like a very appropriate term to me.


Plagiarism + inappropriate collaboration= cheating
Wide press coverage = scandal

PRgradBYU
Posts: 1419
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby PRgradBYU » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:01 pm

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Its true. You need to tread carefully in writing this addendum. Accept full responsibility for it, anything less would leave a really immature impression.


This. Use an explanatory -- not "excusatory" -- tone to objectively describe what happened and what you took out of the experience.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby twenty » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:17 pm

If URM cycles are unpredictable, URM cycles with C&F issues are even less predictable.

memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=51843

User avatar
A-Modest-Proposal
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:01 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A-Modest-Proposal » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:43 pm

This is definitely a serious offense and could mean practically an auto-ding at many schools. As a MA, your boost is not as substantial as AA URMs and your numbers aren't at or close to the medians (especially your LSAT).

I would advise NOT applying your senior year. Take a 1, 2 or even 3 years off to work and grow. The distance will make the offense far less of a factor and because there is a real gap in time between the event in question and your application, saying that the person who is applying is not the same person who amassed the infraction will be a lot more compelling.

Either way, you need to retake. But sitting out a cycle of two needs to be a serious consideration if you want Harvard.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Clearly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:03 pm

Also, why is everyone talking about her shot at Harvard..I don't believe she addressed that she is gunning to Harvard... she only specifically referenced a fear of being locked out of t14, which I don't believe is going to happen.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], laowhynot109 and 8 guests