Should a student provide negative information on their college application?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,267
    Jerome Cole, Director of College Counseling at the Edmund Burke School in Washington D.C., discusses if a student should provide negative information on their college application.

    Jerome A. Cole, MA

    Jerome A. Cole, M.A., is the Director of College Counseling for the Edmund Burke school in Washington, D.C. and the founder of Cole Educational Consulting Services (Cole ECS.) He has worked with students and families for over seven years to help them plan and strategize for college. As a college counselor at Burke, an independent college preparatory high school founded in 1968, Mr. Cole oversees a program that is designed to support students and families as they go through the selection and admission process for college. Mr. Cole advises over 100 students each year in a small academically challenging environment where every senior is expected to apply to and enroll in college. Prior to Burke, he was a school counselor at Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has successfully counseled hundreds of students and helped them prepare for admission to a variety of schools such as: American University, Clark-Atlanta University, Davidson College, George Washington University, Harvard University, Pitzer College, Stanford University, Temple University, and the University of Maryland at College Park, to highlight just a few. He established the consulting firm Cole ECS to provide students and families with the necessary information and support to make the best choice for college. Cole ECS defines the best choice as the optimal learning and social environment to ensure a student’s holistic success, culminating in on-time or early graduation and desirable post-graduate options. Mr. Cole earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University, and then went on to obtain a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from George Washington University. He is certified as a school counselor and is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC).

    Host: Should a student provide negative information on their college application?

    Jerome Cole: The colleges ask for that information on the transcript and students really have no option. They have to answer it honestly. Those same questions will be post to one of the school officials, probably your Counselor. So, if there has been an expulsion, the Counselor will have to answer that question. So, if you say No and he says Yes , there is a conflict there, there is a little bit of a problem. So, the first thing that I would advice families and a student is, be honest.

    The second thing is, there are certain states in this country where they actually do background checks. So, if you have an arrest on your record that could show up in that background check. So, go ahead and put that negative information on there.

    What is important to note is that, students make mistakes all the time. If there has been a suspension, if there has been an expulsion for whatever reason, go ahead and annotate that on the transcript, I mean on your application. At the same time, colleges will give you the opportunity to go and explain the circumstances behind what happened. They understand that young people make mistakes, they also understand that young people need to be given a second chance and colleges are going to do that. So, do not be hesitant about doing, about disclosing that negative information.

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