Challenging Backgrounds

Some students come to me with unusual challenges in their background; they might have been caught with drugs or alcohol in school, or received a disciplinary action on their transcript (maybe they’d been involved in a fight or were disrespectful to a teacher). Any of these infractions can result in suspension or expulsion.

When this happens, families worry that college admissions will suffer as a result. In my experience working with students with unusual challenges I have found that the best way to help the student’s potential acceptances is by being honest, forthright, and transparent.

Colleges, for the most part, are looking to understand a student’s background and the circumstances around such events. They are willing to consider the issue, rather than simply withdraw an already accepted student or deny an applicant. But it is important for the student to take responsibility for what he did—this is not the time to argue that it was the other student’s fault.
It’s important that you seek advice on how to disclose a disciplinary action in your record. When it comes to telling your story, an independent college consultant or guidance counselor can provide valuable information about what to share, and how to go about sharing it.

From my point of view, the most important lesson here is to face the difficulties in your past and to show that you are ready to move beyond them.