am I SUPER screwed?

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ghana_rules
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am I SUPER screwed?

Postby ghana_rules » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:35 pm

................................................
Last edited by ghana_rules on Mon May 30, 2011 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:45 pm

I don't know that it would instantly disqualify you, but you'd better come up with one hell of a story to explain it. Don't ask this guy for a letter, either.

nathan12343
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby nathan12343 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:46 pm

It certainly won't help you...

Can you retake the class?

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PhysicsPdx
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby PhysicsPdx » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:05 pm

I would be more concerned that you knowingly plagiarized. Would you be feeling this sorry that you did something that stupid if you hadn't been caught? This discredits all of the A's you have received, and you can believe that word will spread around the department among the professors. If I were a faculty member, there is no way I would ever write a letter on your behalf.

And, I hope you use this as a learning experience, take a good look at yourself and your academic practices, and don't ever EVER do anything like that again.

Good luck.

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naseermk
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby naseermk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:08 pm

The best way to mitigate this would be to write in your SOP what you've learned from this experience. Everyone makes mistakes, so, as long as you can convince a school that you've sincerely grown from this 'dark' experience you should be fine.

If you hide it, tell another story and it so happens that your grad. school finds out (hypothetical scenario) you might end up with 6 years of grad. school down the drain i.e. a canceled degree.

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dlenmn
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:31 pm

You have a great future ahead of you in the field of finance...

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:41 pm

... which in many ways may actually be better than physics.

SamBam77
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby SamBam77 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:16 pm

PhysicsPdx wrote:I would be more concerned that you knowingly plagiarized.

I agree. I think the larger issue here is the plagiarism, not the one F on your otherwise stellar transcript.
quizivex wrote:[…]If anyone here went through their whole undergrad experience without doing anything that was against some official rule, please announce yourself right now so we can shower you with lovely praise.

Plagiarism (specifically this kind of blatant plagiarism, as opposed to merely messing up citations) is not some minor technical offense hidden in the back pages of the official rule book.
quizivex wrote:As for ghana, I have two suggestions.
1) If none of your (physics) profs and potential recommmenders know about this incident, consider mentioning on your SOP that you simply slept through your alarm on the day of the final and the prof couldn't offer you a retest because he left for his home country the next day. End the statement with a funny comment that you learned from the experience by setting two alarms every night.

I defiantly would not advise compounding matters by outright lying about what happened. If you choose not to volunteer information is one thing, but to make up a fictitious story about the incident will ruin your career if you are ever found out.

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dlenmn
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:12 am

Quiz's advice may be the best way to get out of this situation using the same techniques that got ghana_rules in to this mess -- obviously there are risks there, but offering this advice without knowing the whole story seems to be condoning plagiarism as a whole (since we don't know the extent of the offense). When once sentence says that ghana_rules cheated to get an A, and a few lines later another says ghana_rules got all 'A's, you've got to wonder if we know the whole story. If this incident was really just an isolated moment of weakness that will not happen again, then perhaps giving such advice could be justified since a charge of plagiarism is hard to overcome in academia. Like SamBam77 said, this is not the same as breaking some minor college rule (yes, I used tape rather than thumbtacks to hang posters on my wall. Whoop-de-do). Surely, there are many of us who never intentionally plagiarized another person's work (unintentional plagiarism being, for example, to forget a citation. I wouldn't count things like working as a group on homework as plagiarism either -- my professors encouraged that, so it is not against the rules. I'd count simply copying someone else's homework as plagiarism).

One way or another, you'll need to address the F in your SOP. I think the best thing to do is to say what you did and that you are repentant (which it seems like you are -- although I can see how your phrasing could be interpreted otherwise). Will it keep you out of some of the top programs? Quite possibly. That's the price you pay -- your drive to get in to such a program led you to betray their standards and subvert your own goals. Will it prevent you from getting in anywhere? I doubt it. Getting those grades means something good, and I'd bet many decent programs would be glad to take you -- they know that people make mistakes and can recover from them. Where you go from there is up to you.

