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Liaison International

PharmCAS Applicant Code of Conduct

This page applies to: PharmCAS

Preamble

Once admitted to a professional pharmacy 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 college or school of pharmacy. The ethical and legal responsibilities of student pharmacists are typically reviewed during orientation to the professional program and throughout the time the student is enrolled in school.

Applicants to pharmacy programs, although not yet members of the pharmacy profession, are likewise bound to legal and ethical standards of behavior during the admission process. Colleges and schools of pharmacy are encouraged to admit applicants with a high level of professionalism or professional potential.

The Applicant Code of Conduct provides an explicit statement of applicant responsibilities and expected standards of performance and behavior. It is drawn from the ethical principles of the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists as well as the Responsible Conduct of Research values. Misconduct in any of the principles defined in the code will not be tolerated. Any applicant found to have violated the principles of conduct risks losing the privilege of applying to or entering the pharmacy profession.

As an applicant to the profession of pharmacy, I pledge to:

  • Act with honesty and integrity throughout the admission process when interacting with school admissions officers, admission committees, and PharmCAS staff.
  • Respect the knowledge, skills, and values of those involved in the admission process, including the faculty and staff at schools or colleges of pharmacy and PharmCAS staff.
  • Respect the autonomy and dignity of fellow applicants, admission staff, college or school faculty, staff, and students, and anyone involved in the admission process.
  • Be responsible and accountable for my actions and personally manage and respond to all matters related to my application.

Principles

The following section describes the principles that are the foundation of the Applicant Code of Conduct. The discussion that accompanies each principle is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of all possible situations or examples that may be considered to be violations of the Code.

As an applicant to the profession of pharmacy, I pledge to:

  • Act with honesty and integrity throughout the admission process when interacting with school admissions officers, admission committees, and PharmCAS staff.

Integrity is an obligation that requires each applicant to provide information honestly. Applicants must not falsify information (for example, make a false claim to be an officer in an organization, falsify work experience, plagiarize your personal essay, or provide altered transcripts). Applicants must also reveal information about previous legal offenses pertinent to admission to a professional program (for example, previous felony convictions or drug or alcohol offenses). An applicant should accurately represent herself or himself to staff and others during the admission process. It is inappropriate to contact admission staff to inquire about an application claiming to be someone else.

  • Respect the knowledge, skills and values of those involved in the admission process, including the faculty and staff at schools or colleges of pharmacy and PharmCAS staff.

It is unacceptable for an applicant to disparage the competence, knowledge, qualifications, or services of faculty and staff involved in the admission process. It is inappropriate to imply in word, gesture, or deed that an application has been poorly managed or the applicant mistreated by a staff member without tangible evidence. Professional relations among all members of the admission committees at schools of pharmacy, PharmCAS staff, and applicants should be marked with civility. Thus, slanderous comments, uncivil language, and abusive behavior should be avoided, and each person should recognize and facilitate civil behavior among all involved in the application process.

  • Respect the autonomy and dignity of fellow applicants, admission staff, college or school faculty, staff, and students, and anyone involved in the admission process.

The applicant should use the highest professional courtesy when interacting with fellow applicants, admission staff, college or school faculty, staff, and students, and anyone involved in the admission process. Offensive or threatening comments via e-mail or voice mail messages or any other form of verbal or nonverbal communication will not be tolerated. Inappropriate behavior includes the use of language, gestures, or remarks with sexual overtones. Applicants should maintain a neat and clean appearance, and dress in attire that is generally accepted as professional by faculty and staff during their interview and when meeting with anyone to discuss admission to a professional pharmacy program.

  • Be responsible and accountable for my actions and personally manage and respond to all matters related to my application.

Applicants to a professional pharmacy degree program must demonstrate responsibility by taking ownership of all aspects related to the application process. Applicants are expected to review application materials from PharmCAS and Pharm.D. programs to which they apply. It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet deadlines, provide information as requested, and follow the admission process for each school or college to which they apply. Applicants, not PharmCAS, are responsible for promptly correcting any errors or omissions identified in the applicant’s file.

Applicants are expected to respond to constructive feedback from admission staff and faculty by appropriate modification of their behavior. If an applicant has a question about the pharmacy admissions process after exhausting all available online and printed resources, the applicant should contact the appropriate PharmCAS or pharmacy school admissions office directly for clarification. Staff will not discuss an application with an applicant’s parent, spouse, relative, friend, or employer regardless of who submits the fee payment. The PharmCAS fee payment does not relieve applicants of the obligation to properly submit all requested data and application materials by the deadline.

Applicants who have not been accepted may consult admission staff to learn how they may correct deficiencies in their application or academic performance or seek to learn more about admission criteria for schools to which they may apply, but should remain respectful of decisions made by those involved in the admission process.

Violation Policy

Misconduct, as defined in the Applicant Code of Conduct, and all forms of dishonesty, will not be tolerated in the application process. Pharm.D. programs from colleges and schools of pharmacy will determine whether an applicant has violated the Code of Conduct and will report this to a Conduct Review Committee, which is a sub-committee of the PharmCAS Advisory Committee that will confirm if a violation has occurred and whether sanctions should be imposed. Sanctions imposed by the Pharm.D. programs and the Conduct Review Committee 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 schools and colleges of pharmacy in the U.S. as well as other health education associations.

Appeal Policy

If you are found to have violated the Applicant Code of Conduct, AACP offers the option of one written appeal (via email). Such 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 Committee’s consideration. Specifically, the applicant may submit material separately and after submitting the notice of appeal. The members of the original Conduct Review Committee 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.

In connection with any litigation between or including the parties hereto arising under, out of or relating to the application, you irrevocably consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division; furthermore, you agree to pay all of PharmCAS’ reasonable and applicable attorneys’ fees and costs in the event that you bring any dispute or litigation in connection with, regarding, relating to, arising out of or under the application and PharmCAS prevails or the litigation is dismissed or withdrawn, with or without prejudice.

Conduct Review Process

When a 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 is made by the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel, there is not much information to provide to an applicant under review.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the PharmCAS Conduct Review Process take?

The PharmCAS Conduct Review panel meets once a month (mid-month) to review pending cases. At that time, the panel reviews all new cases since their last meeting and all appeals from the prior month’s cases. This can be a lengthy and painstaking process, but they review each case individually and thoroughly. After the meeting, AACP then works to notify each student of the decision that was 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.

What do I do while my application is on hold?

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 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 cannot answer any questions regarding your case. If you have questions, please email Conduct@aacp.org.

What if there is an impending school deadline and my application is on hold?

All cases go through the PharmCAS Conduct Review process, regardless of whether an applicant 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 to proceed.

Can I withdraw my PharmCAS application?

No. Applications 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.

Can I apply to non-PharmCAS degree programs while my application is on hold?

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.

Can I create a new PharmCAS account while my account is under review?

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.

Can I speak with the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel in person?

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.

What can I do to appeal a given sanction?

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.

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.

Common sites that the PharmCAS Conduct Review Panel sees flagged by Turnitin include:

What is plagiarism?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary and Plagiarism.org define 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.

I used the same essay last year. Why is it a problem now?

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.

What if I can prove that an essay is my own work?

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 are 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.

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