Preparing for College

Must I Report a Middle-School Suspension on College Applications?

Question: I was suspended in middle school for involvement in a fight. Will I need to put this on my college applications, and--if so--how will it affect admission decisions?

Typically, college applications focus on your high school career only, so you’re off the hook for any middle school misdeeds. If, however, you encounter a query about past suspensions, and the wording seems to suggest otherwise (or if you simply feel you’ll have a clearer conscience by doing so), you can ’fess up to your erstwhile infraction with no fear of admission-decision repercussions.

Should you feel that an explanation is in order, it would make sense to be somewhat specific about what happened (assuming that no lives were lost or gunfire was exchanged) so that admission officials won’t think the incident was worse than it really was. That will also give you a chance to note that you learned your lesson before the ink was dry on your junior-high diploma and that your record has been clean ever since.

Again, unless the circumstances that led to your suspension were more serious than you say here, it will not be noted on your permanent record and it will not in any way affect your college plans.