EDIT: Perhaps some of the profs on this forum will weigh in. Have they seen similar cases before?
Last edited by dlenmn on Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:27 am

Mike, oh Mike, you should be ashamed of yourself. Go visit a Temple.

Fritz "I See Dead Cheaters" Zwicky
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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:20 pm

quizivex's advice is probably nothing he hasn't already considered. If you want to get in, definitely do not say what you did even if you learned from it. Think about it. There have been recent threads where it has been shown that professors will discard your application if they think you took too many music classes -- how do you think they'll react to this? So lie if you want to get it, but know that getting caught again will almost certainly bar you from academia.

admissionprof
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby admissionprof » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:49 pm

dlenmn wrote:EDIT: Perhaps some of the profs on this forum will weigh in. Have they seen similar cases before?


I have seen one such case before, but will give no details. I can say that if I saw mostly A's and an F, I would definitely investigate. GPA is completely irrelevant--a 3.82 with A's and an occasional B is no big deal, but a 3.82 with all A's and one F is a very big deal that is worth investigating. I would call the department, and possibly even call the professor involved (and yes, we know how to find out who that is).

If you lie about the reason (saying that you overslept the final, for example), it is likely that we will find out and I can assure you that the word will spread to other programs. Lying on an application is the absolute worst thing you can do, is grounds for immediate expulsion if caught (and even revocation of the degree if caught much later). It is also fair game to mention to other programs if someone is caught lying--and I would not hesitate to do so. NEVER, EVER LIE on an application. It can be, and should be, a career-ending stupidity. You are asking someone to give you around $150,000 for the next few years, and you're going to lie in order to increase your chances?


If I saw the F, my first step would be to email the student and ask what happened. If I didn't believe the answer, I'd try to call the prof. If the student completely confessed, was very contrite, recognized the seriousness of their actions, then we might still accept them (it'd be a negative, but most people have some negatives). But I suspect a top ten school is out.

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G01
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby G01 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:03 pm

You are going to need to explain the F. Do not lie about the plagiarism. It is too risky. I think your best bet is to explain what happened and try to convince the admissions committee that you learned from the experience, and will never, ever do something like that again. You are, of course, taking a risk bringing up the situation in your statement, but doing so will show integrity and maturity.

I think you do have a chance, but who knows if the admissions committee will agree with me. In the end, you may have to accept the consequences of your choice to plagiarize.

Still, don't lie about the incident. Plagiarism is a form of lying and is what got you into this mess. If plagiarizing alone did not end your academic career, lying about the plagiarism and being caught most certainly will.

abeboparebop
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby abeboparebop » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:50 pm

I'm glad to hear your take, admissionsprof.

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quizivex
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby quizivex » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:02 pm

So in summary I think you have 4 choices:

1) Admit your mistake in all sincerity. In this case you're 100% screwed, as confirmed by several opinions on this forum including an admission chair. Maybe a few individuals would forgive you, but in a very unforgiving world, the chances of an entire committee (at one of your reach schools) agreeing to take you is small. They have so many strong applicants as it is, that they look for any excuse to weed someone out because it makes the process easier. Thus don’t do this!

2) Lie and say the F had a completely different, and less objectionable, cause (slept thru the alarm). But here you run the risk of getting in worse trouble if someone tries to investigate. So I don’t recommend this. Or perhaps you could admit what you did, "had an excerpt of another work in my paper," but tweak the circumstances to make it sound more innocent. Only you know how and why you did it, so if you're truthful about what you did but make it sound nearly accidental, nobody can argue...

3-new idea) Don't address/explain the F at all! Calling applicants/recommeneders is not a normal part of the application process. The great thing about the physics app process is there are no interviews. No flying, no added stress, “So where do you see yourself in 10 years,” bull ***. Every applicant has some things in their app that the committee wishes they could know more about, but that’s the drawback of the physics app process. “I’d like to know more about his first-authored publication he recently submitted.” But they do the best they can with what they see on paper.

