Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

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scd9999

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Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby scd9999 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:02 am

I will keep this as short and simple as possible: second semester of my sophomore year, I copied an exam answer from the student next to me. My TA saw me and informed the professor. When the professor confronted me, I admitted my guilt and she rightfully informed the office of academic integrity. She failed me for the exam, but since I had never had an academic dishonesty issue before and I admitted guilt, she let me retake the exam for up to 60% credit. I consequently got a B in the class but still managed to get on the Dean's List for that semester. There is record of this academic sanction on my disciplinary record. I have full intentions of disclosing it and know there is no excuse for my actions. It was a terrible one time decision that I have regretted thoroughly ever since then. The shame and the guilt I have from simply committing plagiarism is exponentially worse than the sanctions I faced or even the mark on my record.

My academic record other than that is a non issue. I have a GPA of 3.6 and am scoring low 160s on practice tests (I'll be taking the LSAT in 2 days). My LORs are strong and one is even from a highly respected professor in the legal community. I plan on applying to mostly T2 schools (only one T1 as that's where I'm at for undergrad) to stay close to home and my boyfriend who recently lost his mom to cancer.

I obviously will be writing a C&F adendum on this issue, but even with that, am I totally screwed? I know what I did was 110% wrong and have worked extremely hard on my academics since then to show that I am able to attain excellent grades through totally honest measures. Prior to this I think the only academic trouble I ever got in was for reading a book under my desk while my 3rd grade teacher was giving a lesson. Going to law school has been my dream since I was a kid, and what I did haunts me to this day, especially since it could prevent me from doing what I've always wanted to do.

haus

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby haus » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:43 am

You live in a country that elected a con man who admitted to sexually assaulting women to the office of President of the United States. Being willing to look past people's faults is a fairly common trait. While your past will not likely help you, it seems highly unlikely that it will be an obstacle that you will not be able to overcome.

cavalier1138

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:24 am

As long as you address it with the same attitude you did here, it shouldn't block your admission. Just take responsibility, say you learned your lesson, and indicate that you've never faced academic sanctions since.

Also, just a slightly more personal piece of advice: unless you're planning on marrying your boyfriend, he should not be a factor in deciding where you go to school. This is your entire future, and unless you're sure that future is with him, then make the best decision for yourself and your career.

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circle.the.wagons

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby circle.the.wagons » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:41 am

Am I the only one who read OP and thought that this situation does not sound like plagiarism? I mean this just reads like run-of-the-mill cheating to me... obviously not an acceptable thing to do, but calling it plagiarism makes it seem much worse than it is.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:48 am

circle.the.wagons wrote:Am I the only one who read OP and thought that this situation does not sound like plagiarism? I mean this just reads like run-of-the-mill cheating to me... obviously not an acceptable thing to do, but calling it plagiarism makes it seem much worse than it is.

Run-of-the-mill cheating in this case *is* plagiarism - taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own. There's no requirement that the other person's work be published, and run-of-the-mill cheating is absolutely just as bad as plagiarism (since, in this case at least, it's the same thing).

grades??

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby grades?? » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:50 am

Im gonna go with the opposite advice and say this will likely keep OP out of some schools. I know that a bunch of schools, especially as you get higher up in the rankings, will auto ding people for plagiarism/ blatant cheating. This was blatant cheating, which based on the facts actually sound worse that most plagiarism charges. This was an intentional act to cheat on an exam. I think OP is in for a rude awakening in admissions decisions. But thats just my thought.

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circle.the.wagons

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby circle.the.wagons » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:21 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
circle.the.wagons wrote:Am I the only one who read OP and thought that this situation does not sound like plagiarism? I mean this just reads like run-of-the-mill cheating to me... obviously not an acceptable thing to do, but calling it plagiarism makes it seem much worse than it is.

Run-of-the-mill cheating in this case *is* plagiarism - taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own. There's no requirement that the other person's work be published, and run-of-the-mill cheating is absolutely just as bad as plagiarism (since, in this case at least, it's the same thing).


