People with a criminal history often find it difficult to get a job, an apartment or a loan. Many people with a criminal history believe they are precluded from getting into college. However, this is generally not the case. People with a criminal past usually can get into college, though they must take the proper steps.

Step 1

Research different schools. Before you decide which college you want, you should look at several options and review each college's application. Some colleges ask for a criminal history, while others do not. Community colleges or state universities are less likely to ask if you have a criminal background, while many private universities require you to disclose that information.

Step 2

Be aware of federal student aid restrictions. Having a criminal record may not prevent you from getting into college, but it can limit your ability to get student loans. If you were convicted of a drug charge, you may not be able to get federal student loans. This could limit you to schools that you can afford without a student loan. You still may be eligible for financial aid from the state or school.

Step 3

Fill out the application. If you decide to apply to a college that asks for a criminal history, make sure you fill out the application completely and honestly. Lying on your application is grounds for a college to deny your application.

Step 4

Prepare for the interview. Many colleges require an interview with a recruiter or school official. If the topic of your criminal history comes up, you should be prepared to talk about it. In fact, it may be better to bring it up yourself than to wait for it to come up in the interview. You need to be prepared to talk about your criminal history in a way that puts it in a good light. If you served jail time, be prepared to talk about how that had a positive impact on your life.

Step 5

Write a personal statement. For applications that require criminal background checks, but do not provide for interviews or personal statements, you may want to write a personal statement anyway. Use this statement as a way to talk about your criminal past, and explain why you want to go to that school. This may give you a better chance in the eyes of admissions officials.

Step 6

Apply to several different colleges. You stand a much better chance of being accepted into college if you apply to more than one. Do everything you can to ensure your applications are properly filled out and sent in on time.