So, I Got Suspended...

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: November 2003 Archive: So, I Got Suspended...
By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:16 pm: Edit

NEWLY-ADDED PREFACE: Thanks for your concern, but I'm not interested in fighting the administration about this or otherwise raging against the machine. Please confine discussion to how this suspension will effect my college chances. Thanks!

How's that for a thread starter? I recently was suspended from school for five days, the first disciplinary action taken against me in my entire academic career (I was a conscientious objector in preschool food fights. I was squeaky-clean).

I was a contributor to an underground newspaper at my high school, which had been published for twenty-six straight years. Our publication was to our official school paper as South Park is to CNN; that is to say, it was a generally offensive humor rag with not a lot of journalistic merit. Seeing as I have a taste for humor's darker meats, I was flattered when I found myself on this year's staff. Unfortunately, this just so happened to be the year when the crackdown finally came. The school made it known that they wanted to meet the editors, and I turned myself in (They would NEVER have caught me otherwise, because I can turn myself invisible through the sheer power of my mind). It was, I still think, the right thing to do.

So, I found myself kicked out of school for five days, though this was reduced to four due to good behavior and a plea bargain involving a public apology and a promise to dissuade anybody else from publishing that particular underground paper.

Aaaaaaanyway, I'm not worried about this impacting my second-quarter grades, as I'm allowed to make up all long-term projects and tests in all my classes for full credit. Plus, I've got a great bunch of teachers this year who are willing to let me make up daily work. So grades won't be a problem.

So, let's assume for a moment that I get an average Counselor Rec (This will be no mean feat; she was vehemently opposed to our paper. However, I was the only staff member to inform her of my involvement face-to-face, which, again, was the right thing to do. She's a great lady). I can pretty much count on at least two stellar Teacher Recs, so that's not a problem. Also, the Principal himself (the guy who suspended me!) told me that he'll write me a great rec if I ask him to.

How much do you think this suspension will impact my chances at the following schools: Beloit, Carleton, Claremont McKenna, Colorado College, Grinnell, Haverford, Hendrix, Macalester, Pomona, Skidmore, & Swarthmore?

To help you in reaching your ominous and terrible judgement, here's a very brief rundown of my achievements to date:

Rank : 21/507
GPA (weighted / unweighted) : 4.49 / 3.74
SAT : 1600
ACT : 35
Writing: 800
Math IIC: 800
Literature: 790
AP Tests : Euro Hist AP (5)... I'm taking IB, so I'm not going to bother with a bunch of extraneous tests for AP, too.
National Merit : Semifinalist, probable Finalist

ECs include a six-week stay alone in a village in rural Mexico, helping the inhabitants there to learn certain things about hygiene and nutrition. I also have significant and recognized skill in art and political cartooning.

Well, for those of you brave enough to slog through this novella, sock it to me. I know this unfortunate turn of events will have some impact on my chances, but I'm still hoping it won't blow me out of the water.

By Deusexmachaera (Deusexmachaera) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:21 pm: Edit

Under what rational did they shut you down? Is it a private school?

By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:25 pm: Edit

The paper was offensive to the straight-laced. Naughty language and questionable subject matter. You know, like a Friday night in printed form. I'm not arguing their decision to shut it down, or the punishment. I am extremely understanding towards the administration and see exactly where they are coming from.

And no, our school is quite public.

By Warriorlax22 (Warriorlax22) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:26 pm: Edit

Beloit, Carleton, Claremont McKenna, Colorado College, Grinnell, Haverford, Hendrix, Macalester, Pomona, Skidmore, & Swarthmore? about you try names like the Ivy Leagues? Chicago? Stanford? Hopkins? you most certainly have the numbers to back it up.

By Vsage3 (Vsage3) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:31 pm: Edit

Having much respect for southpark's social commentary embedded in an otherwise outrageous story, I am a little pissed after reading this. Do conservatives run your school? Yesh. On every college application there is a spot to say 'Have you ever been suspended?' and then there is 'explain on another sheet of paper'. Civil disobedience sorts of suspensions aren't really frowned upon by colleges, especially in your case. Don't worry about it. Although I'm sure you have good enough reasons, why aren't you applying to HYP? You could get in anywhere.

