How would YOU handle this...


First off I wanted to say that this site is amazing. Everyone is very helpful and supportive. I am very motivated but my past is definitely haunting me!

I have a BA in History as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Back in 2003 I was Academically Dismissed from graduate school for plagerism. I copied and pasted an entire paragraph from an online source for one of my 30 page term papers and was caught. It was a very bad decision on my part. The only reason I did this was to leave school earlier than planned because my mother was dying with Ovarian Cancer back home.

I was still able to finish my masters degree at another school in 2007. How would I explain this to Medical School admissions committees? I just feel it is definitely not an accurate indicator of the person I am. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

That is a really tough one. I think one of the first things I would do is to contact an advisor at one of the medical schools in your area, set up an appoitment with them and just explain your situation.

There are people here who will probably know a little more on this than I obviously do. Just in my opinion, I do feel that this is something you can overcome. Keep us posted! By the way, what schools are you looking at going to?

Thanks Maddux. I talked with one advisor who said it was possible to overcome this if I did well with my pre-reqs. I am willing to attend any DO/MD program in the country but my main targets are West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia University and Marshall University. I would like to stay in the tri-state area to practice (WV-KY-OH). I really like rural medicine and would love the chance to help the people in my region. There is a huge shortage of Doctors in this area.

How are you plans going so far?

CONGRATS… I am so glad that you will be able to move past this. I am glad to hear that a mistake from so long ago will not stop you from moving forward. That’s terrific. Good-luck getting started!!

My only suggestion would be to face it and be ready to defend yourself. It’s going to come up on you interviews and it’s up to you to use it to your advantage. You cannot change your past, but you can use it to show how it helped you grow and get to where you are and who you are today.


I second that. The worst thing you could do is try to hide it or lie about it further. The best thing is for you to be the one to bring it up and be straightforward about it and show that you have learned from it and turn a bad situation into a way that it helped you grow as a person, which I’m sure it did.

  • RAdamson Said:
The best thing is for you to be the one to bring it up and be straightforward about it ...

I don't know that "out of the blue" I'd bring this up but there is sure to be a point in the interview process where relating the story of "hard lesson learned" or some such thing, should incorporate your 2003 issue.

As others have said, show how you've learned from the poor decision; state how you've learned about short cuts and paid the price for it, yet have moved on and been successful.

I'm sure most of us, if not all, have something in our backgrounds that we are less than proud to discuss. Certainly, my own background falls into that category. However, the truth always prevails.



Thank you for asking, and I apologize I have not responded sooner…I get busy sometimes, and just glance at the forums. Sometimes missing responses or further questions.

Anyhow, I will answer in a moment. However, I would really seek out a advisor that is completely unrelated to your school and the one you hope to go to. There are “professional” advisors who you can hire to help you on a more personal and “serious” basis. These cost money obviously, but are worth it for some. In your case, I may at least meet with one for a one time consultation to go over any issues you feel you may have, in regards to your plagirism. Just a thought.

As for myself, my plans are really doing well for the time being, and look forwards to the near future. I have a few possibilities on the horizon, that would really be a great oppurtunity for myself…Thank you for asking.

By the way, make sure you keep us posted on your path and endeveours! Best of luck to you!!!

The way I see it, we old premeds are less of a risk for med school and the medical profession overall. We have already made all these major life mistakes. . .all those perfect 4.0 22 year olds are just time bombs waiting to go off!

(Do you think the adcoms will see it that way?)

I didn’t mean to just out of the blue jump right into the interview and confess all your sins!!! I should have clarified that. I am in agreeance with AliJ on there is a point that you can bring it up. I as well have things in my past that are less than spectacular that I am not proud of bringing up but I know that they are there and I have lived through them so I can tell adcoms about them and I will live through that as well.

Wow, thank you guys so much for your advice and input. I have never lied about being academically dismissed from graduate school. The University which I did finish my Masters at knew the entire situation and admitted me anyway. I think it shows that I am a fighter since I was able to still finish the degree at another University instead of just giving up. However, my transcripts nor any other academic records ever showed that I was Academically dismissed. They never made the dismissal part of my academic records. The only way anyone found out about this was through my own honesty…I just hope that being honest in this situation doesn’t come back to get me. Its usually the honest, good people who suffer in this world for some reason!

I can’t remember exactly where, but somewhere in the application process–AMCAS/AOCOMAS online app, I think–you have to list all instances of academic dismissal and their reasons. I think more than a few med schools have a check-off box for this on their secondaries as well.

I’m sorry to say, that mistake is going to haunt you when it comes time to apply. But, as Kasia said, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your growth and development. Make lemonade. Best of luck,