The college admissions process can be a stressful time for any prospective student. With competition against other students, the race to meet application deadlines and worrying over programs, finances and starting a new phase in life, the last thing anyone should have to be concerned with is their history of DUI convictions.
Unfortunately, a DUI is a fact of life for many, and it can certainly affect any decision when it comes to college admissions. The type of DUI conviction may have more influence on a college admission than anything. Since there are two different types of DUI convictions – felony and misdemeanor – each will appear on any criminal background check. Misdemeanor DUIs are typically first-time convictions, while felony DUIs can have different aggravating factors like a high blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest, prior convictions, child endangerment or more. For traditional college students, those who are attempting to enroll in a college or university straight out of high school, any DUI charge falls under the zero tolerance laws for any drinking under the legal age of 21.
Because of the seriousness of a DUI charge, no matter which kind, the reputation that follows a conviction can color the final decision of a college admission. While many first-time DUI offenders can clearly prove the DUI incident was a one-time issue, for those with multiple DUIs or a habitual pattern of drinking and driving, most colleges and universities will deny admission. Another consideration for anyone who has a felony DUI conviction is how it will affect that person’s ability to receive financial aid or assistance.
The best plan of action for anyone with a DUI conviction who is applying to colleges and universities is to be honest with any admissions officers about the charge. The ability to learn from your mistakes can sometimes be a beneficial addition to any application for college. It can even be an opportunity to show that you are able to rise above any negative behaviors and become a much better student and member of society as a whole.