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got a referral at school...how do i answer that question on the app now??

almafuertealmafuerte Posts: 180Registered User Junior Member
I am a senior applying to USC. I am rank 1 of our school and have sat composite 2390 and will be publishing a research paper with a prof this winter.

I thought I had no huge worries until I got a referral last month b/c my friends and I were sharing answers on a homework assignment. My teacher (very uptight) took this as "serious cheating" and gave just two of us referrals- me and another friend.

My grade in the class is dropped by a whole letter grade and I got a referral (basically a "warning" for those of you who don't know) that says I had cheated once- for them to keep a record I guess, in case I do it again. Which I never will. I regret what I did very much.

Without further details, I was wondering how to answer that question on USC app:

Beginning in 9th grade, have you ever been judged responsible for academic or behavioral misconduct that led to disciplinary action against you, and/or your suspension, removal or expulsion from any educational institution?

Well, what really is "disciplinary action against you"? Does a referral count? I wasn't suspended or anything- just a referral. I don't know whether I should check off yes or no for this; can someone clarify for me?

I know that on common app, the wording makes it so that I DO NOT need to check of yes- I can honestly say "no" since I wasn't suspended/expelled b/c of this. But USC includes that "disciplinary action" as one of options that could have happened, and could that mean like, a referral??
Post edited by almafuerte on

Replies to: got a referral at school...how do i answer that question on the app now??

  • TrueLoveTrueLove Posts: 433. Junior Member
    If it quacks like a duck...and boy does it, it is a duck. Do the right thing. Report it.
  • FindAPlaceFindAPlace Posts: 4,706Registered User Senior Member
    Report it, and when you explain the issue (which you should) don't mention the teacher was "up tight" in making the referral.
  • jazz/shreddermomjazz/shreddermom Posts: 1,187Registered User Senior Member
    I'm going to give you a different answer. First, talk to your guidance counsellor and find out if this will be on your transcript or if your GC is going to mention it in their recommendation. If not, do not mention it. It clearly did not lead to a suspension or an expulsion or any other "action," so I don't think this is dishonest (same as the common app).

    Glad you learned your lesson.
  • almafuertealmafuerte Posts: 180Registered User Junior Member
    thanks for the input

    My counselor said that referral does NOT go to the transcript to the colleges. so now it is the matter of what the question is really asking- is a referral something that is big enough to report for a question like this?

    i need to know if a referral would be equivalent to "disciplinary action" taken against me. if not, then i can safely answer NO for the answer.

    thank you for any further input.
  • alamemomalamemom Posts: 6,384Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with jazz/shreddermom. Make an appointment with your counselor. Print out the question from the USC application. Ask your counselor how you should answer the question and if it will be mentioned in her recommendation or on the recommendation form. Only your school knows if they consider this "disciplinary action" - the reduction in your letter grade might be within their definition of disciplinary action.

    If the counselor agrees that you should check "no," then do so and you won't have to worry.

    If you find that yes, it will be mentioned, you have a chance to briefly explain the circumstance to USC.

    The worst-case scenario is that you check "no" and your school checks "yes." That would make you look very untruthful.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Posts: 2,131Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with the two "moms." If your school does not consider the consequences they imposed to be "disciplinary action," then you can truthfully say that you did not face "disciplinary action" for the offense.

    However, if anybody writing for you is going to mention the offense at all, then you had better address it in your application. If your story is told from the faculty or staff's perspective, USC may well interpret their imposed consequences as "disciplinary action," whether or not your high school staff would call it that themselves. And then USC will think you lied.

    This is going to take some direct questions to everybody who's writing for you. And it's going to be a little uncomfortable. You may not want to hear what they have to say.

    But afterall, you got yourself into this by cheating. It's appropriate that there should be some discomfort following unethical behavior.

    I support a calculated choice to answer "no," if your high school faculty and staff say "no," only because I'm trusting that you have learned a valuable, hard lesson. What you did is apparently serious. You said you regret it. However, you also said the teacher was uptight. That reads like you just might regret your teacher's "bad" attititude more than your own poor judgement. I hope that's not the case.

    Hopefully you don't have to be told to leave your teacher's "uptight" attitude -- or any attitude from your teacher -- out of any discussion of this incident, should you need to disclose it. It makes you look bad.
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