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wannabeelawstudent

academic misconduct

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So..I'll just start from the top.

I was enrolled in a 2 year diploma at NAIT (Technical institute) my first semester there I was found guilty of academic misconduct, basically submitted the same assignment as another student (not trying to deny I was guilty) in my last semester of the 2 year diploma I was found guilty for the same thing.

The first time I just got a letter on my file and an F on the assignment but the second time I was suspended from the institution for a year and received all F's for that semester on my transcript. This happen in 2014.

After that year I enrolled at UofA in a sociology diploma and worked really hard to get a 3.8 (in my last 2 yrs) my cgpa is around 3.2 and an lsat score of 166.

I have really good extracurriculars/volunteer experience in the community as well as references -I'm wanting to apply to the university of calgary and university of alberta faculty of law.       

I know in most law school apps it asks you about your history with academic dishonesty and i guess what i'm asking is all things considered do i have even the slightest chance?

PS guys i'm asking for honest advice PLEASE don't make me feel bad i feel really shitty about what i've done and can honestly say i'm a different person since then and have worked really hard in my undergrad. I've overcome a lot of hardships and personal situations these past few years that have also contributed to that growth (gave birth to my son in my fourth year while attending full time classes and have learned a lot about responsibility!)

Edited by wannabeelawstudent

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2 hours ago, wannabeelawstudent said:

So..I'll just start from the top.

I was enrolled in a 2 year diploma at NAIT (Technical institute) my first semester there I was found guilty of academic misconduct, basically submitted the same assignment as another student (not trying to deny I was guilty) in my last semester of the 2 year diploma I was found guilty for the same thing.

The first time I just got a letter on my file and an F on the assignment but the second time I was suspended from the institution for a year and received all F's for that semester on my transcript. This happen in 2014.

After that year I enrolled at UofA in a sociology diploma and worked really hard to get a 3.8 (in my last 2 yrs) my cgpa is around 3.2 and an lsat score of 166.

I have really good extracurriculars/volunteer experience in the community as well as references -I'm wanting to apply to the university of calgary and university of alberta faculty of law.       

I know in most law school apps it asks you about your history with academic dishonesty and i guess what i'm asking is all things considered do i have even the slightest chance?

PS guys i'm asking for honest advice PLEASE don't make me feel bad i feel really shitty about what i've done and can honestly say i'm a different person since then and have worked really hard in my undergrad. I've overcome a lot of hardships and personal situations these past few years that have also contributed to that growth (gave birth to my son in my fourth year while attending full time classes and have learned a lot about responsibility!)

No one would be able to answer whether you have any chances at Canadian law schools or not.

If you really reflect on your issues of academic misconduct and you are indeed serous about going to law schools, I would like to say that your personal statements may need to talk about your academic misconduct in the past and discuss how you personally or academically have grown by dealing with these wrongdoings.

Good luck!  

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Look, there is only one wrong question to ask about academic misconduct - and it's been asked here many times in the past. Do you really need to disclosure it? The answer is yes. Any time you are asked a direct question about this, you need to answer truthfully. Note that you'll also be asked when you apply to be licensed as a lawyer, assuming you get that far. Now kudos for the fact that you haven't asked that question, because when people do ask it often reveals a mindset that's not entirely in line with legal culture. But beyond answering this question which you haven't asked, no one here can comment definitively at all.

I'm mainly answering to provide this context. I'm a criminal defence lawyer. And I'm frequently asked some variation of this question by clients - "will my past mistake stop me from doing X?" Again, it isn't often I have a definitive answer. But I've observed that many people who aren't defence lawyers like to get self-righteous when addressing this topic. It's human nature (though not the best part of human nature) to enjoy seeing other people suffer from mistakes that we ourselves have avoided. The Greeks understood this. And so in answer to an unanswerable question - how much will schools, the law society, etc. choose to care about this - it's likely you are going to get a lot of extreme replies that suggest you've permanently fucked your life. That doesn't make it true.

I will observe that law schools have admitted students in the past who have been convicted of serious crimes, and so have law societies. Your individual situation is unique and I won't presume to suggest what will happen. But be honest in reply to any direct question - that's your obligation. How you choose to frame your experiences, or if you choose to highlight them at all beyond this, is entirely your choice. Don't lie about the past, because when you do that it creates new offences of dishonesty. But you also have no obligation to inhabit the identity full-time, as though you are permanently defined by your past. You're entitled to move on. And don't let anyone else imply otherwise.

