In my freshman year of undergrad I was a chemistry major. However, I hated it and because I hated it I did not do well in my chemistry classes. Because of this, I cheated on a midterm as well as a problem set by over collaborating with another person. I got caught and was called in - but long story short, I ended up confessing and was put on leave for a term. During this term I spent a lot of time thinking about what I did, volunteered at a summer camp, and spent my time productively. I truly regret what I did but I cannot change the past. When I came back, I switched my major to math because I hated chemistry and I wanted to pursue my true passion. However, I now soon will apply to graduate school for math. I am planning on disclosing the academic dishonesty I committed during my freshman year. Nonetheless, I am worried that my application will be dismissed entirely because of my cheating incident. Obviously cheating is a big red flag in any student's application. But will I even have a chance at being accepted at say a mid tier math graduate school? Will it help if I manage to get the undergraduate dean whom I confessed to, to write a letter on my behalf?

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    Was the cheating a one-off, or recurrent? Jun 9, 2018 at 13:24
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    I cheated on two assignments (pset and midterm) but was called in for academic misconduct only once. My school does not immediately call in students when something is reported because they handle cases one at a time. So although my pset was reported, they didn't call me in by the time my midterm was also reported. But that was the one and only time I was called in.
    – ta9719
    Jun 9, 2018 at 16:44
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    I think (I cannot speak for others, of course) that every person should be entitled to sins of youth - you clearly understand and regret what you did (which is the most important bit). I should say, go for it. Jun 9, 2018 at 18:48
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    The cheating incident is likely to lower the admissions committee's opinion of your application, but I don't think it will lower it so much that you have no chance of admission if your record is otherwise strong. So I agree with Captain Emacs: Go for it. Jun 9, 2018 at 21:14
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    I agree with the other comments and I think a letter from the undergraduate dean might be helpful, yes.
    – Ivo Terek
    Jun 9, 2018 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


If you want the option of going to grad school for math, you should apply regardless. By not applying, you are voting no on your admission. Rather than self-selecting out, let them tell you no.

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