Are you in college and planning on diving into a career that involves security clearance upon approval? If so, you may be in the moment, enjoying college, your friends, and your last carefree days before graduation. However, you may not realize it but your behavior in college can influence whether your security clearance application is approved or denied.
We’d estimate that a healthy percentage of our clients who are applying for security clearance for the first time and facing denial are 25 or younger. Some of them are now seeking security clearance because they had a huge internship opportunity or because they’re graduating soon and the full-time job they’re dreaming about requires a security clearance.
While each young applicant’s circumstances vary, a lot of them are learning that mistakes they made in college are delaying or derailing their plans for security clearance. We’re not saying they’ll never get approved for security clearance, but their college days could be putting their dreams on hold for a few years before they can apply again.
Poor Choices Made in College
College is known for partying, and unfortunately, poor choices a young person makes in their college days can follow them later in life when they seek security clearance. Poor choices like DUI, drug possession and sales, vandalism, sexual assault, and academic integrity issues like paying someone to do your homework, cheating, and plagiarism can have a direct impact on whether your security clearance application is approved or denied.
If you’re in college, here’s our advice:
- If you drink a lot, dial it back or stop altogether
- If you drink, never drink and drive
- Avoid illicit drug use
- Avoid getting involved in physical altercations
- Do not cheat in school
- Take a close look at your circle of friends and ensure you’re only surrounding yourself with positive people
- Avoid all criminal behavior and friends who engage in it
- If you were convicted of DUI or drug possession, do everything you can to repair the damage and seek treatment
- If you have roommates who use drugs, it’s time to get new ones