Good luck.

Edited by Diplock
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It may or it may not affect your application. In my opinion, a lot would depend on what you say in your personal statement about it. It's obviously on your transcript, so you must address it, otherwise I would almost certainly assume you'll be turned down. I think if you can point to how you've grown since, express remorse for your past behaviour, show that you've completed an entire program without any incidents and decent marks, and finally highlight that you would never resort to academic misconduct again, then I think you have a reasonable chance to have your application decided not on the misconduct but on the traditional application criteria.

So, academic misconduct is not a death sentence to going to law school. As Diplock points out, law schools have admitted people with far more controversial histories. But a lot hinges on your honesty and your ability to show you have grown past your mistakes. If you succeed in getting admitted to law school, you'll likely have to go through the same process with the Law Society when you apply for your license, so be prepared. But we all make mistakes, so I can't imagine this being a hard bar provided that you've stopped the behaviour and enough time has passed to show you've sufficiently grown.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out that you refer to the program at U of A as a "diploma". I assume you actually mean degree and this is just a language choice. For clarity, I point this out because universities do offer diploma programs, which are not bachelor's degrees (though I don't know of any that are four years), and to qualify for law school you have to have an undergraduate degree or (usually) three years of university credits.

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9 hours ago, Diplock said:

Look, there is only one wrong question to ask about academic misconduct - and it's been asked here many times in the past. Do you really need to disclosure it? The answer is yes. Any time you are asked a direct question about this, you need to answer truthfully. Note that you'll also be asked when you apply to be licensed as a lawyer, assuming you get that far. Now kudos for the fact that you haven't asked that question, because when people do ask it often reveals a mindset that's not entirely in line with legal culture. But beyond answering this question which you haven't asked, no one here can comment definitively at all.

I'm mainly answering to provide this context. I'm a criminal defence lawyer. And I'm frequently asked some variation of this question by clients - "will my past mistake stop me from doing X?" Again, it isn't often I have a definitive answer. But I've observed that many people who aren't defence lawyers like to get self-righteous when addressing this topic. It's human nature (though not the best part of human nature) to enjoy seeing other people suffer from mistakes that we ourselves have avoided. The Greeks understood this. And so in answer to an unanswerable question - how much will schools, the law society, etc. choose to care about this - it's likely you are going to get a lot of extreme replies that suggest you've permanently fucked your life. That doesn't make it true.

I will observe that law schools have admitted students in the past who have been convicted of serious crimes, and so have law societies. Your individual situation is unique and I won't presume to suggest what will happen. But be honest in reply to any direct question - that's your obligation. How you choose to frame your experiences, or if you choose to highlight them at all beyond this, is entirely your choice. Don't lie about the past, because when you do that it creates new offences of dishonesty. But you also have no obligation to inhabit the identity full-time, as though you are permanently defined by your past. You're entitled to move on. And don't let anyone else imply otherwise.

Good luck.

Thank you so much for your response! you have no idea how helpful this was.

I should have mentioned this in the OP but i am planning on being completely honest and forthcoming about the situation, as i've learned from my past experience dishonesty in any form eventually catches up to you. I'm planning on explaining the situations both times as they happen and admitting guilt. It was a stupid mistake i made when i was young and should have known better but can honestly say I have learned a lesson for life!

I have completed my undergrad without even the slightest dishonesty and accomplished a lot since then, which I hope they can take into consideration. My question now is whether it's necessary i go into detail about the incidents? I'm going to take full responsibility for the mistakes and admit I was guilty, but I just don't know if explaining the situations in detail is completely necessary when I'm already accepting fault. (and honestly i don't even remember the details all that well anymore and don't want to say anything that might not be completely accurate.)

I would really appreciate your input. thank you!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ryn said:

It may or it may not affect your application. In my opinion, a lot would depend on what you say in your personal statement about it. It's obviously on your transcript, so you must address it, otherwise I would almost certainly assume you'll be turned down. I think if you can point to how you've grown since, express remorse for your past behaviour, show that you've completed an entire program without any incidents and decent marks, and finally highlight that you would never resort to academic misconduct again, then I think you have a reasonable chance to have your application decided not on the misconduct but on the traditional application criteria.

