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Will criminal charges ruin one's chances for college?

Being charged with a crime is a serious matter for anyone in Florida. However, for those who are planning to attend college, the repercussions can be even more significant. Avoiding a conviction is always the primary goal of an individual facing criminal charges, and should be a top priority in the timeframe after arrest. However, one recently published piece may offer hope to those in the state who already have a criminal record.

Information provided by the University of Central Florida states that having a criminal conviction on one's record is not necessarily a roadblock to admissions. While applicants are required to disclose a criminal record, there is a process in place through which it is possible to be cleared for admittance into the school. In fact, the University received approximately 800 applications in early 2014 from individuals who had been convicted of a crime. Of those students who followed through with their application, only 39 individuals were not cleared for admission.

In making the decision on whether or not to admit a student with a criminal record, administrators use a review process. This involves speaking with professionals who know the applicant, including probation officers and staff within a detention center where the prospective student was held. In addition, administrators might ask questions concerning the student's current support system. Each case is looked at individually, and more serious crimes will receive a greater level of scrutiny.

For those in Florida who are concerned about how criminal charges might affect their ability to attend college, the best course of action is to avoid a conviction. However, even if this is not possible or if there are other convictions already in place, the information provided by the University of Central Florida suggests that it may still be possible to further one's education. At the end of the day, our lives are largely dictated by the choices we make, and everyone has the ability to make choices that lead to a different path. For some, working toward a college degree is a path toward a different future.

Source: centralfloridafuture.com, "UCF admits 497 students with criminal records in past year", Adam Rhodes, Nov. 21, 2014

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