Yes. Unfortunately, colleges and other schools can consider your criminal history when deciding whether to admit you. There is no anti-discrimination law for individuals with a DUI on their record. However, not all schools will hold your DUI against you, and not all DUI’s are considered equal. Here’s our guide to how DUI’s are viewed by colleges, medical schools and nursing schools—and what you can do about it.
DUI’s and College Applications
When you apply to be accepted into a college (or other institution of higher learning), the application will ask you if you have ever been convicted of any crime. You must disclose your DUI. The college may take one of several actions:
- Deny your application. A school can simply deny your application because of your DUI record. They do not have to provide justification for this. Some have a flat policy against admitting any student with a criminal record. Most do not have a policy that strict, but may reject an application with a DUI on a case by case basis.
- Consider your application, but take the DUI into account. Some will still take you into consideration for admission, but the DUI will factor into their decision. For example they may have another applicant with similar academic credentials but a clean criminal record. That person may be moved up the list ahead of you.
- Ignore the DUI. Some schools simply don’t take a DUI into misdemeanor DUI consideration. They will treat you like any other student. This is most common with technical schools and community colleges.
Not all DUI’s are equal in the eyes of a college. For example, many will ignore a single misdemeanor DUI, but they will disqualify you if you have a felony DUI—or multiple DUI’s of any kind. Some universities have a clear policy you can look at before you apply, but many will not.
Note: One thing you should never do is lie about your DUI or hide it. If you’re asked to disclose it, do so. Many colleges will admit a student with a DUI on their record—but no college will admit a student who lies about their record. The lie, not the DUI itself, could get you rejected.
DUI’s, Medical School and Nursing School
Specialized school may take a much tougher stance toward DUI. In particular, medical programs and nursing programs are very careful about the criminal history of the students they accept.
However, you may still be considered. Both types of programs typically have an admissions board that considers each applicant on their individual merits. If that board believes you are still a good candidate, they have the power to admit you.
While every board varies, many boards will give more weight to recent DUI’s than to older ones. If a DUI happened four years ago when you were a freshman, and you have a clean record since, they may admit you anyway. But the DUI will be considered. Placement in these programs is competitive, and they have other candidates with no DUI. The best things you can do to improve your chances are:
- Disclose the DUI up front and explain the circumstances.
- Maintain a clean criminal record after the DUI.
- Take actions to show that you have put the incident behind you. Go to a voluntary alcohol or drug counseling program. Volunteer in the community. Help with programs that discourage drunk driving.
- If you are still dealing with the DUI charge, do everything you can to avoid pleading guilty or being convicted. Speak to a DUI lawyer to help you fight the charge.
How to Get a DUI off Your Record
If you have a DUI on your record, a DUI lawyer may be able to help you get it expunged. An expunged DUI no longer appears on public records and will typically not be held against you in school admissions.
Education is both an investment in the future and a gateway to a career path. Don’t let a single mistake derail your life. We can match you with a top Los Angeles DUI lawyer who knows how to fight current DUI charges and get past charges expunged. Your DUI lawyer will give you a 100% FREE consultation and discuss your options for protecting your education path—and your future career. Just fill out the form to your right or call (310) 896-2724 and let us set up your FREE consultation today.