Even though admissionprof may investigate an app like yours, many committees are not going to bother, especially at large programs. You have a 3.82 overall GPA and a ~4.0 physics GPA, period. What matters more from there is your research, GREs etc, not the story behind your F. Even if some do investigate, you'll have a chance to defend yourself, and it’s harder to reject someone you’ve spoken with than a piece of paper. And you’ll be in great shape with the ones who didn’t call. OTOH, if you announce yourself as a cheater in your SOP, you’re fucked at ALL the schools.

4) Say something like this, "I messed up on one assigment that was X% of our grade!" YES!! There it is!!! That way you're not being dishonest. You really did mess up, so you could not get in trouble from this. They will assume you just bombed one assignment in your undergrad career and have no reason to investigate further. You'd have just as much chance as anyone else with the same GPA and other credentials!

In response to earlier posts, obviously I was not condoning the act of cheating, but I've seen too many cases (not just academics, but on TV, in the workplace etc...) where people get punished far too severely for a mistake while others are getting away with equally bad things. What ghana did is no worse than the students who work together on a take home exam that the prof says should be done independently. It's no worse than finding solutions online (yes I know you've all done it).

ghana has already paid for his mistake. He got an F in a class he otherwise would have gotten an A or B in, and his GPA took quite a blow. He does not deserve to have his future ruined as well. I’m much more in favor of balance and fairness than a strict adherence to written rules. You guys may think of him as an inhuman disgrace who deserves to die, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt… that maybe he procrastinated, was running late on a paper and was desperate to hand in something. I'm giving him what I think is good advice (#3 and #4) that will save the balance. All he did was come to the forum for advice… we have no reason to judge him. Good luck Ghana.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby cato88 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:27 pm

Go with door #4

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PhysicsPdx
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby PhysicsPdx » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:33 pm

Ghana_rules,

Take Quizivex's profile into account when you take his advice:

mit.edu - Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Rejected
mit notes: Apparently, MIT groups students by research interest and has the corresponding faculty make decisions. So you're best off if you only list one interest and your undergrad research reflects it, otherwise either lie or get rejected.


For Quizivex:
You didn't get into Harvard because they require 40% of an incoming class to be women? Right. I'm sure that's why they passed you up.

What is with people always looking for some external reason when they mess up or don't get what they want? Take some responsibility, for goodness sake.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby cato88 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:41 pm

chill out. Just because he didnt want to crucify the kid your going to crucify him and get personal digging up his profile.

Hes right if they are admitting students based on research interests and your applying to the school expressing interests for a group with no openings than youre going to get rejected unless you lie.

Also if Harvard is trying to admit a larger amount of females than usual than some males are going to have to be passed up that otherwise might have gotten in. Right or wrong is a simple amount of spaces < amount of people problem.

Looking at his profile he has a 4.0 GPA,990 PGRE and significant research experience what is suppose to take responsibility for not getting above a 4.0GPA or 990PGRE.
Last edited by cato88 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:48 pm

cato88 wrote:chill out. Just because he didnt want to crucify the kid your going to crucify him and get personal digging up his profile.


What the hell does that mean, "digging up his profile"? He posted his profile himself, with the comments, so it is fair game to bring it up. He is telling the "kid" to basically keep cheating, which is what got him into trouble in the first place. Let's take a step back here: we are talking about science, not f*cking Wall Street. You cheat in research, you are out, end of story.

And I am not a psychologist, but it is pretty clear that the Princeton dude has done his share of cheating himself, based on what he writes here.

Fritz "No Place for Cheaters in Science" Zwicky

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby cato88 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:56 pm

He is right that there is no standardization in punishments for plagiarism so why should this destroy his career when others get caught cheating in their physics exams/problem sets and dont have theirs ruined. This appears to be the OP first time so there is still a large chance he wont do it again.

