When you’re preparing to enroll in an Australian university, you’re bound to hear about background checks and remember that mess you got yourself into a few years back, probably when you were still a minor.
Will an old mistake compromise your chance of a good career in a profession of your choosing? Not necessarily. It’s not like all university departments require a national police check and having a criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean that you should forget about your dreams. Here is what you need to know about the Australian universities and educational institutions that require background checks and what you need to do.
What universities require background checks?
The good news is that not all universities ask their future students to undergo background checks like a background check for educational placements. Most actually don’t. Those that do have a very serious reason to do so, it is mandated by law.
For instance, if you want to become a doctor or anything health-related, you will be required to undergo a background check. It’s not about the classes you’ll be taking, but about the clinical placements you’ll be enrolled in. During a clinical placement you will come in contact with vulnerable people, especially children, and this requirement is meant to protect them from any possible threat.
How do you find out what is on your criminal record?
An 18-year old has barely had the time to get in trouble with the law and if they did it will be mostly minor offences we’re talking about. Maybe no sentence was recorded, but that minor offence will probably still be on your record.
To evaluate your chances of being admitted to a university of your choice, it’s best to order a background check on yourself. You can do this by using an online agency fully accredited with the Australian government to provide national police checks. Online agencies are very convenient to use and you can ask for a background check even on your phone. The results come back in 2 or 3 three days and, at least, you’ll know where you stand. Also, check out if they have discounts for students or volunteers.
Similar requirements apply to those who want to have a career in any field that has to do with children. If you want to be a teacher, you will need a special type of background check, commonly known as a Working With Children Check. Even if you want to become a sports coach and work with children, you will have to undergo a criminal history check.
What do I do if I have a criminal record?
First of all, don’t despair. When you submit your enrollment forms, you will have to disclose the fact that you have a record.
In most cases, students with a criminal record will be referred to the dean for counseling. The dean is best qualified to say whether or not you are eligible for clinical placements. Some medical establishments flatly refuse to accept students with a criminal record, but the dean can help you find another placement.
If the offences on your record make it impossible for you to complete the required clinical placements, the faculty board will help you find another field with less strict requirements.
In any case, it’s best to know from the very beginning whether your criminal record will prevent you from having a career in health care. If you have a substantial criminal record by the time you finish your studies you won’t be able to register as a medical practitioner in Australia so it’s better not to waste your studying for a profession you will not be allowed to practice.