So, academic misconduct is not a death sentence to going to law school. As Diplock points out, law schools have admitted people with far more controversial histories. But a lot hinges on your honesty and your ability to show you have grown past your mistakes. If you succeed in getting admitted to law school, you'll likely have to go through the same process with the Law Society when you apply for your license, so be prepared. But we all make mistakes, so I can't imagine this being a hard bar provided that you've stopped the behaviour and enough time has passed to show you've sufficiently grown.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out that you refer to the program at U of A as a "diploma". I assume you actually mean degree and this is just a language choice. For clarity, I point this out because universities do offer diploma programs, which are not bachelor's degrees (though I don't know of any that are four years), and to qualify for law school you have to have an undergraduate degree or (usually) three years of university credits.

Yes, I am planning on being completely honest in my application about my history with academic dishonesty and taking full responsibility for it. I can honestly say I've learned a lesson for life and yes I regret but it has definitely taught me a lesson for life, one i've implemented in the past four years of my undergrad.

And yes sorry about the typo! I did mean degree and not diploma, I've now completed a four year degree at UofA.

Also, i am planning on taking full responsibility for the misconduct as I've asked above, i'm just not sure if it's necessary to go into detail about the incidents? I honestly don't even remember the details and don't want to say anything that may not be completely accurate.

I would appreciate any sort of input, thank you.

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10 hours ago, ArchivesandMuseums said:

No one would be able to answer whether you have any chances at Canadian law schools or not.

If you really reflect on your issues of academic misconduct and you are indeed serous about going to law schools, I would like to say that your personal statements may need to talk about your academic misconduct in the past and discuss how you personally or academically have grown by dealing with these wrongdoings.

Good luck!  

Yes, i am planning on taking full responsibility and addressing as well as admitting guilty to both instances, however I'm not sure if it would be completely necessary to go into detail about the incidents? It's been a long time since then and i honestly don't even remember the details and don't want to say anything that may not be completely accurate. So what i'm asking is, as long as i'm admitting guilt and explaining that i've learned from it do i have to explain both incidents?

Once again i really appreciate the input from everyone, it has been extremely helpful. A lot of the time people enjoy dwelling on other peoples mistakes and giving you a type of life sentence --often they want you to accept this sentence but I refuse to since I know i HAVE grown from my mistakes. So seeing non-judgemental responses is honestly really refreshing. Thank you guys! 

Edited by wannabeelawstudent

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37 minutes ago, wannabeelawstudent said:

i'm just not sure if it's necessary to go into detail about the incidents? I honestly don't even remember the details and don't want to say anything that may not be completely accurate.

I don't know if you have to go super in-depth. But it makes sense to address it. I won't give you an example of what to write, because I think you should make your own decision on how you want to go about doing it, but I think a good answer would be: (1) acknowledge that there was misconduct; (2) express remorse for having engaged in it; (3) explain (briefly) why you understand academic misconduct to be bad and why your behaviour was rightly condemned; and (4) explain that you have learned your lesson and have not and will not engage in misconduct. I would also highlight that it was some time ago.

This may take up a nice chunk of your PS allowance, but in my opinion it's worth it. That said, I don't think you need to spend a huge number of characters talking about it in the face of all the other stuff that you have accomplished. That is, after all, why you are applying to law school and where you can explain (outside of the misconduct) why you are a good fit for the class and convince the adcom to admit you. But there is value in being thorough enough to convey the above to the adcom, so you have to figure out what an appropriate balance would be.

Edited by Ryn
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19 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I don't know if you have to go super in-depth. But it makes sense to address it. I won't give you an example of what to write, because I think you should make your own decision on how you want to go about doing it, but I think a good answer would be: (1) acknowledge that there was misconduct; (2) express remorse for having engaged in it; (3) explain (briefly) why you understand academic misconduct to be bad and why your behaviour was rightly condemned; and (4) explain that you have learned your lesson and have not and will not engage in misconduct. I would also highlight that it was some time ago.

This may take up a nice chunk of your PS allowance, but in my opinion it's worth it. That said, I don't think you need to spend a huge number of characters talking about it in the face of all the other stuff that you have accomplished. That is, after all, why you are applying to law school and where you can explain (outside of the misconduct) why you are a good fit for the class and convince the adcom to admit you. But there is value in being thorough enough to convey the above to the adcom, so you have to figure out what an appropriate balance would be.

Thank you so much,

this was extremely helpful!

Once again I really appreciate the non-judgmental responses. 

