Everyone makes mistakes. It’s through a process of trail and error that we as human beings learn, grow and develop a sense of character. From a very young age, children tend to push boundaries. The word "no" is often one of the first uttered by a young toddler who is constantly admonished for getting into trouble. As children age and become teenagers and young adults, some continue to challenge authority and step outside the boundaries of what society deems acceptable behavior.

While some teens and young adults appear to avoid getting into too much trouble, others may be influenced by friends, pure curiosity or personal gain. A so-called troubled teen may drink alcohol or use drugs. Such behavior may eventually lead a teen to take part in more serious criminal activities such as assault, robbery or drunk driving offenses.

Teenagers who face
criminal charges often fail to recognize the seriousness and far-reaching implications of such charges. Not only can a juvenile offender face potential time in a detention center and fines, their hopes of going to college may also be affected.

In an effort to reduce crime on college campuses, today many colleges require applicants to undergo criminal background checks. In some cases, the results of such a background check may hurt an applicant’s chances of being admitted to the college of their choice. A recent Colorado study, however, shows that many college students who engaged in criminal activities during their teen years do not continue exhibiting such behaviors while attending college.

The study looked at more than 6,700 college students, some of whom had criminal records. The results of the study showed that current screening methods employed by many colleges are not effective in detecting students with criminal tendencies. Additionally, many students who may have engaged in youthful indiscretions did not continue such destructive behaviors while attending college.

In essence, everyone deserves a second chance. In many cases, teens who engage in criminal activity need positive role models and opportunities rather than a permanent criminal record and the stigma associated thereto. Going to college or obtaining a job are among some of the most effective ways a young adult can learn, grow and become a contributing member of society.

Source: UPI.com, ”
Criminal background checks don’t predict college crime,” May 19, 2013