Can I go to graduate school if I have a felony on my record?
Having a higher education can help you move into the career of your dreams. For some people, getting that education can be a long-term challenge. Strict educational requirements for certain professions mean that years of extra schooling will be necessary before you can start working in that field.
Between when you commit to a career and when you actually achieve your dream job title, a lot of life happens. You may find yourself arrested for a criminal offense and facing charges. Although your first instinct may be to get the criminal case over with as quickly as possible, that isn’t the best strategy for someone with plans for the future.
If you plead guilty or get convicted of a felony offense, will that prevent you from going to graduate school?
Your criminal record can affect enrollment and financial support
Although there have been efforts at the federal level to change the rules for educational institutions, they are all currently allowed to inquire about criminal records. Many people will find that they have an uphill battle securing enrollment with a felony record, especially at prestige schools that only accept a fraction of the annual applicants.
As if that weren’t enough, a criminal record could also impact your eligibility for private and public financial aid. Certain convictions can prevent you from qualifying for federal student aid, although these rules have changed in recent years. Many colleges and private organizations that fund scholarships also perform criminal background checks and will not offer scholarships or similar aid to those with felonies in their background.
Those with big dreams have a lot to lose in criminal court
Criminal convictions can affect everything from someone’s freedom to their professional licensing and employment. Whether you want to practice law or medicine, a graduate school degree may be necessary for the job of your dream.
If you plead guilty to a felony offense or fail to mount an adequate defense against pending charges, you will have much more serious hurdles to overcome. You will have far more opportunities in life when you avoid conviction by mounting a rigorous defense. Understanding the possible penalties and lifelong limitations a criminal charge can create for you, you may understand how important it is to assertively defend yourself in court.