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Articles / Applying to College / Transfer Options for Student Once Expelled from High School

Feb. 27, 2018

Transfer Options for Student Once Expelled from High School

Question: I'm a college student and have been at community college for around 3-4 yrs, given that I've changed my major, and want to transfer to a 4 year university. Back when I was in high school, as a junior, I was regrettably expelled for a terrible mistake of catching felony charges off of school grounds. Although I was not convicted of any crime my expulsion still remained. Of course I've fundamentally changed as an individual and have focused my life of trying to pursue a degree in math and trying to get into a good university. I was wondering if taking it upon myself to do alot of community service could help ease the potential blow of having such a thing on my disciplinary record from high school when applying as a transfer student to university? I really hope there's some way I could prove to the universities that I've grown as a person, other than having to go to the millitary.

 You need to tell your colleges what you have told “The Dean.” If your college record is clean and your recommendations are positive, then most admission officials will be willing to give you another chance. You can explain the changes in your life in your application essay, or in the “Additional Information” section of your applications, or in a separate unsolicited letter.


The fact that you were not actually convicted of any crime will work in your favor, especially because felony convictions can mean that students are denied financial aid.

Performing community service is almost ways a plus ... if not for college-admission purposes then for personal karma. ;-)  However, if you start your service just before you submit your applications, it could look suspicious ... as if you’ve only added it for application “window dressing.” More important will be your academic achievements as well as letters from those who can vouch for you. In addition to the required references, you should consider sending an extra recommendation from someone who knows you well (e.g., employer, community leader, therapist, physician, social worker, clergy member) who will attest to your turn-around.

With a strong personal and academic record, your high school misdeeds will take a back-seat spot to your more recent accomplishments. Good luck!

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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