How to Get Into College With a Felony on My Record

by Nicholas Pell

Everyone gets jitters about applying to college. Nowhere is this more true than when you are a convicted felon. While you may feel a little awkward at first, it's important to remember that a felony does not exclude you from a college education. It doesn't even necessarily bar you from getting financial aid. There are even some grants and scholarships for convicted felons wishing to go to college. Once you get over the initial feelings of uneasiness, getting into college with a felony isn't much more difficult than without.

Find a program. Decide what you want to study, and where. Colleges are a lot more receptive to anyone who has a plan in mind. Narrow your choices down to three or four possible majors even if you aren't yet sure what you want to go to school for. Your sense of direction will likely impress the admissions board. Make sure to look for any special requirements on felons during the application process.

Accentuate the positive. The college is going to know that you were convicted of a felony. Take that as a given. At the same time, remember all of your positive points. Make a list for yourself of your positive attributes. Remember to highlight these in your application and admissions letter. You may wish to write your application essay about how your felony conviction changed your life for the better.

Look for financial aid. The good news is that if you have any non-drug related conviction, you are still eligible for federal student aid. Make sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This provides you will low-interest loans, as well as grants and work study. Begin researching grants for convicted felons especially if you do have a drug-related conviction. Start with calling the financial aid office at the institution of your choice or your probation officer.

Provide excellent references. The best way to show the college of your choice that you've changed your ways is through references. A former or current employer, a clergymen, a community leader, or your parole or probation officer can all provide excellent references that count for a lot more than your word.

About the Author

Nicholas Pell began writing professionally in 1995. His features on arts, culture, personal finance and technology have appeared in publications such as "LA Weekly," Salon and Business Insider. Pell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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