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:01 pm

I think the only relevant advice here was given by admissionprof, the rest is noise, or worse, might actually cause worse harm than the original transgression.

Fritz "No Idea This Time" Zwicky

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dlenmn
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:24 pm

PhysicsPdx and Fritz.Zwicky, there's no need for that (although I agree with Fritz's last comment).

quizivex wrote:1) Admit your mistake in all sincerity. In this case you're 100% screwed, as confirmed by ... an admission chair.


admissionprof said he "suspect[s] a top ten school is out" -- this does not equate to being 100% screwed. (At least I hope so. Learning only now that I'm 100% screwed would ruin my day...)

quizivex wrote:What ghana did is no worse than the students who work together on a take home exam that the prof says should be done independently. It's no worse than finding solutions online (yes I know you've all done it).


I think there are degrees of plagiarism, and we don't know exactly what he did, so how can we say what it is not worse than? Working together on a take home exam is pretty bad so it may well not be worse than what he did (it's not something I've done). I don't think that looking up homework solutions online is nearly as bad (depending on the frequency I guess), and truth be told, it is not something I did either. That meant not getting every homework set right. Are doing things like that necessary to getting straight 'A's? That would explain a lot I guess.

quizivex wrote:I've seen too many cases ... where people get punished far too severely for a mistake while others are getting away with equally bad things.


I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure that getting an 3.83 gpa is that much punishment (it's better than many can do by being honest). On the other hand, you may be right that the only other punishment on the table is too much. I like the sound of option 4, but we don't know how much of the grade the final paper made up. Maybe it's 20% of the grade (in which case, messing up on it wouldn't necessary mean an F in the class), but ghana_rules was still failed for cheating on it. In that case, you either have to lie about the % (which defeats the purpose of option 4) or it still raises a lot of questions. If the answers to those questions are found, then simply not having told the whole truth may be counted as a big negative. People often apply to ~10 schools, and each school has several people on the admissions committee, but it only takes one admissions prof to find out what happened and then the grapevine can take care of the rest. That's why I think admitting to the crime may have the best expected value (although if you're really set on top 10 or nothing -- which I think is a bad call, then expected value may not be the right metric -- in which case trying one of the other options may be in your best interest).
Last edited by dlenmn on Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby zxcv » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:34 pm

If it makes you feel any better, I know an older grad student who was the teaching assistant for graduate statistical mechanics several years ago. A number of students copied (wrong) problem set solutions off the internet. There are cheaters even at a top 10 grad school. (I do not recall what happened to them, but they did not get off leniently.)

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:38 pm

I think we need to hear from Picard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB_JQSGk ... re=related

Don't do option 4. Like it or not, admissionprof is probably right. The comittees pay more attention to each applicant than we would like to admit. I hate to admit it but I'd probably try to cover it up in shame somehow.

Also, I really hate it when people say things like, "Come on. We all do it." We don't. Really. Except in baseball.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Wonton Burrito Meals

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quizivex
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby quizivex » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:42 pm

Ah, PhysicsPdx has quite a temper. He comes out bashing my profile just because he wasn't fond of a post I wrote. He points out I was rejected by 2 of the top 5 schools and ignores the fact that I was accepted to the other 3, to prove what?

Secondly, if the average ugrad pgm has ~13% females and the average grad program enrolls ~13% females and Harvard wants to enroll ~40% females, what do you think happens to the displaced 27%?

It's kindof funny that my tips #3 and #4 did not promote lying or further cheating in any way, but someone comes up with the comment below:
Fritz.Zwicky wrote:And I am not a psychologist, but it is pretty clear that the Princeton dude has done his share of cheating himself, based on what he writes here.
Ouch, someone with no credibility doubts my credibility. I guess I'll just have to pick up the pieces and move on with my life.

