Getting into college with a criminal record may seem impossible, but it is important to not lose heart. Every day, people with mistakes in their background graduate from college, and knowing how to get into college with a criminal record will put you on the right path for success. As you explore your options, use these strategies to get into a college that will allow you to pursue your intended career.
Identify Potential Colleges
Making your college plans should always begin with some research regarding potential colleges to which you can apply. Begin by checking out the application process for your preferred colleges, and remember that you can contact the admissions department to inquire about their requirements regarding criminal records. If they do screen for criminal records, keep in mind that they may still consider your application after hearing the facts regarding your specific situation.
Consider Potential Career Options
Going to college is the best way to start a successful career, and knowing your preferred career path can help you narrow down your list of potential colleges. Before you embark upon your educational career path, you should be certain that your intended career accepts those with a criminal background. For example, teaching positions sometimes require a background check, and certain programs may exclude applicants with specific offenses. Knowing this before you start can help you tailor your degree plan to one that fits your eligibility.
Answer Screening Questions Honestly
As you begin the application process, it may be tempting to lie about your criminal history. Omitting your criminal record will only harm you in the long run. If your college runs a background check prior to your being admitted, then it could be cause for denying your application. It is also possible that your college might find out later and kick you out of the program. Instead of lying, be honest about your criminal record, and prepare an explanation of your case to use during the formal interview. Often, colleges are simply trying to rule out potentially violent prospective students, and they may be willing to accept you if your offense was nonviolent or occurred outside of a certain time frame.
Know Your Financial Options
Many people with criminal backgrounds often assume that they are not eligible for financial aid. While you may not be eligible for certain types of federal aid while you are incarcerated, students with criminal convictions who have been released may be eligible for financial aid from the government. It is important to know your status along with the types of aid that are available to help you pursue your dreams. Local scholarships, work-study programs and student loans are a few more options to explore.
Consider Online Colleges
Today, getting into college with a criminal record is easier when you can bypass certain screening questions. Since many universities screen for criminal histories out of a concern regarding student safety, these standards are sometimes relaxed for online schools where students do not meet in person. If you run into roadblocks during your college search, then checking into an online school could help you find a program that fits your background.
College offers those with a criminal background a fresh start toward living a better life. Today, many colleges screen for applicants with a criminal history, but they also take an understanding approach during the application process. By knowing how to navigate through the process of finding and applying to the right school, getting into college with a criminal record is possible for everyone.