Well by definition yes, it is plagiarism, but I meant that it seems you could explain this situation without using the word plagiarism. Academic dishonesty is bad, period, but people usually think of copying a published author in an essay without giving due credit when they think of plagiarism, and in my mind that is a step worse than copying on a test (which is still not ok).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:24 am

circle.the.wagons wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
circle.the.wagons wrote:Am I the only one who read OP and thought that this situation does not sound like plagiarism? I mean this just reads like run-of-the-mill cheating to me... obviously not an acceptable thing to do, but calling it plagiarism makes it seem much worse than it is.

Run-of-the-mill cheating in this case *is* plagiarism - taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own. There's no requirement that the other person's work be published, and run-of-the-mill cheating is absolutely just as bad as plagiarism (since, in this case at least, it's the same thing).


Well by definition yes, it is plagiarism, but I meant that it seems you could explain this situation without using the word plagiarism. Academic dishonesty is bad, period, but people usually think of copying a published author in an essay without giving due credit when they think of plagiarism, and in my mind that is a step worse than copying on a test (which is still not ok).

I taught college for 9+ years. Yours is not the accepted definition of plagiarism - copying from other students is absolutely a form of plagiarism, and is seen as equally bad as plagiarizing from a published author. Plagiarism is simply taking someone else's work without giving them credit, in whatever context.

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KissMyAxe

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby KissMyAxe » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:22 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
circle.the.wagons wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
circle.the.wagons wrote:Am I the only one who read OP and thought that this situation does not sound like plagiarism? I mean this just reads like run-of-the-mill cheating to me... obviously not an acceptable thing to do, but calling it plagiarism makes it seem much worse than it is.

Run-of-the-mill cheating in this case *is* plagiarism - taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own. There's no requirement that the other person's work be published, and run-of-the-mill cheating is absolutely just as bad as plagiarism (since, in this case at least, it's the same thing).


Well by definition yes, it is plagiarism, but I meant that it seems you could explain this situation without using the word plagiarism. Academic dishonesty is bad, period, but people usually think of copying a published author in an essay without giving due credit when they think of plagiarism, and in my mind that is a step worse than copying on a test (which is still not ok).

I taught college for 9+ years. Yours is not the accepted definition of plagiarism - copying from other students is absolutely a form of plagiarism, and is seen as equally bad as plagiarizing from a published author. Plagiarism is simply taking someone else's work without giving them credit, in whatever context.


Nony's definitely right here. Dictionary.com: plagiarism- "an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author"

Cheating and copying another student clearly fits the bill. I actually consider this much worse than just forgetting to cite an idea from an author (which is also plagiarism), since this was clearly intentional and also stupid, since it was copying work from a student whose paper/test you know the professor is going to read.

Yeah, I think OP is screwed at a few schools, but I think if they have the numbers, then they can definitely find a decent one to take them, the desire for numbers is just too great. I think a better question is how the bars in the states they want to work in will view this. In my very limited knowledge, it seems a lot of bars have very strong feelings regarding plagiarism and severe academic dishonesty. If it were me, I'd probably talk to a c&f attorney in the state I'd like to practice before I went into debt for law school. I will definitely cede to someone with more experience on that front, like Nony.

scd9999

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Re: Admitting to plagiarism - am I screwed?

Postby scd9999 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:42 pm

Thank you everyone! I know I will get dinged at some schools and that is okay, it's an understandable consequence of my actions. I also plan on talking to a C&F attorney about the issues that will arise when I take the bar. In law school I hope to work with my school on academic integrity platforms and maybe speak to other students (undergrad or law) about my experience and how they can learn from my very grave mistake. What I did was completely and utterly wrong, there's no excuse for it, but I will work my hardest to show it was a one-time serious lapse of judgement and not evidence of an overall deficient character.



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