Academic Misconduct: How Impersonation Can Ruin Your Academic Career

College and university students are held to high standards when it comes to their academic work. Part of meeting these standards is ensuring that all work is original and completed by the student under whose name it is submitted. This means no plagiarism, cheating, or any other form of academic misconduct, including impersonation.

What is Impersonation When It Comes to Academic Misconduct?

Impersonation, as it pertains to academic misconduct, occurs when a student hires someone else, such as a friend or professional service, to complete and submit their assignments or take their exams for them.

In smaller classes, where the instructor is likely to know the students by sight, impersonation might happen in the form of someone else writing and submitting papers or other projects online for a student enrolled in the course, or logging in as a student in the course to take an online quiz or exam.

In large classes, in addition to submitting work online for a student in the course, the impersonator might show up to take their in-class exams, give presentations, or even just be counted for attendance. If students are required to show a photo ID for any of these, the impersonator might look enough like the enrolled student to get away with using the enrolled student's card, or they might have a fake one with the impersonator's picture and the enrolled student's name and other information on it.

What each of these scenarios has in common is that the person who submits the paper, takes the exam, gives the presentation, or shows up for class is not the person enrolled in the class, but is pretending to be that person. There is a subtle but crucial difference between impersonation and the form of academic misconduct known as plagiarism: If a student enrolled in a class turns in a paper containing uncredited text written by someone else, this is plagiarism. If someone pretending to be that student turns in the paper, this is impersonation.

What Do Schools Say About Impersonation?

Many schools list impersonation as one of the prohibited activities on their Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity pages. The description of impersonation by Valley City State University in North Dakota is typical:

“It is a breach of academic honesty to have someone impersonate one's self in class, in a test or examination, or in connection with any other type of assignment in a course. Both the impersonator and the individual impersonated may be subject to disciplinary action.”

What Are the Consequences of Impersonating Another Student?

If you're caught impersonating another student on an exam or other academic project, or arranging for another student to impersonate you, you'll likely face severe consequences from your school. These consequences could include failing the assignment, failing the course, or even being expelled from the school.

Each of these can have serious ramifications for your future: Failing an assignment can mean a lower grade in the course overall at the end of the term and a reduced GPA. Failing the course means the loss of those credit hours; you'll have to either retake the class or take a different one to replace it, paying the tuition again and delaying your progress toward graduation. Expulsion from school is the worst-case scenario: If you're expelled, you'll have to start over again at another school – if you're admitted – paying for and taking courses you might have already completed at the first school.

It's important to note that each school has its own policies and procedures regarding academic honesty and misconduct. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your school's policy so that you know what will happen if you're caught committing any form of academic misconduct, including impersonation.

Additionally, keep in mind that employers often conduct background checks on potential employees. If they see you've faced disciplinary action for impersonating a student, or hiring someone to impersonate you while you were a student, potential employers might have their doubts about bringing you on board. This kind of academic integrity violation is also likely to show up in the letters of recommendation you'll need to take with you as you look for work.

Why You Should Get an Attorney

Facing disciplinary action for impersonation, whether you're the impersonator or the person who hired the impersonator, can be very stressful . It helps to have an experienced education lawyer by your side to help you navigate the process and protect your rights. Here are some reasons you should consider getting an experienced student defense lawyer if you've been accused of academic misconduct:

  • If you've been accused of impersonation, it is important to understand the college disciplinary process and what you can expect. An expert student defense lawyer will be familiar with the process and will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
  • In order for your lawyer to build a strong defense, it's important that they collect all the evidence that supports your case. Your lawyer will know what types of evidence are necessary and how to collect it.
  • Once your lawyer has gathered all of the evidence, they will begin negotiations with the college. It's important to have a lawyer who is experienced in negotiations and who knows how to get the best results for their client.

Joseph D.Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm have years of experience handlingacademic misconduct cases, and they know what to do to help you get the best defense possible.

Work With an Academic Misconduct Attorney

If you have been accused of academic misconduct, it is important to have the right student defense lawyer by your side.

Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm are experienced education lawyers who understand the college disciplinary process and will be able to advise you on the best course of action. They will help you collect evidence and negotiate with the college on your behalf so that you can have the best chance of moving forward with your education.

Contact Joseph Lento and the rest of the Lento

Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. Your future depends on it.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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