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Widely Used College Admissions Application Will No Longer Ask About Criminal History

Widely Used College Admissions Application Will No Longer Ask About Criminal History

“There are pros and cons to the decision”

This question is still asked in plenty of places in the real world.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Common App will no longer ask students about criminal history

The Common App, a widely used undergraduate college admission application system, announced Tuesday its decision to cease asking all applicants about their criminal history.

The question about criminal histories has been asked of all Common App users since 2006. Just last year, the organization reviewed the issue and announced that it was keeping the question.

Some are praising the new change while others find it to be a mistake.

“Member feedback shows there are strong and differing opinions regarding both keeping the question ‘common,’ and for leaving the decision on whether and how to ask the question up to individual members,” the Common App’s statement said. “While a majority of survey respondents would prefer to keep the question on the ‘common’ portion of the application, we found variation in member preferences based on institution type and other factors. For example, the majority of public institution survey respondents preferred that the question be asked at the discretion of the member.”

There are pros and cons to the decision.

Minority students enter the criminal justice system disproportionately more often than white students. Asking about criminal history could be considered a bias against black and Latino youth. Anyone who believes in the need for criminal justice reform can see how involving criminal backgrounds in college applications could bring bias from the criminal justice system into higher education.


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