If I was in a deferred adjudication program, must this be disclosed on a college application?

UPDATED: Dec 19, 2014

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If I was in a deferred adjudication program, must this be disclosed on a college application?

The application asks, “Have you pled guilty or no contest, participated in a presentencing diversion program and/or been convicted of a criminal offense, or are there criminal charges pending against you at this time?”. When I was 17 I got in trouble for petty theft. I completed an ARD program, so I wouldn’t have a record. Will this one mistake haunt me the rest of my life? Would I answer Yes or No to the question about?

Asked on December 19, 2014 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Are you using the Common Application?  That application does ask about deferred adjudication programs.  But you are writing from PA correct?  It is my understanding that PA calls the program "accelerated rehabilitative disposition" program rather than pre-indictment or deferred adjudication.  While I think that it is best to be truthful, I might qualify the answer if possible. Colleges can ask.  You don't want to be admitted and then later they find out you were not truthful.  Read your disposition papers and speak with a criminal attorney in the area. Good luck.

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