• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Criminal records and University Admissions

  • Schools
  • Thread starter DDTea
  • Start date
  • #1
133
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Back a few years ago, a friend of mine got into some trouble with the law for something involving drugs (possession of some kind of psychedelic drug precursor is all I know). He was given a suspended sentence + probation, which he completed.

In the years since, he has been well-behaved and I recently got back in touch with him. He'd like to reapply to a local university, where has been sitting in on some graduate level Chemistry courses and apparently, blowing away all the other students in those courses and impressing his professors. His chem professor is interested enough to offer him a research position, which he readily accepted.

So at the moment, he has things going for him, all that's left to do is apply to a university and get his life back on track. The problem he's facing, though, is that the university application is interested in whether he has any kind of criminal record. The answer is obviously "Yes," but he's fretting over how it will affect his chances of admission. Does anyone know any way to improve his chances of being admitted in spite of a criminal record?

Any help would be *sincerely* appreciated, because the opportunity being offered to him by this professor sounds pretty amazing.

This friend is not a member of PF, so I'm posting this for him.
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
1,179
0
Write a letter and demonstrate that for the past 3 years he's been clean. The only thing he can do is attempt to show that past habits are indeed in the past.
 
  • #3
133
0
Does anyone have any idea how much a criminal record would count against an applicant though? Would a few letters of recommendation be enough to swing the balance in his favor or is it an automatic kiss of death? Also, what would university admissions offices consider convincing evidence that his "past habits" are truly things of the past?

It's a weird situation and I haven't met anyone else who's been in it, or I imagine people just wouldn't talk about it very openly if they were. As such, there aren't a whole lot of people to turn to for advice.
 
  • #4
6,814
12
Does anyone have any idea how much a criminal record would count against an applicant though?
It generally wouldn't. If they ask for information, answer truthfully, but you are under no obligation to provide information for anything other than what was asked. Universities are more interested in your ability to complete the program than your private life, and so it's really better if you talk about what you can do, rather than dwell about past issues.

Remember it's an application for a university, and not an application for sainthood.

It's a weird situation and I haven't met anyone else who's been in it, or I imagine people just wouldn't talk about it very openly if they were.
Something that might help you is that people on admissions committees also have past histories.
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
24,331
7,176
I disagree somewhat with twofish-quant. In my experience, it varies by university. Which is an argument to apply to more places than you might have otherwise.
 

Related Threads on Criminal records and University Admissions

Replies
14
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
3K
Replies
13
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
521
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
12
Views
5K
Replies
15
Views
7K
Top