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Admissions Academic dishonesty as ugrad 5 years ago and grad school admissions

  1. Sep 4, 2011 #1
    So, five years ago, at a pretty prestigious North American univ, I was accused of cheating on a take home exam. I hadn't cheated, but unluckily, I made careless mistakes that were similar to where I was supposed to be cheating from (and this was on a predominantly maths based paper) and so I wasn't able to convince the academic honesty board that I hadn't. Since then, I've left that college (I was on probation, but felt very insecure about it) and started again (in my country there's no concept of transfers) and I have earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from one of my home country's best unis, both with the eqv. of highest honours, and (of course) there's been no more accusation of dishonesty. So if I apply to US grad schools for a PhD, when I have to mention that I have had dishonesty convictions in my past, and in the additional space, should I just say I felt remorseful and didn't do it again, or should I try explaining that I didn't do it?
    I feel like lying would be terrible (and saying I'm remorseful, since I absolutely did not cheat) but it would probably antagonize the grad adcom if I told the truth and didn't accept my guilt, isn't it?
    Sorry it's so long, but all answers would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2011 #2


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    I'm not sure what you should do but lying is not the right thing to do. Trying to explain it will also not really help because I doubt an admissions committee would care (why should they believe you). I suppose all you can say is you were accused, didn't do it, but were unable to convince people you didn't cheat. I bet good recommendations that mention your good character would be helpful in having the committee lean on your side in the matter.
  4. Sep 4, 2011 #3
    When I said lying, I didn't mean that I was not going to disclose the probation. I meant just mentioning the probation and then saying what I've done to improve since then and not saying anything about how I hadn't cheated. (And well, not boasting or anything, but I've managed to have a very good record in supervised exams and done research as well- i can bank on good recs, at least two).
    What I really was trying to ask is, should I actually mention that I was unfairly put on probation, or will that appear to be whiny/ not taking responsibility and count against me? Like, will mentioning the fact that I didn't cheat be worse than saying I did it and saying I've since learnt to be honest etc.?

    Also, do I have any chance of being accepted anywhere? Like, I've heard, I might be immediately thrown out from every where. I was thinking places like Maryland, Michigan, Texas. For Mechanical Engineering.
  5. Sep 4, 2011 #4
    You should explain what you really did or did not do.
  6. Sep 4, 2011 #5
    Has anyone else ever applied to grad school with this kind of situation? Is this an automatic out for most places?
  7. Sep 4, 2011 #6
    I would say 90%.
  8. Sep 4, 2011 #7
    But there are places where the application form does not ask if there were any convictions/suspensions. In that case, since my transcript does not say anything about the incident, should I just neglect to mention it? Or should I put it in the additional info/whatever section?
  9. Sep 4, 2011 #8
    You should report all previous undergraduate and secondary schools that you had attended. Dropping from a U.S. university will surely be a spot on your application that will raise questions.
  10. Sep 4, 2011 #9
    do you think in a case like this, it would be better (if not kicked out of college- but on probation/suspension) to go back after the period of suspension and complete the degree there, rather than transferring elsewhere after rejoining or starting over in another place that doesn't have a transfer opportunity?

    As far as future graduate work is concerned, I mean...
    I mean, on one hand, going elsewhere, like the thread starter did, might be perceived as admisison of guilt outright.
    On the other hand, going elsewhere means univs are more likely to ask for dean's rec from the new uni rather than the one where you got convicted. Is that right?

    (For the record, my case is something like: I turned in a problem set, in full view of several other people, and the TA probably lost it and is now blaming me for not turning it in. And apparently my testimony counted for nothing, and none of the other people who were there could be reliably trusted to recall such a thing as minor as my turning in an assignment. Anyway, so I got suspended for a term.)
    What ought I to do?
    I'm a comp sci major, by the way.
    I'm Aussie/American, so I could go back to Australia for school
  11. Sep 4, 2011 #10
    So, you just registered and thought this is the most interesting thread?
  12. Sep 4, 2011 #11
    Ah no, I googled this thread, and registered because of it.
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