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Accused of Plagiarism in College: What You Should Do

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

The college experience is brimming with opportunities for students to make connections, sharpen their skills, and make strides towards landing the career of your dreams. Nearing the end of this journey is a pivotal moment that all college students dream of accomplishing for most of their lives: graduation. Walking across your school's stage after enduring long bouts of study sessions, endless hours of homework and countless presentation attempts invokes a feeling that is truly unmatched. However, before one achieves this feat, there are a number of unexpected circumstances that could potentially arise that have the ability to compromise this goal and throw a wrench in your academic journey. Being accused of plagiarism is one of the most damaging obstacles a student can face.

Understanding the Violation

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using or closely imitating the phraseology and thoughts of another author in your work without permission or citing the appropriate sources. Essentially, its passing off someone else's work as your own. There are an abundance of ways to plagiarize. Whether a student is caught copying lines from a book or an article, mimicking paragraphs from another student's paper, or merely pasting information from a website into their essay, all of these actions fall under the umbrella of plagiarism. The most common culprit of plagiarism, however, is not including quotation marks around quotes taken from an outside source.

It's important to note that instances of plagiarism can be subtle, and can occur right under the nose of a student. It's common for a student to read a paragraph numerous times, and when it comes down to drafting their own assignment, the words from that paragraph seem authentic. Perhaps a student possessed unorganized notes that consequently conflated both phrases or language from an outside source and his or her's original thoughts.

If you are a student who is currently facing allegations of plagiarism, the steps you take in the aftermath of these accusations will make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Sitting back and expecting the situation to sort itself out, or for the school to believe your story is naive, will likely subject you to the imposition of dire penalties. Here are a few tips you should consider:

Become Familiar With Your Institution's Honor Code

Upon notification of these allegations, it would be in your best interest to become very acquainted with your school's honor code and academic integrity policy. The way in which your school defines plagiarism, procedures carried out to remedy this violation, the potential repercussions, and more relevant information will be listed in your school's code of conduct.

Collect Your Sources

If your case of plagiarism is genuinely accidental, it would be important for you to gather every source you used to draft the plagiarized work in question. This includes articles, websites, notes, and any other sources that could have potentially been plagiarized in your work. Gathering every stage of your work, like outlines and rough drafts is also important. The entire purpose of doing so is to prove that you took the time to plan this work, and put in the thought work it took to complete the assignment. If the case of plagiarism is minuscule, involving incorrectly citing a passage or the failure to use quotation marks, you can prove that the plagiarism was a consequence of disorganization or untidiness, rather than a complete disregard of the school's rules.

Student Defense Attorney - Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Nationwide

As indicated above, allegations of plagiarism are serious matters that can obstruct your professional and academic goals. If you've been accused of this violation, you should not take these circumstances lightly. Contact skilled student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help through your school's processes.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

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