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Accused of Plagiarism in College? Tips from an Education Lawyer

You are working hard in college and staying up late to make sure you submit the best work possible to your professor. Days or weeks later you get a dreaded email – you are accused of plagiarism. You are confused and can’t understand how it is possible. Well, you are not alone. Countless college students are accused of plagiarism every day. So what can you do to defend yourself?

How serious is being accused of plagiarism?

An allegation of plagiarism is one of the most serious charges a college can bring against a student. A charge of plagiarism may have to be disclosed on every school application you fill out and possibly, need to be disclosed on professional license applications or state or federal job applications. Colleges view plagiarism as a very serious charge that could lead to suspension or expulsion.

I am sure I did not plagiarize

I have seen a common trend emerge from universities who use Turnitin or other plagiarism checkers, especially among online universities. Many of the degrees online universities offer assign similar projects and assignments. This leads to students using the same sources which brings up flags on Turnitin.

Another trend is accidental or careless citations. Student may be working late into the night and forget to cite a source or attribute the source incorrectly. This will lead to an accusation of plagiarism.

I knowingly used a few sources without citing properly

Some students who are under pressure will make the decision to plagiarize. Even though a student decides to pass off the work of another, this does not mean the student must face the most severe punishment. There are ways to achieve a lesser punishment, even if a student did plagiarize.

Tips from a college student defense attorney for those accused of plagiarism

  1. Just because you are accused of plagiarism doesn’t mean you did it. Great students with impeccable records can be falsely accused of plagiarism. You have the right to defend your record against these allegations. Even if you knowingly plagiarized, it does not mean you have to face the worst penalties.
  2. Be wary of taking a “deal” from the professor. Students are sometimes offered a deal in exchange for a letter of apology. I have seen these letters then turned against the student and used in formal disciplinary hearings. Before accepting such a “deal” find out from the professor if he or she is the final decision-maker on the issue.
  3. Know your school’s policy and your rights if you are accused. Think about your options and take your time in your defense. Hire an experienced education lawyer to craft your defense.

You typically get only one chance at success. Make it the best you can.

Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer and offers student defense services to students throughout the United States. He is experienced in defending all types of student disciplinary issues including plagiarism. Call The Education Lawyers today for a free consultation and protect your educational future. (855) 338-5299

Click here to read what client's are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.

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