In my freshman year, I had an academic misconduct issue and received a zero for that assignment as well as a warning on the internal record (normally will not be shown to anyone else). I felt so guilty about this.

Some graduate school applications ask about "academic misconduct" (which I will definitely disclose), but some others ask about "disciplinary issues" (which my case does not technically count as). So should I disclose it when applications ask for "disciplinary issues"?

The last thing I would ever want is to lie on my application. How bad would this incident be on my application? I have worked extremely hard during the rest of my studies and got good grades, research and work experiences.

  • 2
    Probable duplicate of academia.stackexchange.com/q/181996/75368
    – Buffy
    Jul 12, 2022 at 0:24
  • Hi Dvsldbsua, welcome to Ac.SE. It seems to me you are asking if this counts as "disciplinary issues" in addition to being "academic misconduct." I edited your Q to make it clearer (please re-edit if I'm wrong). It is a good question - as these don't have universal definitions. We can't answer your question about specific schools (not in the least because we have no idea what graduate programs you are applying to there) as general policy, so I removed that part. Jul 12, 2022 at 19:12
  • 1
    If you look at your transcript, is there any indication of this punishment? Jul 12, 2022 at 19:12
  • @AzorAhai-him- No it’s not on my transcript or any materials that are required in the application process Jul 13, 2022 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


The first rule is that you need to be honest, not only as a moral imperative, but since the outcome can be severe if you are not and it is discovered.

But you don't need to volunteer information not asked for, especially if it isn't in your best interest to do so. For undergraduate misconduct the university normally handles it and closes the case. You can too, taking it as a learning experience and doing better in future. They keep internal records in the case that you repeat bad behavior, but don't normally disclose it to others - sometimes by law.

If you are asked, then you should answer honestly, but stress that it didn't become a habit and wasn't and won't be repeated. People understand that others (like themselves) aren't perfect but can learn. Few people can compete with the angels.

This, alone, shouldn't have an impact on graduate admissions in most cases, but, since decisions are made by individuals, it is impossible to predict with precision.

In an earlier version of the question you asked about admission to some top schools in the US. Your chances there are determined by lots of things, but note that the competition is very fierce at the top level. I recommend, as always, that you make a broad search for a doctoral program so that you aren't closed out completely. Note that if you are rejected by one top program you are probably(?) going to be rejected by other similar programs on the same basis. Shoot for the stars, but settle for the moon.

  • Thanks Buffy for your answer. Yes I would definitely be honest. Jul 13, 2022 at 13:54

It is very unlikely that the target institution would have access to your data in your current one. So entirely miss the whole thingy. They will assume that you do not have anything black spot, and your way to leave them in this belief, that you ignore the entire topic.

If they directly ask this, then it depends on the question. Probably you will have some frame to interpret the question on the most favorable way (for you). Alternatively, you can think that case is ended now, and they have no really access to your data in another institution, about such a long past thing.

But the most likely outcome is that also they won't ask this.

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