When applying to graduate programs, especially law school, many applications require that all applicants disclose any criminal or academic misconduct. But it can be tricky to know what you do and do not need to disclose.
One simple answer is to read any disclosure questions carefully. While the disclosure questions can be lengthy, it is very important to read the entire question for two reasons: (1) To make sure that you do not mistakenly withhold any information and (2) To know specifically what you do and do not need to disclose.
Not all schools are the same and it is very possible that some schools require different information that other schools. Failing to disclose required information can result in having to take extra application steps, not being accepted to the school, or having your acceptance revoked. Ensuring that you are disclosing all relevant information can help ensure an easier application process. Reading the disclosure question thoroughly will help guarantee that you disclosed all requested information.
Tips to answering application disclosure questions:
- Read the question thoroughly
- WHEN IN DOUBT, DISCLOSE
- Know your criminal and academic history
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to disclosures on applications. If you are in doubt about whether to disclose a piece of information or not, it is always better to be honest and disclose rather than trying to hide the information. You also have the option of contacting the school and asking if a piece of information needs to be disclosed or not. It is important to know the status of any criminal or academic misconduct you may have because in some cases if the charge was dismissed or expunged, you may not be required to disclose the misconduct. It will be stated in the disclosure question whether dismissed or expunged misconduct must be disclosed or not.
While some schools may require you to disclose minor traffic infractions, such as speeding, it is unlikely that a simple speeding ticket or other minor traffic violation will negatively affect your admissions odds. However, failing to disclose may negatively affect your admissions chance!
In short, make sure to read the disclosure questions carefully to find out exactly what must be disclosed, and if you are still on the fence about whether to disclose or not, always disclose.