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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Multiple Middle-School Suspensions

Impact of Multiple Middle-School Suspensions

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | March 13, 2018

Question: Will middle school behavior records prevent me from getting into a good college? I'm a great student, but in the 8th grade I got 1 Out of School Suspension and a handful of In School Suspensions.

As “The Dean" has explained many times before, students are not required to report disciplinary action that occurred in middle school (or earlier) when they apply to college. Only infractions that took place during high school must be disclosed.

So you're off the hook there. But the fact that you've had one OSS and several ISS's should be a warning sign to you. Typically when I hear from 7th and 8th graders who are worried about disciplinary action on their permanent record, they've been busted for an insignificant incident like sending a Snapchat in science class or lingering too long in the hallway with a bathroom pass. They swear they've never been in trouble before and won't ever be in trouble again, but they're mortified that this single misdeed will haunt them through graduate school!

But your situation is a bit different. You've already been in trouble a few times. And although these middle-school missteps won't be on your college applications, you may be caught in a pattern that's hard to end. You need to ask yourself why you keep breaking rules and how you can stop the cycle. Even if your violations are minor, you don't want to get a reputation as a scofflaw. Once you do, teachers and administrators could be on the look-out for you, and you might end up in hot water for behavior that other students who aren't regulars in the principal's office can get away with.

So see if you can keep your record clean for the rest of the semester. And, if you can't, it may be time to seek some counseling to help you figure out why you're a great student but perhaps not such a great citizen.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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