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Criminal charges may affect your ability to attend college

When you think back to the day you got arrested, you may recall that things had been going quite well up that point; in fact, you were even preparing to apply to several colleges in Tennessee and beyond in the near future. The incident that led to your arrest has caused you to rethink some things although you'd still like to go to school once you rectify your current situation and get things back on track.

The problem is that might be easier said than done depending on the outcome of your circumstances.If you've heard that your criminal record may impede your chances of getting accepted at the college of your choice, you likely heard right. Anything from DUI to illegal drug possession can cause serious obstacles in the college application process.

How criminal charges may affect college application and financial aid

You may have heard it said that you should never let your past define you, but you should let it shape who you become. That said, you are definitely not the only pre-college student to face negative circumstances involving criminal charges. A single incident need not permanently taint your entire future. The following information explains how criminal charges may create an obstacle:

  • If the court hands down a conviction and you go to jail, it might not keep you from earning college credits as some people do that from behind bars. However, while you're incarcerated, you will not be eligible for any grants or loans to help meet college expenses.
  • Well over half of all colleges in the nation take criminal histories into consideration when reviewing applications.
  • Some Tennessee residents have successfully sought expungements of their criminal records. If the court grants you an expungement, any past convictions would become inaccessible to the public upon review of your criminal history.

It's understandable that you'd hope for success when fighting against criminal charges in court; that would mean you could move forward without worry in your college application process. While it's possible to act on your own behalf in court, it is not recommended as you may have greater chance for success by acting alongside experienced legal representation.

Earning a college degree is a worthy goal, to be sure. Almost no one who graduates college does so without encountering challenges along the way. Facing alcohol or drug charges does not necessarily lead to conviction, nor does it necessarily mean your future plans are unattainable. A successful outcome may hinge upon the type of support you acquire.

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