UC Personal Insight Question Plagiarism Check

According to the UC Counselors and Advisers Bulletin – January 2021:

In January, all personal insight questions are reviewed by an anti-plagiarism software program. If contacted by UC for verification, applicants will have the opportunity to demonstrate that their PIQ responses are their own work. Applicants who are unable to provide evidence that it is their own work or who do not respond in the designated timeframe will have their UC applications withdrawn.

I previously discovered UCOP had implemented some kind of plagiarism check with no notification to the applicants (started in the 2019-2020 cycle). Now you will at least have a chance to defend yourself. Make sure you check your email (the one associated with your UC Application) often and keep an eye on your spam folder (and “Promotions” tab for Gmail) as UC correspondence frequently end up in there.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t post your Personal Insight Questions online and don’t share them with your friends (in case one of them decides to co-opt parts/all of them), and make sure you tell people you work with (tutors, teachers, professors, school/independent counselors, etc.) not to share them!


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20 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Jakereply
January 20, 2021 at 12:33 pm

So as long as we do not receive anything in January we are okay?

Ms. Sunreply
January 21, 2021 at 10:53 am
– In reply to: Jake

That should be the case.

Jessicareply
January 21, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Did these emails already get sent out? And if not, when will they be sent out?

Ms. Sunreply
January 21, 2021 at 1:24 pm
– In reply to: Jessica

I only know what the UCs said in the update (“In January”). You need to be checking the email associated with your UC Application at least three times a week (including the spam folder and “Promotions” tab if you use Gmail) between December and July because UCs use email as the primary mode of communication. Gmail now deletes spam older than 30 days and there is no way to figure out if students missed important communications from the UCs after the fact (such as when they get rejected by all of the UCs).

Fingers crossed no one wins the cyber black hole lottery (happens every now and then – emails disappear into a black hole never to be found again).

Conorreply
January 31, 2021 at 1:42 pm

I checked my email and did not receive anything. I know it says “In January”, but is there a chance that we might still be notified in February?

Ms. Sunreply
January 31, 2021 at 2:06 pm
– In reply to: Conor

Like I mentioned in my response to a previous comment, I only know what the UCs said in the update (“In January”). You need to be checking the email associated with your UC Application at least three times a week (including the spam folder and “Promotions” tab if you use Gmail) between December and July because UCs use email as the primary mode of communication. Gmail now deletes spam older than 30 days and there is no way to figure out if students missed important communications from the UCs after the fact (such as when they get rejected by all of the UCs). Fingers crossed no one wins the cyber black hole lottery (happens every now and then – emails disappear into a black hole never to be found again).

Dylanreply
February 18, 2021 at 1:31 pm

Is this only for flagged PIQs? Or is it similar to the December audit where it’s random? I have not gotten anything so far, so I’m just wondering.

Ms. Sunreply
February 18, 2021 at 5:32 pm
– In reply to: Dylan

This is a targeted inquiry (NOT random) to students whose PIQs were flagged by anti-plagiarism software.

Karenreply
February 22, 2021 at 10:17 am

Someone from my school got an email almost a month ago back in late January saying that the deadline to reply was February 10th. Do you believe they are still sending out emails to applicants this late?

Ms. Sunreply
February 22, 2021 at 11:37 am
– In reply to: Karen

The information released by the UCs said the requests will go out “in January” so I would presume that to be the case.

Harrisonreply
March 14, 2021 at 2:45 pm

So this is sort of like a screening in January, and those that are okay get passed through for review, while those that are not okay are notified in January?

Ms. Sunreply
March 14, 2021 at 3:15 pm
– In reply to: Harrison

Based on how UCs do the random application audit, I would think this screening is done at the same time as the application review. In that case, everyone’s application is being reviewed no matter what, but UCOP compiles a list of students who have failed the plagiarism check and sends it to the campuses, and the campuses check their admit list against that (and remove students on the failed plagiarism list from the admit list) before releasing the decisions.

It’s kind of inefficient, but it ensures there are no delays in the application review process.

Harrisonreply
March 14, 2021 at 3:22 pm

So as long as I did not receive an email in January, I passed the plagiarism check?

Ms. Sunreply
March 14, 2021 at 4:12 pm
– In reply to: Harrison

That would be my guess. You need to keep an eye on your email account (including the spam folder) since the UCs send everything through email (open and scan through all of the messages; sometimes important information is buried in the middle or end of a promotional-looking email).

Danreply
March 14, 2021 at 3:31 pm

So basically as long as we did not receive an email in January we have passed the check then correct? Because in the statement it says that they would notify in January?

Ms. Sunreply
March 14, 2021 at 4:13 pm
– In reply to: Dan

That would be my guess. But you should be keeping an eye on your email account (including the spam folder) since the UCs send everything through email (open and scan through all of the messages; sometimes important information is buried in the middle or end of a promotional-looking email).

March 14, 2021 at 3:38 pm

Someone posted this on Reddit on January 27th:

“It has come to our attention that your responses to the personal insight questions identified below may not be your own and therefore, your application will be cancelled to all the UC campuses you applied to. If you have already received an admission decision from a UC campus, your admission decision will be rescinded. You may submit an appeal to this decision by submitting this form with your explanation no later than February 10, 2021”

If we didn’t receive this then did we pass the checker?

Ms. Sunreply
March 14, 2021 at 4:14 pm
– In reply to: P

That would be my guess. Continue to keep an eye on your email account (including the spam folder) though, since the UCs send everything through email (open and scan through all of the messages; sometimes important information is buried in the middle or end of a promotional-looking email).

Stephaniereply
May 3, 2021 at 8:49 pm

What happens if one gets caught plagiarizing on the piqs? Does it go on their permanent record?

Ms. Sunreply
May 3, 2021 at 9:24 pm
– In reply to: Stephanie

The student won’t be offered admission by the UCs and will probably end up on a blacklist of some sort (I heard the UCs mention a blacklist before, although I’m not entirely sure how something like that can be implemented; but, I suppose, at least at the undergraduate level, UCOP can screen the applications against a blacklist?).

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