Can You Go To College With A Misdemeanor

Can You Go To College With A Misdemeanor

One thing that every institution will be examining and evaluating the candidate very closely is their criminal record. A college is more likely to prefer a candidate with a spotless record than one with an assault conviction or an offence. Not only will colleges review your past, but if your criminal record offends them, several scholarships, financial aid programs, and even housing options can deny you admission. A misdemeanour or criminal offence could even result in your expulsion from college if you are already enrolled

Can You Go To College With A Misdemeanor?

Our younger years are typically the time we make a lot of mistakes in our lives. We aren’t sure of the consequences; we’re trying new things, and we’re out on our own for the first time. That should be the time when we should be allowed a little leniency with our mistakes, but with colleges, that leniency does not exist.

Misdemeanours are still serious and will show up in your criminal record. Examples include shoplifting, graffiti, and trespassing. When colleges do a background check, they see your criminal record, and having a misdemeanour in your history may be what has them choosing someone without a criminal record over you. Misdemeanors come with fines, community service, and possible jail time. The likelihood of getting into or remaining in college is slim.

How Can A Criminal Record Affect My College Career?

There are many ways in which having a criminal record can not only affect your probability of getting into college but also interrupt a college career that is already in process. Three ways in which committing a misdemeanour or felony can halt your educational goals include:

  • Admission: A majority (66%) of the responding universities get criminal justice information, although not all of them take it into account during the admissions process, according to the Center for Community Alternatives. The likelihood of private and four-year schools gathering and utilizing this kind of data is higher than that of public and two-year institutions. Even if all of your convictions are minor, having a diverse range of criminal records is seen negatively when applying for admission. To obtain information about a student’s criminal background, many universities rely on self-disclosure. Nevertheless, if a student omits information about their criminal history and the school finds out later in the admissions process, the student will likely be rejected.
  • Accommodation: If you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to live in one of the apartments or other types of accommodation on campus. One in three Americans has a criminal record, according to the Centers for American Progress. Many recently jailed individuals are denied housing, which many in the community feel is unfair and creates further obstacles for those attempting to get past their criminal past.
  • Financial support: Students who might require financial assistance to attend college can apply for student loans and financial aid through the Financial Student Aid program. However, you are ineligible for federal Pell grants and federal student loans, among other loans, if you have a criminal record. In addition to having the ability to reject applicants, private lenders are more inclined to offer money to those without a criminal record.

From these examples, we can see how it can be quite unfair for those who have a criminal record, even for something as simple as graffiti or shoplifting. Should crimes such as these keep you from seeking out an education? Are you seeking out ways to better yourself? An attorney may be able to help.

What Is Expungement?

You might want to apply to have your criminal record erased if it is keeping you from enrolling in college. “An expungement, also known as an Order for Destruction of Arrest Records, commands all records of your charge to be deleted from the files of each state agency that maintains that information,” states South Carolina law, expunging criminal charges from your record. It is as though the crime never occurred, and this might have a huge impact on your application materials for employment and institutions..

To have a criminal charge expunged, you must fulfil certain requirements, submit the required paperwork and applications, have the order from a judge issued, and have the order distributed across state entities.

It can be quite disheartening and upsetting to apply to colleges and universities if you have a criminal record. You can not only be denied admission to a college but also the financial assistance you require to enrol in education altogether. It could be tough to obtain lodging, even if you are accepted. For this reason, consulting with a juvenile defence lawyer can help you save a great deal of suffering.


In summary, only very few undergraduate schools actively discriminate against applicants with minor criminal records. Many universities pride themselves on interacting with people in the criminal justice system. Schools offer sociology courses inside prisons or even full-degree programs to prisoners behind bars.

However, there are some barriers for college applicants with misdemeanor offenses. Colleges routinely ask about criminal histories. Applicants with a record may be asked to pay for a background check or be required to fill out additional paperwork. Federal student aid has restrictions for students with drug-related histories.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What’s the most you can do with a misdemeanor? A misdemeanor is described as a crime where the maximum sentence is no longer than one year in a county jail and a fine up to $1,000. An aggravated misdemeanor is a crime that can be punished by up to one year in a county jail and a fine of $1,000 or more.
  2. What is the lowest form of misdemeanor? Class C is the least serious, while Class A is the level right before a charge becomes a felony. While each degree of charge has its potential penalties, no misdemeanor charge can have penalties involving more than one year in county jail.
  3. Are offenses more serious than misdemeanors? A misdemeanor offense is a less serious crime than a felony offense. A felony offense is the most serious crime you can commit. A felony conviction comes with long prison sentences, fines, and potentially permanent loss of freedom.
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