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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of 8th Grade Infraction for Internet Game on Permanent Record?

June 23, 2010

Impact of 8th Grade Infraction for Internet Game on Permanent Record?

Question: My son is in 8th grade, and he got a long-term suspension for playing FMK game (F*ck, Marry, K*ll), a rather popular game on the Internet. He passed notes with his friends listing many people they know at school. He tossed the paper into the recycling bin, but the janitor found it and reported it to the principal. We explained that this is a mindless game that's played by many people, but the principal wouldn't change his mind about the blight on my son's record being permanent until he graduates from high school. How seriously will this be viewed when he applies to college?

I assure you that his episode will have no effect whatsoever on your son's college-admission decisions. His applications will ask about any suspensions he received during high school, but, fortunately, he's not there yet. And, even if he were, this sort of thing can be explained to colleges and would probably be regarded as merely a youthful rite of passage, assuming he's kept his nose clean since.


Nonetheless, you should read your son this recent "Ask the Dean" response that I sent to a sixth-grader who, like your son, was involved in one aberrant indiscretion at her middle school. http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/will-6th-grade-detention-affect-college-admission It will help to remind your son that, although the infraction you describe will have no impact on his college plans, he does want to be careful to avoid being labeled a trouble-maker, which might happen should he be even peripherally involved in additional incidents.

As the mother of a 7th grader, I know that a lot of these kids' games are "mindless" indeed, just as you've dubbed the one your son was playing. However, he should also be warned that any undertaking that includes the word "kill" can carry more gravity than is intended, especially in the current climate where bullying is under a microscope at many schools.

So, again, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to this recent disciplinary action, but do caution your son that he now needs to be especially wary of future trouble.

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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