Many careers require a college education. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, marketing expert or web designer, you’ll need to attend college before entering the job market.
Acquiring a postsecondary education offers multiple benefits, such as an increase in your employment opportunities. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities reports that college graduates are more likely to remain employed during recessions. A typical salary for someone with a high school education is only 62% of the typical salary for a college graduate. College acceptance isn’t guaranteed, however, and you may be wondering if you can attend college if you’ve been arrested. Let’s look at the law and some other factors to consider when you’re planning for your education after an arrest.
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No law prohibits a person who’s been arrested from attending college
People who’ve been arrested can apply to college. There’s no law preventing colleges from accepting students who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes. Some colleges may have policies about accepting a student who’s been arrested or has a criminal record, and whether you’re eligible to attend a specific school will depend on the school’s policy.
Note that there’s a significant distinction between being arrested and being convicted of a crime. An arrest is not a conviction, and a person who’s been arrested may not have a criminal history. It’s also crucial to consider the reason for the arrest. Failing to pay a speeding ticket, out-of-season fishing and unlicensed pets can all lead to an arrest. Consequently, people can be arrested for minor offenses that are resolved without jail sentences.
Colleges have traits they look for in students
Colleges review all applications, and applicants have interviews as part of their applications. The college admissions review board assesses each applicant to determine if they should accept them.
The interview offers an opportunity for a student with an excellent personality to impress the review board. Your grades are only one component of your application. Colleges want applicants with specific characteristics and may accept students with lower grades over those with higher grades if they have desirable traits. What do colleges look for? Leadership skills are valued. Strong leaders can positively impact their peers and go on to outstanding career opportunities as CEOs or public relations specialists.
College admissions review boards also appreciate applicants with strong public service records. A history of volunteer work and commitment to social causes can bolster your chances of acceptance, and it could also be the reason you were arrested if your arrest occurred at a protest.
Your arrest record may affect your career goals
Running a background check is a straightforward process. Anyone can go to websites that enable users to access personal information about individuals. A person only needs your first and last name to run a background check online, and anyone with your date of birth and address will find it easy to confirm they’re accessing your public records. Since arrest records are public, anyone with internet access can confirm whether you’ve been arrested.
While your arrest record may not prevent you from attending college, it could have an impact on your career plans. Suppose you want to become a teacher. The Pennsylvania Department of Education runs a background check on all applicants. Section 111(e) offenses include homicide, kidnapping and rape. Anyone convicted of those offenses is banned from working for schools in PA for life.
Other states also impose bans on people with felony convictions, while convictions for minor crimes may result in bans of three, five or 10 years. Colleges may consider your arrest record if you’re applying to an education program because you may not be able to complete the program’s practicum requirements.
You can attend college if you’ve been arrested. Each college can set its policy about admissions, and the school will determine whether your arrest record affects your application.