By Deusexmachaera (Deusexmachaera) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Unless it was so offensive as to qualify as pornography, or to give the school a *compelling* interest in shutting it down, they can't do that. Freedom of the press still applys. What did you do, put on the front page? Also, was it distributed on school grounds? Unless you did some really outrageous stuff, they can't shut it down, much less suspend you for it--merely offending the straightlaced certainly doesn't qualify.

By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Visited a few of the Ivies, and didn't really care for them. Just not my flavor. :)

Thanks for the input guys, you're alleviating some tension.

Please Note: I am not interested in fighting the administration or turning this into a free speech issue. I believe I have been treated fairly and have no interest in raging against the machine. Believe me, I get enough arguments like that at school! ;)

By Vsage3 (Vsage3) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Deusexmachera, freedom of the press protects citizens directly from the government's wrath. The thing about schools is that, although they can't arrest you, they can do other things. Principals I guess aren't seen as government officials but rather operators of private institutions with the right to censor. A guy at my school a few years ago, protesting the requirement of the length of skirts to be down to the knees, decided to wear a miniskirt. Ironically, nothing happened. I guess what I'm saying is although the principal of Radiostar's school may have been being a little strict, it was probably within his rights if anything in the newspaper (assuming it was distributed at school) had things in it that violated the code of conduct.

By Deusexmachaera (Deusexmachaera) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:58 pm: Edit

Vsage, this case would be a pretty direct descendent of Tinker. The school is an agent of the government, and as such is bound by the bill of rights. The school, since it has in loco parentis, can do stuff like this if they have a compelling interest to protect their students. An example would be if they published a top ten reasons this teacher should be shot list. That would qualify. However, uncouth humor certainly does not.

By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:00 pm: Edit

Again, I really appreciate the discussion, but PLEASE do not derail my thread. Thanks.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:55 pm: Edit

This is a case where you probably need to tell the schools you're applying to what happened. That shouldn't be a problem - you've done an excellent job of starting your explanation in the post above. I found your writing style and your story refreshingly direct and honest. I think most of the schools on your list will too and won't hold this totally against you (especially because you turned yourself in and this wasn't exactly a case of robbing a bank or shooting up in the school bathroom).

Places like Beloit, Macalester and Hendrix are pretty tolerant places so I'd say you're still safely in at those three. Claremont McKenna strikes me as being more conservative so it may not sit well with them. As for the others - if you address this in your application/essays and stress what you've learned from this experience (but DONT attack the school admin. in any way), it shouldn't devastate your chances. Do so in your own voice without making excuses just like you did above. Of course, that's just MY opinion and is no guarantee beyond that. Good luck.

By Fiza (Fiza) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:41 pm: Edit

Just explain to the colleges what happened- SOON. They'll understand. It wont hurt ur chances of getting in.

By Smorealum (Smorealum) on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 12:54 am: Edit

Tell it Swarthmore straight. It won't hurt you there.

By Smorealum (Smorealum) on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 01:35 am: Edit

Tell it to Swarthmore straight, in a separate explanation that covers the ground you cover here. It won't hurt you.

By Royalchk (Royalchk) on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 04:53 pm: Edit

Your suspension won't affect your chances as much as your inability to distinguish nouns from verbs in common usage, Radiostar.

What editor of a publication confuses 'affect' and 'effect'?

Just kidding :)

By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Well, this just in for those few of you still reading the thread:

My college counselor was so angered by the offensiveness of our paper that she has declined to write college recommendations for me or any of my fellow editors. Instead, the school principal will be writing our counselor recs for us, which he assured us will be positive.

I'm not sure what impact this latest development will have, or how the colleges will view a rec coming from the principal as opposed to one coming from the counselor. I am beginning to worry that, come April, I will be left with a fistful of very slim envelopes.

By Royalchk (Royalchk) on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 10:34 pm: Edit

A fistful of slim envelopes is probably about as thick as a single thick one. No worries.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, December 04, 2003 - 12:58 am: Edit

I think a rec from the principal is fine. It's SOP at some schools anyway. If I were you, I couldn't help worrying about it but I don't think you should.
How's that?

By Smorealum (Smorealum) on Thursday, December 04, 2003 - 03:15 am: Edit

Agree with Thedad.

Writing is your strong suit. (Actually, it's one of several.) Let your voice come through in your applications, and you should be fine.

By Radiostar (Radiostar) on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 08:50 pm: Edit

Thanks for your input. I'll keep this thread updated as the process continues slowly onward.

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