Yes. Yes. And yes. The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment due process clauses will not save you here. There is generally no anti-discrimination law for people who have been convicted with a DUI. Not all schools will penalize a potential student for a DUI and not all DUIs are considered equal by schools. Nevertheless the topic of graduate schools and DUIs can have a serious negative impact on future college applications. Still, even if you are applying to graduate school and have a DUI all hope is not lost. Graduate schools and DUIs have a complicated relationship. Many colleges lately do not consider one DUI, especially if it is your only offense and happened in your younger years as the end all. With that said the topic of graduate schools and DUIs is still highly debated among higher education institutions and there are still colleges that will immediately deny an individual with one.
DUI’s and College Applications
When you apply any college or school (including nursing schools and trade schools) applications tend to ask if you were ever convicted of a crime. If you do not want to be immediately rejected, disclose your background. The college then has a few options in evaluating your application
- Deny your application. A school can toss out your app based solely on your criminal background.
- Review your app, but consider your DUI. If it comes down to you and another prospective student and your background has a mark as a result of a run in with the law, and the other student’s record is clean. The other student will likely get in.
- Ignore the DUI. Many schools (junior colleges and tech schools) could care less about your situation if it’s a misdemeanor or your first time offense. Multiple criminal issues on your background will be an issue.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Never, ever, ever, be untruthful about your background. Many colleges in the United States will admit a student with a DUI on their record, but no college will ever admit a student who lies about it.
Graduate Schools & DUIs
These schools are more demanding from their students…in and out of the classroom. Medical, Nursing, and Law programs are highly selective about who they let into their schools. Nevertheless, all three types of schools tend to use admissions boards that weigh a number of factors in making a decision. Most boards will also tend to be kinder to older DUIs over newer ones.
To improve your chances of getting into such graduate schools:
- Disclose the DUI
- Maintain a clean criminal record after the DUI.
- Prove you have improved as a person
- Show your sobriety (community service, programs you attended, dismissals etc)
What You Should Also Do!
- Talk to a DUI attorney!
- Know what to expect if its your first DUI
- Know what to say to a police officer if your ever in a DUI stop again!
- Learn how your financial aid or scholarships might be impacted from a DUI