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:You cheat in research, you are out, end of story.
Nah, only the ones that get caught.
PhysicsPdx wrote:Take some responsibility, for goodness sake.
Ah yea, taking responsibility by throwing away his academic career. What an honorable way to go down. What's the point of saying that? Is anyone really going to read that and say, "yeah he's right, I don't deserve to go to grad school anyway. Forget it." It's just like promoting abstinence-only sex ed, and just as futile.
dlenmn wrote:I like the sound of option 4, but we don't know how much of the grade the final paper made up. Maybe it's 20% of the grade (in which case, messing up on it wouldn't necessary mean an F in the class), but ghana_rules was still failed for cheating on it.
Yea I didn't mean for him to use that quote verbatim... it was just an example of a stance he could take. It would sound better if he could say it was worth 40%, but otherwise he could just as well say "I messed up badly on one important assignment."

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby cato88 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:46 pm

Do a mix of #1 and #4. You need to come off as sincerely sorry and regretful while mitigating the nature of the problem.

mhazelm
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby mhazelm » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:24 pm

sorry if it isn't what you want to hear, but honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.

I would rather work with someone who is willing to say "yes, I made a mistake, but I sure learned from it" then someone who tries to cover up their mistake.

Especially a scientist. If you are willing to lie on an application, what will stop you from lying on your work later down the road (e.g., faking data)? At least if you admit the lie and that you sure as hell learned your lesson, I think that there's a chance it can be "forgiven" enough to admit you somewhere (contingent on you never doing such a thing ever again). But if you try to bend the truth (and sorry, but I think saying "I messed up on one assigment" is doing just that), then someday you will get caught, and then your career is really over.

Lies to cover lies are almost as stupid an idea as lying in the first place.

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quizivex
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby quizivex » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:12 pm

mhazelm wrote:but honesty is ALWAYS the best policy
Again, this is a personal philosophy, not a fact. Ghana can choose to accept or reject it. Declining to bring up the F wouldn't be dishonest, either. Other personal philosophies may include:
- Justice comes before the law. (And of course what constitutes justice is opinion also.)
- The law is justice, no exceptions.
- Lying is disgraceful at all times. (physicsgre.com users)
- Lying is OK if it gets you ahead. (machiavelli) sp?
- Lying is OK if it gets you ahead without hurting anyone else.
- Lying is OK to save yourself from disaster if it doesn't hurt anyone else...
etc...
mhazelm wrote:I would rather work with someone who is willing to say "yes, I made a mistake, but I sure learned from it" then someone who tries to cover up their mistake.
Firstly you wouldn't know he covered it up if he did it successfully. And Ghana doesn't have to cover it up. He can choose not to draw attention to it. He can choose not to go out of his way to explain the F on his transcript. Tip #4 IMO is not covering it up, and #3 certainly isn't.

When I applied, I had two stigmas on my record, a 4.5 on the writing section (pretty bad for a native English speaker with a 770 verbal), and a withdraw from an art class. Since the 4.5 came after I requested a rescore from ETS for a 5.5, and I withdrew from the art class mainly because I enrolled in it accidentally due to bad advising and it wouldn't count for my core requirement, I felt I had been screwed over and thought about defending myself. I had to decide whether to address these issues in my SOP. I decided not to. I didn't cover it up or lie, just chose not to draw attention to it. Things worked out quite well.

abeboparebop
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby abeboparebop » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:46 pm

quizivex wrote:When I applied, I had two stigmas on my record, a 4.5 on the writing section (pretty bad for a native English speaker with a 770 verbal), and a withdraw from an art class. Since the 4.5 came after I requested a rescore from ETS for a 5.5, and I withdrew from the art class mainly because I enrolled in it accidentally due to bad advising and it wouldn't count for my core requirement, I felt I had been screwed over and thought about defending myself. I had to decide whether to address these issues in my SOP. I decided not to. I didn't cover it up or lie, just chose not to draw attention to it. Things worked out quite well.


