Preparing for College

Will Year in Rehab Affect College Admission Chances?

Question: I've been in rehab for a year and decided to repeat junior year in high school to get credits. My transcript will show that I've been in rehab. Will this lower my chances of admissions? In other words, even if I am sober now, will my rehab stay affect my chances?

Your experience in rehab may have an impact on your college outcomes, but not necessarily a negative one. Depending on where you are applying, some colleges (especially the smaller and more conservative ones) could decide that an addict--even one in recovery--will not be a good fit for their community. However, admission officials at other colleges may actually feel that the self-knowledge and determination that you demonstrated by going to rehab will serve you well as a college student and may make you more mature and focused than the typical freshman.

I suggest that when it comes time for you to apply to college, you explain your situation in your applications. You can do this either in your primary college application, in a supplemental essay, in the "Additional Information" section that you'll find on most applications, or in a separate letter. It would also be helpful to include an extra recommendation from an adult in your life (preferably not a relative) who can attest to the fact that you are still sober ... a doctor, employer, therapist, probation officer, clergy member, etc. would all be good choices.

Since you have more than a year before you apply to college, you have ample time to prove that your rehabilitation was effective. And if you are able to do this, you will find that the vast majority of admission officials will applaud your success, and your admission odds won't be jeopardized by your experience.

Good luck to you. You may have a rough road yet ahead, but you seem like you are ready to travel it.