Preparing for College

Must Sophomore In-School Suspension Be Reported on College Applications?

Question: My child had a one time in-school suspension in 10th grade for playing a computer game during study hall. Should we include it on the college application?

Many college applications--including the Common Application--will ask both students and school counselors to indicate if any disciplinary action during high school resulted in suspension. However, an "ISS" (in-school suspension) may not "count" as a "real" suspension at your child's school. Despite the "S" word in its name, it's arguably really more of a "detention" (which colleges typically don't inquire about).

I suggest that you ask the guidance department if they consider this to be a true suspension --one that will be reported to colleges. If not, then your child, too, can let it go. If, however, the school will report it as a suspension, then your child should do the same. He or she should also provide a very brief explanation of the episode. This explanation can be included in the "Additional Information" section that you'll find on most applications or sent to colleges via a separate, short snail-mail note.

Even if this does turn out to be a reportable offense, it should have no impact on admissions odds. Just make sure that your child's explanation contains some sort of "I learned from my mistake" conclusion and does NOT place the blame for bad judgment elsewhere.