Starting this year, colleges are requesting student disciplinary records.
In years past, there was only a yes or no check box about whether the student had been suspended or subjected to school-related or legal disciplinary action on the application, but now colleges want a more detailed report of past offenses.
“It is their way of making sure that they preserve the safety of their campuses and minimize safety risk,” Associate Superintendent Brigitte Sarraf said.
The new policy is not meant to further negatively impact a student’s chances of getting into college. According to Assistant Principal Morenike O’Neal, colleges want students to be honest about what they have done in high school.
“[The record’s impact] is not different from the impact of grades,” O’Neal said. “It is weighted the same as grades. Colleges cannot compare a student [without a record] against one who has a disciplinary record.”
Though recommended, it is not required that high schools send detailed disciplinary reports to colleges. Therefore the MVLA school district has decided to only disclose major discipline violations. According to Sarraf, this is consistent with what many other schools are doing.
Minor offenses will be referred to as a “Home Detention” or “Suspension,” so as to not make a student’s application look worse for a small offense.
This plan was developed by the district’s administration team and counseling staffs. The National Association for College Counseling Admission board has also suggested this strategy and begun to use it.
“Our interest is to make sure that minor transgressions on part of students, especially in the early years of high school, do not become an obstacle to them in the college admission process,” Sarraf said. “[But] at the same time we are honoring the expectations of colleges and universities.”
Some of the school’s administration attended the National Association for College Counseling Admissions’ workshop in Seattle in September, where they were informed that colleges are not keeping students out of school for telling the truth, but for not realizing their mistakes.