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How do criminal charges impact college admissions?

| Sep 4, 2020 | Felonies |

Recently, your child had a run-in with Georgia law enforcement that resulted in criminal charges. While working with a legal advocate to build a defense, you and your teen may wonder how the incident may affect college admissions. 

The Brookings Institution explores how institutions use criminal records in the admissions process. Arm yourself with the proper knowledge to help ease your concerns. 

Public and private institutions

A majority of private schools and roughly half of public schools ask undergraduate applicants about their criminal history. If applicants indicate that they have a criminal past, they may undergo further reporting, such as a full national background check funded by the applicant. 

While the current federal financial aid application limits its criminal history questioning to offenses that took place while a student received financial aid, applicants must still respond. The line of questioning bears little relevance to first-time college students, but an answer in the affirmative could affect an applicant’s access to financial aid. 

Range of criminal history request

It is not unusual for colleges to ask for information regarding any manner of a criminal conviction without including a range of time. By contrast, employers often only ask for information about convictions, usually felony convictions, within a specific frame of time. 

Occasionally, colleges request details about warnings for trespassing, high school disciplinary violations, pending felony charges and misdemeanor arrests. Pending charges may negatively affect an applicant’s chances of acceptance. 

Additional screening process

While college applicants with criminal histories may not receive automatic rejections, they could endure extensive further scrutiny. Some students find additional screening to be disorienting and disheartening. It is not unusual for students with criminal backgrounds to drop out of the application process. 

Understand the hurdles your child can expect during college admissions. Learning how to overcome common obstacles could make the process manageable. 

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