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Articles / Applying to College / Will 8th Grade "Copying" Detention Affect College Outcomes?

Will 8th Grade "Copying" Detention Affect College Outcomes?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 9, 2017

Question: I am in the 8th grade. I gave my homework to a friend because she did not do it. While copying my homework one of our teachers found out and took both of our homeworks. He said that we would receive an F in conduct and would have to serve a detention. Would colleges look at this, and would this effect my application in any way?

I have to wonder if there is a middle-schooler anywhere on this planet who didn't allow a panicked friend to copy a homework assignment at least once, although most of us over the eons have been savvy enough—or lucky enough—not to get caught. But you're actually lucky too because 8th-grade infractions don't go on your college record. So the F in conduct and the detention won't affect your college outcomes in any way.

However, here are couple pieces of advice for the future:

  1. If the teacher who punished you this time is someone who will teach you when you're in high school, you would be wise to write a brief note of apology and explain that you learned your lesson and that you won't be dishonest in any way ever again. You don't want to start high school with any teacher questioning your integrity. And even if you won't see this teacher after this year, it's still a thoughtful gesture to send a written apology.
  1. As you get older, the stakes get higher. Episodes like this one, which will not be part of your permanent record now, can be viewed more seriously once you're in high school. Although you'll find that it's still common for friends to ask to copy homework ... especially the “busy work" kinds of assignments such as repetitious foreign verb conjugations or math problems ... you may not get off so easy the next time!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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