Q: Why is there an Applicant Code of Conduct?
A: Once admitted to a professional pharmacy degree program, students are considered to be members of the pharmacy profession and therefore bear the responsibility to adhere to the professional, ethical, and legal standards prescribed for the practice of pharmacy and their pharmacy degree program. The ethical and legal responsibilities of student pharmacists are typically reviewed during orientation to the professional degree program and throughout the time the student is enrolled in school.
Applicants to pharmacy degree programs, although not yet members of the profession, are likewise bound to legal and ethical standards of behavior during the admissions process. Pharmacy degree programs are encouraged to admit applicants with “a high level of professionalism or professional potential.”
Q: What is the Applicant Code of Conduct based on?
A: The Applicant Code of Conduct provides an explicit statement of applicant responsibilities and expected standards of performance and behavior. Applicants must electronically sign a copy of the code of conduct, signifying that they have read and agree to accept the code’s provisions. It is drawn from the ethical principles of the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists.
Misconduct, as defined in the Applicant Code of Conduct, and all forms of dishonesty, will not be tolerated in the application process. Pharmacy degree programs will determine whether an applicant has violated the Code of Conduct and whether sanctions should be imposed. Sanctions imposed include, but are not limited to, revocation of application, or sharing information with admission committees about the applicant’s behavior. Any applicant found to have violated the principles of conduct risks losing the privilege of applying to or entering the pharmacy profession. Conduct violations will be communicated to all pharmacy degree programs in the U.S. as well as other health education associations.
Q: What is the Code of Conduct violation policy?
A: Misconduct, as defined in the Applicant Code of Conduct, and all forms of dishonesty, will not be tolerated in the application process. Pharmacy degree programs will determine whether an applicant has violated the Code of Conduct and will report this to a Conduct Review Panel, which is a sub-committee of the PharmCAS Advisory Panel that will confirm if a violation has occurred and whether sanctions should be imposed. Sanctions imposed by the institutions and the PharmCAS Advisory Panel include, but are not limited to, revocation of application, or sharing information with admission committees about the applicant’s behavior. Any applicant found to have violated the principles of conduct risks losing the privilege of applying to or entering the pharmacy profession. Conduct violations will be communicated to all Pharmacy degree programs in the US as well as other health education associations.
Q: What is the Code of Conduct appeal policy?
A: If you are found to have violated the Applicant Code of Conduct, AACP offers the option of one written appeal (via email). Such an appeal must be requested in writing to AACP within 10 business days of the notification to the applicant of the determined violation and sanctions. The specific timing of the appeal process is determined by the timing of the applicant’s submission of materials for the Conduct Review Panel’s consideration. Specifically, the applicant may submit material separately and after submitting the notice of appeal. The members of the original Conduct Review Panel involved in the determination will review the request for appeal and any new information provided. Any reversal of the violation determination will be communicated to all parties previously notified.
Q: What is the PharmCAS Conduct Review process like?
A: When a student’s PharmCAS application is first put on hold, it means that it has been reported to AACP and/or to PharmCAS that academic or professional misconduct (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, harassment, misuse of university facilities, stealing destroying or damaging university property etc.) may have been committed by the applicant and it was not cited by the applicant in the Background section of their application that it occurred. AACP and PharmCAS can be notified by institutions or through Turnitin that there is potential academic or professional misconduct. At this time your information has only been pulled for the monthly panel meeting and no decision has been made. This time can best be served by reviewing the information sent to you from AACP to understand why it was flagged. Please be aware that until a decision has been made by the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel, there is not much information to provide to an applicant under review.
Q: How long does the PharmCAS Conduct Review process take?
A: The PharmCAS Conduct Review panel meets once a month (mid-month) to go over pending cases. At that time, they are reviewing all new cases since their last call and all appeals from the prior month’s cases. This can be a lengthy and painstaking process, but they work to go through each case individually and thoroughly. After the meeting, AACP then works to notify each student of the decision that has been made. The specific meeting date cannot be provided. Students will be notified as soon as possible with more specific information regarding their case, sanction, appeal process, etc.
