Plagiarized a classmate's essay as a freshman and got caught, am I screwed?

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Latebloomer89

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Plagiarized a classmate's essay as a freshman and got caught, am I screwed?

Postby Latebloomer89 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:35 am

I will keep this short and simple. When I was freshman at a junior college in Southern California I was caught plagiarizing a fellow student's paper, and he and I were disciplined for it. We were told by our professor that we would receive academic warnings, and I was made to rewrite the essay. Almost nine years have passed since I did this, and for the rest of my university career I never once cheated, plagiarized, or did anything remotely unethical or dishonest. I finished my last semester as an undergrad in 2012 in good standing. Because of the time that had passed since my malfeasance I forgot about it until recently. I am currently taking an LSAT prep class, and I plan to take the test in September. I was a foolish and lazy teenager when I was caught cheating (in 2008), and I have changed a lot since then and I am a better man. However, my finishing GPA was nothing to shake a stick at, I graduated with a 3.04. My academic performance was good during my last two years of school (made the dean's list a few times) but was poor when I attended junior college. In spite of my mediocre GPA several of my professors agreed to write letters of rec for me, one even said he'd write me a 'sterling' letter. I want to know if any of you have any advice regarding my chances of getting into law school in light of my academic malfeasance and low GPA. Do I have a chance? I'm not fooling myself about my GPA, but as I stated above I had forgotten about my cheating incident until recently (it was almost a decade ago) and the memory of it now has me feeling leery about applying to law school. In the intervening years I have worked overseas, and done a bit of volunteer work at an elementary school. Please give me any advice that you might have.

cavalier1138

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Re: Plagiarized a classmate's essay as a freshman and got caught, am I screwed?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:46 am

You'll need to write an addendum about the plagiarism. A concise version of what you wrote here is fine ("I did this thing, learned my lesson, never do it again, etc."). Plagiarism can be a bit of a red flag, but an isolated incident from that long ago shouldn't be the thing that keeps you out of law school. Just focus on the LSAT.

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cron1834

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Re: Plagiarized a classmate's essay as a freshman and got caught, am I screwed?

Postby cron1834 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:15 am

Combined with a relatively poor GPA, this will make getting a good LSAT score especially critical. Like, you need to kill it.

With that said, people have been admitted to good schools with worse transgressions.

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yuzu

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Re: Plagiarized a classmate's essay as a freshman and got caught, am I screwed?

Postby yuzu » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:43 pm

Regarding the plagiarism incident, you state "we were told by our professor that we would receive academic warnings." You don't say that you actually did receive academic warnings. I would ask the junior college's records office to see if you were in fact subjected to disciplinary action. Assuming there was no formal discipline, I don't think being allowed to resubmit a paper amounts to a disciplinary action which would have to be disclosed.

If there was formal discipline, you are obligated to disclose it to law schools and to the bar, but it is probably not going to be fatal to your application.

As others have said, you need a good LSAT score.



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