Admissions

Impact of Multiple Middle-School Suspensions

Question: Will middle school behavior records prevent me from getting into a good college? I'm a great student, but in the 8th grade I got 1 Out of School Suspension and a handful of In School Suspensions.

As “The Dean” has explained many times before, students are not required to report disciplinary action that occurred in middle school (or earlier) when they apply to college. Only infractions that took place during high school must be disclosed.


So you’re off the hook there. But the fact that you’ve had one OSS and several ISS’s should be a warning sign to you. Typically when I hear from 7th and 8th graders who are worried about disciplinary action on their permanent record, they’ve been busted for an insignificant incident like sending a Snapchat in science class or lingering too long in the hallway with a bathroom pass. They swear they’ve never been in trouble before and won’t ever be in trouble again, but they’re mortified that this single misdeed will haunt them through graduate school!

But your situation is a bit different. You’ve already been in trouble a few times. And although these middle-school missteps won’t be on your college applications, you may be caught in a pattern that’s hard to end. You need to ask yourself why you keep breaking rules and how you can stop the cycle. Even if your violations are minor, you don’t want to get a reputation as a scofflaw. Once you do, teachers and administrators could be on the look-out for you, and you might end up in hot water for behavior that other students who aren’t regulars in the principal’s office can get away with.

So see if you can keep your record clean for the rest of the semester. And, if you can’t, it may be time to seek some counseling to help you figure out why you’re a great student but perhaps not such a great citizen.