The main aim of education is to foster equality and good citizenship. However, not at all times will everyone get to do a course that they desire or join a school of their choice. In such cases, many factors are prevalent like poor performance, lack of finances or criminal records.
Many people tend to ask themselves many questions such as whether they can be able to join institutions of higher learning having criminal records. Well, that depends on how ready you are to persevere in order to achieve your goals irrespective of your past wrongdoings.
This post vividly discusses what college degree felons should consider, potential careers, financial options and much more. The aim of the content is helping anyone with a past criminal record realize his or her dreams through a college education.
College Degrees for People with Criminal Records
Notably, joining a college is possible even with a criminal record. However, what matters most is your course selection in college. Your criminal history will naturally have an impact on your career. This calls for you to turn that challenge into an opportunity.
You should take into account the probabilities of you being hired in the field you choose. The medical and psychological fields should be your last options. You are likely to face job discrimination in these areas, however, except becoming a substance and drug abuse counselor.
How do you determine which college degree is best for you?
The best way is to look at it from an employer’s point of view. If you have criminal records on the theft of money, for example, accounting should not be your option. It is essential to recognize that you need to become a behind the scenes guy. For those with a violent history, companies might want to keep you at a distance with the customers.
Fortunately, the field of engineering is very promising for former convicts. A degree in this area can secure you a place in the factories programming and be making robots instead of operating them in the field. You can be sure of a decent income with minimal discriminations. Currently, the demand for such experts is higher and the more you are educated, the more companies will want you to work with them.
People convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, which is a lesser offense to a felony, can follow them for up to ten years. Therefore, a job requiring much driving is not a viable option for them.
For sexual and violent crime offenders, the education field may present hiring biases, especially when working with minors. Besides, some colleges have adopted strict hiring processes. A university or a post-secondary college may consider you if the incident took place over ten years ago. Additionally, more qualifications such as Ph.D. and prior teaching experience may come in as an added advantage.
Getting a degree is the main thing to keep in mind. You just need to have a working plan and go steps further to asking companies what degrees would suit their future needs.The major go-for-it degrees are electronics, computer technology, art, graphic design, foods industry, law/legal studies, landscape architecture, language translator, and vocational fields such as mechanic, construction, and plumbing among others.
Financial Options For Ex-con Students
Having a criminal record will reduce your eligibility chances of some of the financial aids. Incarceration or any conviction will limit your eligibility for the federal student aid. Whether you are in a state or federal institution, you cannot get federal student loans or Federal Pell Grant. The same will apply if you are in a private college.For those on probation or parole, you are eligible for federal student aid. However, your eligibility may be limited if your conviction was for drug-related or sexual offenses.
If your criminal record was on a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense, and you are subject to involuntary civil commitment, upon completion of the incarceration period for that offense, you cannot get a Federal Pell Grant.
Resources for Students with a Criminal Record
I. The National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN) – This body is a national coalition dedicated to serving ex-cons. They do this through helping you face the barriers to unemployment success. They offer education supportive services and skill training to ex-cons. Additionally, they work with federal state, and city policy makers in an attempt to further advocacy and anti-poverty efforts.
II. The National HIRE Network – Helping Individuals with Criminal Records is a national clearing house for helping people with criminal records. They do this by finding job opportunities and counseling ex-cons thereby increasing their employable skills. By doing more research, there are many more resources, which former convicts can use to pursue their goals.
It is important to approach your college like someone who made mistakes and is learning from them. You do not need to run away from it or even lie about it. Face it in a positive manner for it to help you pursue your college education.
Tips for filling out Applications
Below are a few of the tips that will assist with your application, help you lead a normal college life and a successful after-school life.
A. Be Prepared – Prepare your mind well to be able to answer any questions about your past if the college asks you for an interview. Some positive things to stress are you understand your mistakes, and you have accepted responsibility, and most importantly, you have moved on. Put your conviction in a positive light and emphasize on your lessons from the incident.You would not want to present yourself in an awkward and suspicious condition. Pull yourself together to ensure you avoid giving irrelevant and contradicting information. Remember those who process college applications are elites.
B. Own Up To it – Hiding from your past is the worst thing you can do to yourself. If you sweep it under the rug, the school might discover it, and that can ruin your admission chances.
C. Align Your Learnings with College’s Mission – Schools share many principles. Some colleges highly value people with self-awareness. Understanding the school’s policy will help you align your past with the principles. You would want to reflect on how your experiences made you a more self-aware person and how it has given you direction in life.
D. College Application – Turning the application weaknesses to strengths is one of the best things you can do to ensure admission. This move is as counteractive as it sounds, but it is not easy.However, if you can be smart enough about it, you can leverage the wrongdoing as a life changing and a learning experience. The main agenda is to accept yourself while still showing the rest of the world that you are a corrected and changed being.
Everybody knows that people make mistakes. Moreover, a majority of us can identify with a decent redemption story. If your application requires you to submit an essay, you would want to use it as an impetus. If you decide to do so, be truthful and make sure not to blame anybody; on the contrary, own your mistakes.
Before accepting applications, most colleges are currently opting to run criminal background checks on their applicants. Hence the need for ultimate honesty during your application process. Your college will not ignore your honesty. You need to earn their trust for the approval of your request. Besides, if they find out on themselves about your hidden past, your acceptance chances will reduce significantly.