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Answering Questions About Juvenile Arrests on College Applications

Answering Questions About Juvenile Arrests on College Applications

Getting into college can be really hard. Especially if you have a juvenile record. Colleges ask about arrests on applications which can be super stressful. But having arrests as a kid doesn’t mean you can’t go to college. Lots of schools give second chances if you’re honest. This article explains how to deal with the arrest question on apps.

Do Colleges See Juvenile Records?

The law says colleges can’t see sealed juvenile records. But they might find out anyway. It depends on the state. Some states seal records at 18 automatically. Others you have to ask a judge. Federal privacy laws like FERPA also limit what schools can see. But they make exceptions for safety issues. So colleges might see juvenile records if there’s concerns. They can’t use them to reject you without reason though.

The bottom line is colleges might find out about juvenile arrests somehow. So don’t count on records being totally secret. Be prepared to explain just in case.

Should You Admit Juvenile Arrests?

This is a tough call. If colleges don’t ask, you don’t have to tell them. But if they ask directly you shouldn’t lie. That could get you in more trouble later. Admitting arrests shows maturity and honesty. But it also looks bad obviously. There’s pros and cons to think about.

Pros of Admitting Arrests

  • Shows honesty and integrity
  • Demonstrates you’ve learned from mistakes
  • Prevents issues if school finds out anyway
  • Might help explain gaps in grades or activities

Cons of Admitting Arrests

  • Makes you look risky or dangerous
  • School might reject you automatically
  • Opens up chances of bias against you
  • Forces you to relive difficult experiences

There’s good reasons for either choice. You have to decide if honesty is worth the risks. Think about the school and your comfort level. There’s no one right answer. But lying is definitely not recommended if asked directly.

How to Explain Juvenile Arrests

If you admit arrests, how you explain them matters. Don’t make excuses or blame others. Take responsibility for your actions. But also highlight the circumstances and how you’ve changed. Give context but don’t justify bad behavior. Here’s some tips:

  • Be brief – give just the key facts
  • Focus on the positive – what you learned and how you grew
  • Emphasize remorse and making amends if possible
  • Tell how it motivated you to improve yourself
  • Assure the school you’re committed to academics and rules

Also prepare to explain gaps in your record caused by arrests. Show how you got back on track after. Help them see you as more than just your record.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

How Colleges View Juvenile Records

Colleges say they understand kids make mistakes. Many have lenient policies for juvenile crimes. But in reality some still hold it against you. It depends on the school and record. Violent crimes especially make admissions very hard. Small stuff like shoplifting or vandalism may not matter as much. Top schools tend to be stricter too.

We don’t want to punish youths forever for bad choices. But we have to balance care with campus safety. Certain serious offenses raise red flags we can’t ignore. – Admissions Dean at Ivy League University

You usually won’t know how they’ll view it until you try. Have backup options in case schools reject you. Consider starting at community college then transferring. But don’t assume arrests will keep you out everywhere. Many admissions officers genuinely believe in second chances.

Students Who Overcame Juvenile Records

Plenty of students with juvenile records get into great colleges. It’s inspiring to see them use education to turn their lives around. Here’s two real life examples:

Marcus, 18 – Accepted to NYU

Marcus got arrested for selling drugs as a 15 year old. He was struggling in school and fell in with a bad crowd. After a 6 month probation, he changed his life. Marcus got counseling, improved his grades, and even launched a youth mentoring program. On his NYU application he was honest about his past. He’s now a sophomore studying social work.

Alicia, 21 – Accepted to UC Berkeley

Alicia got a misdemeanor assault charge for fighting when she was 17. At the time she was in foster care and lashed out from the stress. After counseling and community service, Alicia found stability with an adoptive family. She explained all this in her UC app. Berkeley saw her potential beyond past mistakes. Now she’s thriving there and wants to become a lawyer.

The point is you can overcome early challenges. Colleges care about the whole person. Juvenile arrests don’t define you. Keep working hard and don’t lose hope.

Help for Students with Records

You don’t have to navigate this alone. Many non-profits help students with juvenile records get to college. Here’s some great resources:

Connect with groups like this for advice and support. You deserve a chance to pursue your dreams.

Moving Forward with a Record

Having a juvenile record makes getting into college harder but not impossible. The key is taking responsibility, being patient, and highlighting your growth. Colleges may be cautious at first. But by being honest and working hard, you can show your past doesn’t define you. What matters most is who you are today and your potential for tomorrow. Don’t let mistakes stop you from a bright future.

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