The reason things worked out quite well is because both of those "stigmas" are not actually stigmas in the context of applying to physics PhD programs. Neither is in any way similar to an F in an engineering course.

astrofan
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby astrofan » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:10 pm

Could you explain a little better what you did? Did you not quote the papers you were using? Perhaps I don't know enough about writting papers, but I figure if you simply say "[First author name] et al. (year written) concluded blah" you are pretty much covered.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:21 am

admissionprof wrote: Lying on an application is the absolute worst thing you can do, is grounds for immediate expulsion if caught (and even revocation of the degree if caught much later).


I can understand expulsion, but how can you revoke someone's degree? That's like saying, "We certified that you learned everything in our program, but now we take it back. By the way, you must forget all that knowledge."

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:22 am

zxcv wrote:If it makes you feel any better, I know an older grad student who was the teaching assistant for graduate statistical mechanics several years ago. A number of students copied (wrong) problem set solutions off the internet. There are cheaters even at a top 10 grad school. (I do not recall what happened to them, but they did not get off leniently.)


For one graduate student to report another for this offense is even more despicable than the act of cheating. Seriously, fuckers, where is your loyalty?

sterculus
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby sterculus » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:53 am

twistor wrote:For one graduate student to report another for this offense is even more despicable than the act of cheating. Seriously, fuckers, where is your loyalty?


Umm, what?! If the TA for a course catches someone cheating (i.e. looking up solutions online) they are *ethically obligated* to report it. Science depends on honesty: would you let someone publish fraudulent results because they happen to be your buddy and you need to be 'loyal'?

chishon
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby chishon » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:25 am

I don't really see what the debate is here.

I think you really only have two options: (1) Address the mark in your SOP, or (2) Don't address the mark in your SOP. Either way, you have to be as honest as you possibly can be. If you truly learned from your mistake, that will shine through.

I would be shocked if an admissions committee didn't, at the very least, ask you about the grade even if it wasn't on your SOP. I think by not mentioning it, though, you potentially could have someone say "well, maybe engineering isn't his thing...". You're trying to put your best foot forward with your SOP, so it may seem silly to address the mark here.

On the other hand, being straight-forward, honest, and open about everything can look good to a department who will inquire about the mark anyways. I think most people would be much more willing to accept a student if they were very open about who they are, and what they've learned in the past. Sure, you did something very stupid, but people do change, and do learn. Otherwise...what would be the fun in life?

If I were you, I would consult my most trusted professors. I would most likely address it in my SOP (or a separate document), and state exactly how the experience had changed me as a person. If there were circumstances that made you cheat, that might be worth addressing, especially if you link back to the fact that you realize now you should never cheat. I would emphasize how you felt due to the event, especially the humiliation that you probably never want to feel again.

Best of luck!

mhazelm
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby mhazelm » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:32 am

@ quizivex -

you make some good points. Honesty is only best if you believe in the ethical standards that are *supposed* to govern our country (and if you realize that those responsible for reading our applications also may be constrained by these same ethical standards). But, it is up to you whether you decide to side with Machiavelli. He was pretty genius, really, so I can see the logic. If I was going to take over the world, I'd be doing it his way. 8)

And the OP may choose to do whatever he/she pleases, be it lying more or not.

It is just my opinion that as scientists in the US, we should make some attempt to adhere to an ethical standard, and preferably the one that America is based on, so that there is some kind of standard. Of course, watching politics and news today doesn't make one feel as though there is much of any standard left, so who knows... :lol: :lol: :lol:

sirius
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby sirius » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:33 am

i would recommend preparing a separate statement explaining the situation and attaching it to your application. it would suck if you let this issue take up your personal statement, where you can explain why you would be a good grad student. if an application has room for additional comments, include it. otherwise figure out a way to attach it somehow by possibly just mailing it. it sucks you chose to copy for a paper. it shouldnt ruin your life, but it is definitely gonna close some doors. you cant retake the class next year? unless its not offered next year, you should definitely try. i doubt the professor will make a special circumstance to let you take it independent study or anything.

admissionprof
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby admissionprof » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:30 am

twistor wrote:
admissionprof wrote: Lying on an application is the absolute worst thing you can do, is grounds for immediate expulsion if caught (and even revocation of the degree if caught much later).


