Student Loses College Scholarship After Friend Exposes Copying; Was She Wrong For Doing So?

Because of this high-stakes context, a teenager recently turned to the Internet to ask: was she wrong for ‘snitching’ on her friend and sabotaging her admission to her dream school?

The College Application Process

teen on phone making call

The college application process is a notoriously stressful time in a teenager’s life. A period marked by important choices often feels like the wrong decision could have life-long repercussions.

A Sophomore Student

teen pointing happily

This 19-year-old girl was already familiar with the nerve-wracking process as a sophomore college student.

Due to her experience, the girl offered to help her friend ‘Tiffany’ (18), who was still in high school and preparing to apply for admissions and scholarships.

The Application Process is a Lengthy One

attending college

For most students, this process involves requesting recommendation letters, drafting a personal statement, and submitting transcripts and standardized test scores, among other steps.

Early Action Vs. Early Decision Applicants

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Students who apply for early action (EA) to a certain school will receive a response before those who apply for general admission (usually in January or February).

Unlike early decision applicants who must attend the college they are accepted into, EA students are not under a binding commitment to attend that university and may evaluate their other choices.

She Got a Full Scholarship

teen celebrating yes

“She ended up getting in early action to her top college, and she got a full scholarship,” the college sophomore recalled in her social media post.

The 19-year-old initially celebrated her friend’s achievement: “I was happy for her—until recently.”

She Wrote an Excellent College Admissions Essay

teen smiling posing

When the subject of Tiffany’s college admissions essay came up in a conversation with a mutual friend, the 19-year-old was curious.

Their mutual friend praised Tiffany’s essay highly, calling it “beautiful and heartfelt.”

Although the college sophomore helped Tiffany correct many early drafts, she had never seen the final essay. Unsuspicious of any wrongdoing, the teenage girl asked their mutual friend to show her the paper.

What She Saw Made Her Blood Boil

teen in shock

Since Tiffany had sent the essay to a group chat with their mutual friend, she quickly found the file on her phone to show to the college sophomore.

According to her online post, what the 19-year-old girl saw made her feel “livid.”

She Used Her College Essay Draft

teen thinking deeply carefully

“I was completely taken aback. The essay was one of MY college essay drafts which I’d shown to Tiffany for reference on writing TECHNIQUES ONLY,” the older girl revealed, adding that she had made these conditions clear to Tiffany herself.

It Was Personal and Meaningful

teen shocked cant believe it

Part of what fueled her anger was the extremely personal nature of the essay, which Tiffany had stolen and claimed as her own.

“She barely even tweaked it up,” the college sophomore shared. “It was almost entirely copied and pasted. I trusted her with it, and this is what she did.”

She Told The School About It

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“In a fit of rage, I gathered all the evidence of me helping her with the college process, including evidence of me sending the specific essay to her, and I showed it to the school,” the teenage girl confessed in her post.

She Got Her Revenge

teen looking at laptop shocked

Her quick retaliation was effective. In addition to losing her scholarship, the school immediately revoked Tiffany’s offer of admission.

Revenge is Sweet, Right?

teen biting lip worried

However, when word spread of what she’d done, the college student began to doubt the righteousness of her actions. Mutual friends accused the teenage girl of overreacting and effectively depriving Tiffany of the opportunity to receive higher education.

Getting The Scholarship Was a Big Deal

teen fake crying

“She’s the only person in her family to get into college and receive an academic and athletic scholarship, so everyone was rooting for her, including me, at one time,” explained the 19-year-old. “And while I didn’t expect the outcome to be so severe, it was.”

Was She Wrong?

teen feeling bad

“Right now, I feel bad. I feel terrible,” she wrote, deeply troubled. “I did myself justice, but at the cost of someone’s dreams.” Was she justified in reporting Tiffany’s plagiarism to the university that admitted her?

Social Media Supported Her Decision

social media likes

Unfortunately for Tiffany, public opinion in the comment section sided overwhelmingly with the college sophomore who reported her dishonorable actions.

It Was Her Own Fault

teen with us flg

“YOU didn’t cost your friend her dream. SHE cost herself her dream by plagiarizing someone else’s work,” reassured one fellow Redditor. “She is the ****ole for taking advantage of someone who just wanted to help her for her own gain. … Try to ease up on yourself.”

You Cannot Steal Other People’s Work

senior professor pointing finger

“If she is plagiarizing just to get in, she is definitely not going to survive her first semester in college,” reads the most up-voted comment.

“Most colleges have a no-nonsense policy with stealing others’ works. I have seen many of my peers who have forgotten to cite their source properly for their quotes and get in trouble with the school.”

Plagiarism is a Serious Offense in Colleges and Universities

university hall

For those who are considering following in Tiffany’s dubious footsteps, U.S. colleges and universities regard plagiarism as a very serious offense. Students who appropriate another’s work risk a failing grade, suspension, or even expulsion from the school.

Maybe turn to ChatGPT and ask for a better rewrite instead, folks?

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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

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