How to Deal with a College Application’s Discipline History Question?

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Are you applying for college and wondering how to address college application discipline history questions? Many colleges ask students to discuss their disciplinary violations. Unfortunately, many students don’t know how to go about this because of the fear of the unknown.

If you fall into this category of students, here’s an article for you. We’ve discussed everything you should know about how to deal with college application’s discipline history questions. Let’s go!

What Counts as a Disciplinary Problem in School?What Counts as a Disciplinary Problem in School?

School discipline relates to actions taken by teachers or school authorities on students to correct wrongdoing. These actions are generally implemented when students break existing school laws or when their behavior disrupts ongoing educational activities.

Besides guiding students’ behaviors, discipline can also set limits and help students take better care of themselves and the world around them. That said, here are some of the types of disciplinary problems that are most common in school.


We often hear stories of students shirking from responsibilities and duties, especially from attending school. Although many internal and external factors may lead to truancy, students must understand that it’s a disciplinary problem in most schools.

Therefore, they should strive to deal with whatever problem may lead to truancy on time before it overwhelms them. Factors that can lead to truancy include peer group influence, teaching methods, discipline, poverty, poor parenting, etc. Students facing any of these can always talk to the school counselor or any of their teachers to find a solution.


This involves speaking and acting disrespectfully towards peers and adults. Many schools do not condone acts of disrespect and, as such, would dish different kinds of disciplinary actions to correct disrespect. Different factors can also combine to cause disrespect, and students that have the tendency to disrespect others must work with their teachers and guardians to overcome such tendencies.

Drug addiction/abuse

Although it is becoming more common by the day, drug abuse is one of the most dangerous school disciplinary problems. It involves the consumption of drugs without adequate prescription. Some commonly abused drugs include alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, heroin, herbs, etc. Students must realize that this serious disciplinary problem can attract grave consequences.

Therefore, they must take precautionary steps to avoid abusing drugs or becoming addicted. One of such precautionary steps is to report any peer guilty of such behaviors to a trusted teacher.


More than one child in a class inevitably means there will be classroom squabbles. This leaves teachers often feeling like wrestling referees. Children typically prefer things to go their way, and when they don’t get what they want, they become angry. It should not be surprising that they have occasional conflicts with their mates.

However, teachers must make it clear to kids from the start of the semester that such behaviors constitute disciplinary problems and would not be tolerated. Teachers and school authorities must also fix stern punishments for defaulters to stop future defaults from other students.


This is the removal of another person’s property without their permission. At their age, students naturally want to explore. They want to use new things, and sometimes, they don’t have these things. So, it’s not surprising to see some of them result in stealing. However, they need to know that such behaviors are bad and attract grave consequences. Teachers should talk to students about the consequences of stealing and why they must desist from it.

Do Colleges See Your Disciplinary Record?

Do Colleges See Your Disciplinary Record?

Not every college will look at your disciplinary history. However, it’s important to note that most college admissions officers will read your disciplinary record if your high school provides it for them. Most college applications, including the Common App, will ask about disciplinary records. Let’s also state that a few Common App member institutions may also suppress that part of your application. So it boils down to school principles and luck.

You don’t want to leave anything to chance, and that’s why we recommend the following steps:

  • Be honest about any disciplinary actions. Trying to cover up can attract worse consequences than the crime itself.
  • Before deciding whether to fill out the session or not, speak to your counselor. A counselor will advise you on the best way to go based on your available records and peculiar cases.
  • Remember to take these three steps when addressing your disciplinary history 1. Take ownership 2. Provide context 3. Show growth and maturity.

How Will Disciplinary Action Affect College Applications?

How Will Disciplinary Action Affect College Applications?

Having a serious disciplinary problem in high school often means that you’ll prepare for the reality of a negative impact on your college application. However, the gravity of this impact depends on several factors.

Firstly, different colleges or even different admission officers from the same college may view disciplinary problems differently. For instance, while some may view minor offenses as past mistakes you’ve outgrown, others may see them as a way to predict future behaviors.

