This post continues our discussion of background checks on people who apply for college in Oklahoma.

In our first post we explained that if you apply to any college in Oklahoma, there is a good chance the college will check your background for any arrests or criminal history.

It is well established that the majority of colleges and universities today perform background checks on the students who send in applications to attend the college. It is a part of the admissions process. And Oklahoma is no different. This is a big deal because, as we discussed in the last post, many more students today have criminal records than ever before.

But some of you may be thinking, “well, if it’s more common for students have an arrest record for weed or some other minor offense, then the colleges probably won’t mind.” The logic is that if it’s more common for young people to have criminal records, then it must be more common for colleges to admit and enroll people with criminal records.

That is a rational thought. It makes sense. However, this article will explain why students should be more concerned than ever about colleges discovering their criminal record. Because for those applying to college in 2018, having a criminal record is worse than ever before.

Because More People apply to College than in the Past, You need to expunge your criminal record to improve your chance of admission in Oklahoma

The reason why having a criminal record today has a greater possibility of hurting your chances of going to college is because college admissions is more competitive than ever.

More people go to college today than ever before. Which means even more people try to go to college by submitting an application. The number of seats hasn’t changed. Meaning, the number of students accepted has not really gone up, by the number of applications has.

And it’s not just college but all higher education. More people are applying to graduate school programs, such as Master’s degrees and PhD programs, as well as for professional degrees (for example: law and MBA degrees).

Now, think about what happens in the admissions office that review all of these applications.

What most likely happens is that a group of people (or maybe just one person) is responsible for the initial intake of the applications; that is, reviewing them as they come in. This person or persons may review as many as 90 applications a day. The phrase “speed reading” should come to mind. The application is probably put into a file where all related information – GPA transcript; letters of recommendation – for that student will go.

Later, a committee will probably review your file. There, your file will be debated back and forth, with many things discussed: your academics, but also how well you might fit into the culture of the school. If you have a criminal record, that will also be discussed.

Students should Expunge their Criminal Records before applying to College or to Graduate School Programs in Oklahoma

With the admissions process being more competitive than ever, why would you allow the school access to your criminal records, when you can legally seal those records?

Just think: they are looking for anything they can to separate you from all the other applications. An arrest for public intoxication or public indecency (they won’t know that you were just taking a leak in a dark alleyway) could easily convince an admissions office to put your file in the denial stack.

In Oklahoma, you can expunge certain criminal records if you meet all the eligibility criteria. An expungement is a legal process that seals your records from public access. Universities will not be able to see information on expunged records. Any request for a background check will show nothing if the information has been expunged.

In the next blog post, we will explain how you can seal your records shut from public access by hiring a lawyer to file an Expungement.