If Your Life Is Not A Bowl of Cherries

So you want to go to college, but there has been a significant problem during your high school years.  Perhaps you have been suspended, been arrested, have abused drugs or alcohol, or have suffered from a mental illness.
You might wonder what your options are, so first ask yourself these three questions:
  1. Have I healed from the problem? 
  2. Do I want to go to college?
  3.  Am I ready to start college with the rest of my high school graduating class?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you may need professional help to recover from the problem and/or you may want to work or take a gap year (or more) before pursuing further education.
If you answered yes to all three of these questions, I recommend that you write an extra essay, a special circumstances essay, as part of your college application.  This essay should be focused on your recovery, not your problem, and should describe how the problem led to who you are today.  In this essay, you will let the college know what the reason for your suspension, arrest, drop in grades, and/or missed semester was.  You will need to take full responsibility for what happened, explain how you have changed, and what you have learned from your decisions.