The first few days of college often represent a young person’s first opportunity to behave like an adult without constant parental supervision. Many parents may excuse the seemingly minor mistakes students make. While attending school to pursue a higher education may help form a building block to a successful career, it’s also important to understand that the events of your college years can impact your future in many different ways. Here are five of the biggest ways your poor choices in college can affect your future.

Cause Challenges when Applying for Schools

Many college students have further aspirations when it comes to their education. Mistakes made during their undergraduate years can make it nearly impossible to get accepted into the graduate programs of their choice. Nursing programs, for example, require clinical internships in a variety of settings, yet prior mistakes can prevent some students from meeting even the most basic requirements, meaning they’ll be denied entry into those programs.

Harm Current and Future Relationships

You might not be dating anyone seriously right now, or even be interested in dating or marriage. But that feeling likely won’t continue forever. Eventually, you’ll probably want to settle down. Explaining a past mistake to your significant other could difficult, but imagine the discomfort of explaining your past to an in-law who performed a background check.

Reduce Job Opportunities

It’s no secret that many prospective employers require criminal background checks before hiring applicants, but few people realize that these comprehensive checks often extend the whole way back no matter how many years have passed. In fact, without a record expungement, some past mistakes will never disappear. Some employers, like ones with governmental contracts, are literally unable to hire anyone that doesn’t have a clear background.

Cause Embarrassment to Family

The internet has certainly made it much easier to access information, and nothing is more embarrassing than having to explain details of past mistakes to your children. Both immediate and extended family members may find themselves answering uncomfortable questions about a loved one and their past.

Prevent Election to Public Office

Even individuals that have no intention of running for public office should at least think about the ramifications a blemished past could have. Some past mistakes will make it unlawful for a person to vote or run for public office. Others will just create a situation where explanations and embarrassing statements are a routine part of the campaign process. And the other candidates may not have made the same mistakes, though everyone has some kind of skeletons in their closet.

If you’re just starting college, use this information to prevent the current time of your life from becoming the crazy college years of your past. Don’t let your present affect your future, though if you’ve already made mistakes, don’t let it get you down.

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