I can understand expulsion, but how can you revoke someone's degree? That's like saying, "We certified that you learned everything in our program, but now we take it back. By the way, you must forget all that knowledge."


A few years ago, at UVA, a professor learned that many students had cheated on a term paper in his class. Some of them were seniors, and he didn't discover the cheating until after grades were turned in and the students had graduated. He took them to the honor council, they were convicted and their degrees were revoked. Often, medical school applicants lie on their application---if they are caught a decade later, their medical degree will also be revoked. So it has been done many times.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:25 am

There is another way.

Start over again at another university. Tell them you have never been to college before. Take everything again and in four years reapply.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:28 am

If the TA for a course catches someone cheating (i.e. looking up solutions online) they are *ethically obligated* to report it.


Science and the classroom are two different things.

Maybe those graduate students were too busy researching something important to spend all their time on the solutions to a homework set.

Your fellow graduate students would at least be entitled to a warning shot.

bronco199
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby bronco199 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:40 am

In agreement with twistor. Any of you out there who condemn ghana from your "high horse" ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Only God himself (or herself..never know) can ride the wave of "how dare he do this". Everyone else is merely seeking to stoke the flames of their self indulgence by distancing themselves from such an act of plagiary, which harms no one.

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PhysicsPdx
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby PhysicsPdx » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:51 am

The thing that's really eating at me about this topic, the people posting are our future physicists. This isn't a game. This isn't high-school or even college. We are going to be professional scientists, and so many people are giving amazingly non-professional opinions. We push the boundaries of our knowledge because we adhere to ethics with regards to our research. We don't falsify data, we don't put forth theories or report on experiments we know don't work and purport that they do, and we DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!

Does plagiarism hurt everyone? Yes. Should Ghana's career be finished. No. Everyone makes mistakes, just be thankful it was when it doesn't really count.

With regards to the TA and the students who copied the answers off of the web. The TA had a responsibility to report it to the instructor. Should the instructor have reprimanded them? I have no idea. I don't know what the policies of the department or the class were. Or, who the students were and if they had a history of this behavior, etc...

Again, there is a larger issue. Why do we do course work? To get a grade? To show the instructor that we can do problems? What good does it do the instructor, the students, or the lab/person/department who assumes the student has the knowledge if they copy that knowledge off of the internet? None. It does no one any good. It would be better to ask for help, or leave the problem blank than to copy it. Plus, what do they care about their letter grade in graduate school as long as they maintain the department's required average? And, if they are copying problems to maintain that average... They had better re-evaluate whether graduate level physics is for them.

Call me naive (as I'm sure one of you jackals will), but you people scare the *** out of me. You are our future physicists? I just pray I never have to rely on your data or be on a committee with you.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:34 am

Plagiarism is wrong.

Ratting on fellow graduate students is also wrong.

bronco199
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby bronco199 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:38 am

physicspdx

yes - this is a game. No, we are not in school here, we're on an online forum - which is mostly to fritter away time on the internet. Just worry about your own ethics. We all have consciences and we're all intelligent people

Twistor - well put. A little mercy goes a long way. That TA should send a little note to the students involved letting them know he noticed something fishy on their HW. If it happens again...then he could do something more.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:42 am

The TA had a responsibility to report it to the instructor.


Let's face it, in this kind of situation it's very difficult to prove that cheating actually took place. A better strategy is to warn the student(s) involved. That would likely take care of the problem while sparing potentially excellent scientists the shame of being asked to leave a program they worked very hard to get into.