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I have a related question, what if you have done academic misconduct, but it was a warning? transcript clean, since it was the first offence and I'm pretty sure universities would not know about it. do you tell schools about it? 

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1 hour ago, Ryn said:

I don't know if you have to go super in-depth. But it makes sense to address it. I won't give you an example of what to write, because I think you should make your own decision on how you want to go about doing it, but I think a good answer would be: (1) acknowledge that there was misconduct; (2) express remorse for having engaged in it; (3) explain (briefly) why you understand academic misconduct to be bad and why your behaviour was rightly condemned; and (4) explain that you have learned your lesson and have not and will not engage in misconduct. I would also highlight that it was some time ago.

 

1 hour ago, wannabeelawstudent said:

Once again i really appreciate the input from everyone, it has been extremely helpful. A lot of the time people enjoy dwelling on other peoples mistakes and giving you a type of life sentence --often they want you to accept this sentence but I refuse to since I know i HAVE grown from my mistakes. So seeing non-judgemental responses is honestly really refreshing. Thank you guys! 

I would definitely advise emphasizing why and how you have learned your lesson from this, OP. Not to be harsh, but the fact that you did the same thing twice, even after being caught and disciplined, will likely be concerning. It implies that you do not learn from your errors, which is probably why people are inclined to "give you a type of life sentence", as you put it. I'm not saying that you haven't changed as a person, but you definitely will want to lay out exactly how you have changed.

Also, as Diplock commented, this will come up again (and possibly in a more inquisitorial fashion) when you apply to your law society to become an articled student. Now is the time to decide how you will discuss it.

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27 minutes ago, jatthopefullawyer said:

I have a related question, what if you have done academic misconduct, but it was a warning? transcript clean, since it was the first offence and I'm pretty sure universities would not know about it. do you tell schools about it? 

I would read carefully the question being asked on the application and answer it truthfully.

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Thanks for the reply Ryn. So does this mean I do not have to worry for Ontario schools? they do not ask about academic plagiarism and my transcript is clean, so do I have anything to worry about? the dean for my school stated a first-time does not affect grad apps and schools would not know 

Edited by jatthopefullawyer

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5 minutes ago, jatthopefullawyer said:

they do not ask about academic plagiarism and my transcript is clean, so do I have anything to worry about?

I can't answer this question. Ontario schools certainly do ask about academic misconduct. I recall seeing the question when I applied years ago, so unless they changed something, which I don't see as something they would likely do, it should still be there.

How the question is worded is important. So I would reiterate what I said, which is to read it carefully and answer it truthfully. I won't speculate on what your answer should be, given the question. That's for you to decide.

I'll add that plagiarism is definitely in the realm of academic misconduct so when reading the question, depending on what it asks, you should keep that in mind.

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Thank you for the detailed response. I know the bar asks for academic integrity down the road, and I will definitely be honest there to show my good character, but I don't see anything on my Ontario law school application for all schools about plagiarism. I am finishing up the personal statements and have not been asked about plagiarism at all. did anyone applying this year for Ontario get asked about plagiarism? 

 

Another question I have- does one plagiarism incident in undergrad prevent someone from entering the bar? this is assuming they have graduated law school and they are honest and show how they have changed from their mistake. 

Edited by jatthopefullawyer

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1 hour ago, ZappBranniganAgain said:

 

I would definitely advise emphasizing why and how you have learned your lesson from this, OP. Not to be harsh, but the fact that you did the same thing twice, even after being caught and disciplined, will likely be concerning. It implies that you do not learn from your errors, which is probably why people are inclined to "give you a type of life sentence", as you put it. I'm not saying that you haven't changed as a person, but you definitely will want to lay out exactly how you have changed.

Also, as Diplock commented, this will come up again (and possibly in a more inquisitorial fashion) when you apply to your law society to become an articled student. Now is the time to decide how you will discuss it.

yes, i do understand that will be another red flag. I just don't want to let mistakes i've made early on that I have genuinely learned from determine the rest of my future, so if there is a chance I can prove how I have learned from these mistakes I'd like to give it at least a shot.

Once again i really appreciate the input and honesty. 

Thank you.

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Set up a meeting with an admissions officer at U of A law school and tell them what happened and ask for advice. Then apply there, disclose again, and hope for the best. U of A undergrad accepted you, despite your academic misconduct, so your best bet might be to apply there again at the law school.

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