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Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 8:21 pm
by Guy98
I made a mistake at the end of my third year of college. I copied the concluding paragraph of my take home exam from a former friend that had taken the course 2 years earlier. I did it out of fatigue and also because my desktop had turned off 3 minutes before the deadline and the penalty for lateness was crushing, thus If I had written the conclusion on my own my grade on the exam would have been horrible. As a result I used the conclusion of my friend. I got caught and received a zero. Tha majority of the work was mine, which my professor was able to see but it was obvious that the concluding paragraph was taken. It was not placed on my transcript or personal record but it is included in my academic report. Am I still required to report it? I learned from it and never did it again. I graduated Cum laude(3.4), served as Student Body President, spoke at graduation, interned with an international human rights law firm as well as an orphanage in a third world country and finally an NGO. I also interned on Capitiol Hill and the State Department.I have a recommendation letter from the Dean of my school, a former author as well as the chief lawyer of the international law firm I interned with. I also received a176 on the LSAT. Do I still have a chance at getting into Columbia? I come from an immigrant background, and am the first in my family to go to Law School. Is this one time violation that was not even recorded on my transcript but only mentioned in my academic report becauseit was considered a minor offense a deal breaker or is there hope?
Thank you

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 8:35 pm
by cavalier1138
It may not be a dealbreaker, but it's absolutely something you'll have to report when you apply.

When you do report it, just focus on the simplest, shortest explanation of what happened, rather than what you did here. Something like "I plagiarized, it was an error in judgment, it's never happened again, etc." Less like "I plagiarized, but I also founded an orphanage." Accept responsibility for what you did and indicate that you've learned from your mistakes. Don't try to minimize, and you'll probably be fine.

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 9:37 pm
by LSATWiz.com
Guy98 wrote:I made a mistake at the end of my third year of college. I copied the concluding paragraph of my take home exam from a former friend that had taken the course 2 years earlier. I did it out of fatigue and also because my desktop had turned off 3 minutes before the deadline and the penalty for lateness was crushing, thus If I had written the conclusion on my own my grade on the exam would have been horrible. As a result I used the conclusion of my friend. I got caught and received a zero. Tha majority of the work was mine, which my professor was able to see but it was obvious that the concluding paragraph was taken. It was not placed on my transcript or personal record but it is included in my academic report. Am I still required to report it? I learned from it and never did it again. I graduated Cum laude(3.4), served as Student Body President, spoke at graduation, interned with an international human rights law firm as well as an orphanage in a third world country and finally an NGO. I also interned on Capitiol Hill and the State Department.I have a recommendation letter from the Dean of my school, a former author as well as the chief lawyer of the international law firm I interned with. I also received a176 on the LSAT. Do I still have a chance at getting into Columbia? I come from an immigrant background, and am the first in my family to go to Law School. Is this one time violation that was not even recorded on my transcript but only mentioned in my academic report becauseit was considered a minor offense a deal breaker or is there hope?
Thank you

Have to report it - 100% no question. Don't goof around with disclosures, because it will make your life a living hell in 3 years and can ruin your career whereas if you disclose it now, you never need to really worry about it again beyond having to write/briefly speak about it when you apply to the bar. The alternative is potentially not being able to work for a year or longer and having to deal with people assuming you couldn't pass the bar or worse.

My experience and observation with real C&F issues (not dorm infractions or the like) is that schools either reject you because of them outright or they have little/no impact. It's not really like you're dinged 1 or 2 LSAT points, or a T4 won't accept you but a Top 50 will. It's all going to depend on how a particular committee feels about looking past someone with a dishonesty infraction. I'd just mention it was an error in judgment, that you're more responsible now and that you have no other disciplinary actions altogether, much less ones for dishonesty.

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 11:57 am
by tls_toddy
You need to report it and I am sort of wondering how best to phrase it/whether or not you should mention it was just a concluding paragraph, or just state "I plagiarized an assignment." Because if you mention that it was just the concluding paragraph, you're also mentioning that it was a paper, which may look worse than, say, a math worksheet. Idk though. I guess you could start out short and offer for them to contact you if more details are needed.

I'm personally wondering how your friend's concluding paragraph fit for your paper and/or why a concluding paragraph would make or break your grade but that's a class specific question and I guess I'm not here to judge.

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 12:51 pm
by Npret
You have to disclose this.

I would just say what you did very briefly - I plagiarized a friends work on a take home exam and whatever the consequences were. Say that you deeply regret the mistake and that you’ve learned and you will never repeat it. You can also mention that you had no previous infractions.

No one cares why you cheated.

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 12:53 pm
by AJordan
If I remember, the Columbia App requires a Dean's letter for verification of any academic C&F addendum so you may want to meet with the registrar and find out what that's going to say to make sure your statement matches.

Re: Can I still get into Columbia with Honor Violation?

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 3:07 pm
by LSATWiz.com
Npret wrote:You have to disclose this.

I would just say what you did very briefly - I plagiarized a friends work on a take home exam and whatever the consequences were. Say that you deeply regret the mistake and that you’ve learned and you will never repeat it. You can also mention that you had no previous infractions.

No one cares why you cheated.

I second not discussing your motive in cheating. All the reader deduces from that is you cheated because there was a lot to gain by cheating (i.e. good grade vs. poor grade). In law school, the stakes of doing well on exams are much greater because there's a greater link between LS grades and jobs than UG grades and jobs. Unless you did something truly heinous (rape; murder), the primary concern is the likelihood that you'll repeat the act or that you have bad character. Saying you did it because the stakes were high does not make it less likely you'll do it again, because you'll only face higher stakes from here on out.