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Articles / Applying to College / Will 8th-Grade Cheating Affect College Verdicts?

July 27, 2016

Will 8th-Grade Cheating Affect College Verdicts?

Question: I was accused of cheating when I was in 8th grade. Will this affect my chance of getting into the college that I really want to attend?

What happens in 8th grade stays in 8th grade. You are not expected to report to colleges any misdeeds that occurred before you started high school, and your school officials will not report them either.


Juveniles not yet in high school who are convicted of a serious crime in a court of law may have to disclose this on applications, depending on the circumstances. But even a felony should not keep an otherwise worthy candidate of any age out of college, although it might have an impact on some decisions and … depending on the timing … possibly on financial aid eligibility. But the garden-variety teen offender like you, whose transgression occurred in school and before 9th grade, receives a “Get Out of Jail Free" card when it comes to college admission.

Thus you can consider your cheating episode a part of your past that will not haunt you in your future. But I do hope you learned from this mistake. Any sort of academic dishonesty committed in high school can definitely affect your college outcomes and, should such an incident occur once you get to college, it will most likely lead to expulsion.

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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