Conduct Violations

Good judgment, honesty, and integrity are important qualities of prospective health care professionals. For that reason the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) includes the following question on their application (additional questions may also be found on other applications).

Felony Convictions

“Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Felony crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you were adjudicated as a juvenile, or 2) convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court (in states where applicable)?”

You need NOT disclose any instance where you:

  • were arrested but not charged;
  • were arrested and charged, but the charges were dropped;
  • were arrested and charged, but found not guilty by a judge or jury;
  • were arrested and found guilty by a judge or jury, but the conviction was overturned on appeal; or
  • received an executive pardon.

Misdemeanor Conviction

"Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Misdemeanor crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you were adjudicated as a juvenile, 2) any convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court, or 3) any misdemeanor convictions for which any probation has been completed and the case dismissed by the court (in states where applicable)?"

You need NOT disclose any instance where you:

  • were arrested, but not charged;
  • were arrested and charged, but the charges were dropped;
  • were arrested and charged, but found not guilty by a judge or jury;
  • were arrested and found guilty by a judge or jury, but the conviction was overturned on appeal; or
  • received an executive pardon.

Additional Question

“Were you ever the recipient of any action (e.g., dismissal, disqualification, suspension, etc.) by any college or medical school for unacceptable academic performance or conduct violations?”

By use of the term “any action” it is understood that schools intend for you to report any sanction (the only exception being an “admonition” in which there was no subsequent violation of policy) handed out by the Undergraduate Conduct Board or as the result of an administrative hearing with a dean from Student Conduct. This includes, but is not limited to, disciplinary probation, suspension or probation, housing license revoked or placed in imminent jeopardy, etc. If you are in doubt as to whether an offense and its aftermath is reportable, it is imperative that you see a health professions advisor to discuss the particulars.

Remember, it is always better to report and explain an incident than to fail to report it and risk a school learning of the offense and concluding that your failure to report it is a sign of dishonesty rather than non-intentional omission. The advisors are in a position to help you understand how to present your infraction honestly and appropriately.

Please be aware that poor judgment in your undergraduate years may seriously affect your admission to a health professions school. While it is best not to have any infractions to report, depending upon the seriousness of the infraction, it need not be the end of your dream. But health professions schools will want to know that you take responsibility for your mistakes and that you have learned from your lapse in judgment.

It should not be necessary to state that falsification of any information on your application to medical schools (or in the information you provide to the HPA or one of the advisors) may jeopardize your dreams of becoming a health care professional.  Several years ago we had a case of a student who falsified information and was discovered. He was told by the medical school at which he was planning to matriculate that his acceptance would be rescinded and he therefore withdrew from the medical school before that happened (less than two weeks before the start of classes). We hope this will never again happen with a Duke applicant, but the HPA Office has an obligation to the medical schools (and future patients) to report dishonesty should we become aware of it—and, chances are we would eventually find out.