Q: What if there is an impending school deadline and my application is on hold?
A: All cases go through the PharmCAS Conduct Review process, regardless of whether they will miss a deadline. If your application was submitted prior to an individual degree program’s deadline, then you have met the deadline for that degree program. After your case has concluded, all degree programs you applied to will be notified of the result, including if you were cleared of any violation. Degree programs can then decide how they would like to proceed.
Q: Can I withdraw my PharmCAS application?
A: No, applications that have been placed on hold for review by the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel cannot be withdrawn. The application was submitted and your signature on the PharmCAS Applicant Code of Conduct and Certification and Verification statement served the same purpose as a legal signature, and are binding.
Q: Can I apply to non-PharmCAS degree programs while my application is on hold?
A: No, you should not apply to non-PharmCAS degree programs while your application is being reviewed. After the conduct process concludes, all pharmacy degree programs, PharmCAS and non-PharmCAS, are notified of your sanction.
Q: Can I create a new PharmCAS application while my account is under review?
A: No, DO NOT create a new PharmCAS application while your current application is under review by the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel. Your new account would be placed on hold as well and this information would be reported to the Review Panel.
Q: What do I do now that my application is on hold?
A: Once your application is placed on hold, there is not much information to provide until the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel meets to review your case. You will be informed of their decision as soon as it is available. This information will explain whether the Review Panel decided that you violated the PharmCAS Applicant Code of Conduct or not. If you have violated the code of conduct, you will be given a sanction and explanation of what that means. Lastly, you will be given information on the appeal process for your sanction if you choose to do so. All information is distributed through AACP; PharmCAS will not be able to answer any questions regarding your case. If you have questions, please email Conduct@aacp.org.
Q:Can I or will I meet or speak with the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel in person?
A: No, you will not and cannot meet or speak with the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel in person. All materials, whether it is for your initial review or your appeal, are sent through AACP and will be provided for the Review Panel to review and discuss. Please send all information to Conduct@aacp.org.
Q: What do I need to do to appeal the given sanction?
A: Once your case has initially been reviewed by the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel, you will hear from AACP with the Panel decision via email. As stated in that letter you receive from AACP, you are given ten (10) business days to submit your appeal letter and any documentation. To facilitate the appeal process, please submit any notice of appeal and additional documentation in writing via email to Conduct@aacp.org. An exact deadline will be provided to you as well.
Q: What is Plagiarism?
- The Merriam-Webster online dictionary and Plagiarism.org define to plagiarism as:
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
- to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
- Plagiarism.org is a great source to learn about what plagiarism is and how to prevent it.
Q: What is Turnitin?
- Turnitin is the online plagiarism checker used by PharmCAS to detect plagiarism in PharmCAS applicants’ personal statements.
- Turnitin scours the web to match content submitted by applicants to that found on web pages, archived student papers, and published articles. Matches are then documented into a Similarity Report. The Similarity Report shows what percentage of your personal statement matches content found on the web. When you apply through PharmCAS, your Similarity Report is provided to every degree program you apply to.
- Turnitin.com will provide more information on how the service works and what you can expect.
Q: What are some of the most common sites that the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel see flagged by Turnitin?
Q: What if I submitted the wrong essay in my PharmCAS application?
A: No changes can be made once an application is officially submitted. As noted in the PharmCAS Instructions, applicants are encouraged to click the Save button and then return to the Personal Essay to review their work before submission.
Q: I used the same essay last year, so why was it not a problem then?
A: Degree programs that you applied to in a prior cycle may not have reported it, but your similarity report would have been the exact same. This cycle, one or more of the degree programs you applied to did choose to report your personal statement for potential plagiarism and therefore, it will be evaluated further.
Q: What if I can prove that this is my own work?
A: If you are confident this is your own work and have the evidence to back that up, then you can email Conduct@aacp.org with that information. AACP would need solid proof to clearly demonstrate that this is your original work. Some examples of acceptable forms of proof: screen shots of the creation date of your essay from your computer, documents of transactions or submissions to sites that were flagged in your Similarity Report.