As we’ve already mentioned in this article, the type of offense you commit also plays a significant role in how it’ll affect your admission chances. Many colleges place particular emphasis on disciplinary problems that involve academic dishonesty, alcohol, drugs, or violence.

Beyond that, they may also take the particular circumstance surrounding your situation into cognizance. How did you behave throughout the disciplinary process? What influenced your decision? Did you show remorse during the process or make any form of restitution? Have you made positive changes in your life after the incident?

Here’s an excellent way to think of it: colleges expect a certain level of maturity from their students. Thus, they look closely at your history of maturity and good judgment. If you’ve made bad decisions or shown significant immaturity, colleges may be more reluctant to accept you into their communities.

Can You Skip Questions About Disciplinary History?

Can You Skip Questions About Disciplinary History?

Simply put, no! You’ll get explicit questions about your disciplinary history during your college admissions process, and you already know that it’s a bad idea to lie about anything on your application. Plus, the evaluation from your high school counselor must also match your discipline questions and answers. If you’ve gotten into any serious trouble before, you can almost tell for sure that your counselor will mention it.

Of course, you can overlook insignificant infractions like reprimands for noise-making or punishments for occasional dress-code violations. College admission officers typically have many applications to review, so they won’t be interested in such insignificant offenses. However, if you’ve gotten into serious trouble, you must be honest about it. Talk about the disciplinary problems and how you handled related punishments.

How to Address Disciplinary History During Application: 3 Tips

How to Address Disciplinary History During Application: 3 Tips

We get it; applying to graduate school with a disciplinary record can seem like a big mountain to climb. Often, students get so overwhelmed that they lie about their disciplinary history, which is a bad way to handle it. Here, let’s review a few tips on how you can handle disciplinary infractions when applying for college.

Own your mistakes

Don’t hesitate to take ownership of your mistake. You may not agree with the level of punishment you faced for the offense, but your college application is the worst place to argue your case.

Many students make the mistake of shifting blame to the person who caught them, their peers, the school justice system, or the person who handled the punishment. This is an expressway to say that you’re not remorseful about your mistake. Instead, just say, “I did this, and I accept that it’s a terrible mistake on my part.”

Provide context where necessary

While most admission officers shun unnecessary excuses for your past mistakes, they won’t mind a genuine explanation about what happened. So, while providing such explanations, avoid veering into the line of excuses.

Were you reacting to consistent bullying from a fellow student? Were you experiencing any form of depression during that time? These are contexts that can explain why you acted the way you did. However, avoid saying too much. While it’s important to provide details, oversaying can mean you’re giving excuses.

Share what you learned

It’s not just enough to own up to your offense; you must also show what you learned from the incident. Remember, punishments are meant to correct wrong behaviors, so admission officers are eager to see whether you have changed or whether you’re showing a tendency to repeat the same offense. Outlining what you learned from the incident also shows admission officers that you’ve matured.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Deal with a College Application’s Discipline History Question?

As a college applicant, it’s almost certain that issues concerning your discipline history will come up during the application process. Unfortunately, not many students know how to deal with disciplinary questions and answers. Hence, the tendency to make mistakes during the process. Throughout this article, we’ve provided answers to possible questions you may have when dealing with college application’s disciplinary history questions.

Remember, your disciplinary history can affect your life significantly, especially if you make any more mistakes in your life choices. But past events shouldn’t necessarily derail your future, and that’s why you need guidance. Showing that you’ve learned from your past mistakes will help convince colleges that you’ve grown into a wise person.

Want to read more college admission guides? We’ve got a range of articles that may interest you including our ultimate guide here.

> What Does Preferred Admission Mean?

> What is Priority Admission: What You Should Know

> What is a Good Class Rank for Ivy League Admissions?

> Does a High School Referral Affect College Admissions?

> Does Having a Sibling in College Help with Your Admission?

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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