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"Should high school punishments go on college applications?"

They are basic yes-no questions that ask whether a college applicant ever got into trouble in high school. Yet they're anything but simple, say some who want run-ins at school or with the law taken out of the college admissions equation.


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I think it's better to state it and explain it than to leave it off. 

Say what happened and what you learned. 

("That was high school senior Miaija Jawara's approach when it came time to disclose a one-day suspension for a schoolyard fight that happened in 10th grade. She described using the experience to work toward in-school restorative justice in her New York City school.

Even so, "It made me feel like I'm lessening my chances of being admitted," said Jawara.")

I wonder what percentage of applications go through scanners first, weeding them out based on certain key words at certain questions.

I wonder too.

It's still better to own what happened than omit it and risk trouble of being found out later. 

The question is, though, should high school punishments be asked about on college applications, to being with. Lots of pros and cons.

not sure it should matter much at all

It matters. Colleges want to know what rules a candidate has broken, and why. 

If it is not a permanent record offense, why should it be shared and evaluated?  

"At a time of heightened vigilance against campus shootings and terrorism, admissions officials say questions about student discipline are seen as a necessary piece of a much larger picture.

"College admissions is trying to take educated risks, whether it be academic risks or students that have had indiscretions in their past," said Kent Rinehart, dean of admission at Marist College and a board member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

"After the Virginia Tech shooting, colleges really started to look closely at the responsibility the admissions office had in seeing whether there's some warning signs that are going to come along with it," he said.

At Marist, the questions have turned up everything from private school students suspended for not pulling up their socks to cheating, cyberbullying and felony convictions. All, Rinehart said, are taken in context.

The Common Application, completed by 860,000 students last year, added the discipline questions at the request of participating universities in 2006-07. Colleges using their own applications often include them, as well.

New York University in January asked the Common Application to review whether the queries do anything to make campuses safer or discourage minority applicants. The university, which uses the application, this year began ignoring whether the criminal conviction box had been checked until after an initial screening."

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