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Articles / Applying to College / Must I Report a High School Expulsion on College Transfer Application?

Must I Report a High School Expulsion on College Transfer Application?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 2, 2015

Question: I decided to go for my GED after not being able to successfully pass a mandated state testing math portion, I am currently enrolled at a Community College and am now in the process of filling out college transfer applications. Since I won’t be putting down any high school information, do I need to disclose an expulsion?

 If an application asks about expulsions, you must reply honestly, even if you don’t plan to include high school information. In fact, your transfer college may require a high school transcript, although you are applying as a GED recipient. (Note, however, that college admission officials put far more emphasis on the college record than on the high school record when evaluating transfer candidates.)

Thus, you need to write a letter to your transfer college(s) explaining the reason for your erstwhile expulsion. Emphasize what you learned from the episode and how you have moved on (providing examples, if appropriate).

Although it’s certainly possible that your past infraction might slip by an admission committee if you decided not to mention it, it’s also possible that college officials could unearth it later on. And if they find that you weren’t fully honest on your application, you could end up with yetanother expulsion on your record!

However, if you want to write back and tell me more about the high school incident, I may be able to advise you more specifically on how to report it to colleges.


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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