Note that I'm not defending plagiarism. You should not take the prospect of ruining someone's future for an isolated occurrence as lightly as most of you seem to.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:45 am

Now that we've solved that problem, it's time to break out into song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNC-aj76zI4

asouljahman
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby asouljahman » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:58 am

PhysicsPdx,

If you are not already a hypocrite, then by the time you enter graduate school, you very well will become one. The tragic thing about this is that WHEN you do, you wouldn't even think twice about it, or have any remorse for your inequities.

Grad schools, (especially within the 'hallowed' halls of elite physics departments) present prime breading ground for plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty. This is the reality.

When you get the chance, do a search for solution sets for any of these books; Kittel (Solid State Physics), Ashcroft and Merrmin (Solid State Physics), Reif (Statistical Mechanics), Jackson (Electrodynamics) , Sakurai (Quantum Mechanics)... the bloody list goes on and on.

My point is that the overwhelming majority of graduate physics students will not, and do not think twice about submitting these solution sets as their own, and the fact of the matter is that when it is crunch time and you have back to back assignments and sweating bullets worrying about your graduate GPA, you wouldn't think twice about it either. What's more is that professors know this to be the case! They simply look past it and award this dishonesty with an A at the end of the semester.
Last edited by asouljahman on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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trani
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby trani » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:58 am

twistor wrote:Now that we've solved that problem, it's time to break out into song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNC-aj76zI4

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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PhysicsPdx
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby PhysicsPdx » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:39 pm

twistor wrote:Now that we've solved that problem, it's time to break out into song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNC-aj76zI4


That was awesome! Thank you for lightening the mood.

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby zxcv » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:14 pm

asouljahman wrote:My point is that the overwhelming majority of graduate physics students will not, and do not think twice about submitting these solution sets as their own, and the fact of the matter is that when it is crunch time and you have back to back assignments and sweating bullets worrying about your graduate GPA, you wouldn't think twice about it either. What's more is that professors know this to be the case! They simply look past it and award this dishonesty with an A at the end of the semester.
I disagree -- I think this is wrong.

There may be nothing wrong with looking at a solution set for inspiration -- that's what we do when we talk over problems with our classmates all the time. But cite it properly and at the least demonstrate that you understand what you're writing by doing the work yourself! Copying someone else's words as your own is wrong and should not be tolerated.

asouljahman
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Postby asouljahman » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:19 pm

zxcv wrote:
asouljahman wrote:There may be nothing wrong with looking at a solution set for inspiration -- that's what we do when we talk over problems with our classmates all the time. But cite it properly and at the least demonstrate that you understand what you're writing by doing the work yourself! Copying someone else's words as your own is wrong and should not be tolerated.


Although I could have, I intentionally did not bring up the point that you just made because I knew that it would only be a matter of time before someone else brought it up in an effort (failed effort, I might add) to suggest that the vast majority of graduate students 'cite' their references in the solutions they present.

If you are truly honest with yourself, you would quickly come to the conclusion that the overwhelming majority of graduate students do not submit a list of references at the end of their assignments, stating who or where they have acquired their information (pre-answered solutions) from. Infact, I have never had the opportunity to bear witness to this event, and I suspect that in your undergraduate academic career, where you more likely than not would have 'utilized' the knowledge (solutions) of other past students, you have never actually cited them as references before either.

Until this is done, it is considered plagiarism. Plain and simple. Professors know full well that this is taking place under their charge, and do nothing in the vast majority of cases. It is almost as if it is encouraged, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way.This academic dishonesty starts from very early in the academic career, and very often results in things like this ocuring;

http://notaids.com/en/gallosfolly or this
http://eyesonthelies.com/2009/01/06/aid ... falsified/

In case you didn't know, Robert Charles Gallo is a U.S. biomedical researcher. He is best known for his co-discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the infectious agent responsible for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and he has been a major contributor to subsequent HIV research; director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore; earned a B.S. degree in Biology in 1959 from Providence College and received an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1963.

ghana_rules,

Trust me... If history may be used as a measuring stick, then you can believe that this incident will be overlooked.
Last edited by asouljahman on Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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