University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Your College Degree Doesn't Matter?


You've studied long and hard. You've kept up your grades. You've paid for your degree with hard earned dollars and long hours of study. And finally you land that first interview, the one for your dream job, the one that will send you sailing off on the long and glorious career you've set your heart on for so long.

After the interview, you hear from the company's human resources director. They loved you; they think your are just what they have been looking for; and your starting salary will be even better than you had expected. There is just one little detail left to take care of before they can make the formal offer to you: the mandatory background check.

There is a question on the form that leaves you with a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. It is the one that asks whether you have ever been convicted of an alcohol related misdemeanor or felony.

Most students don't realize how one moment of bad judgement or indiscretion during their college career may jeopardize or even render their degree worthless.

Convictions can mean that a number of occupations, from real estate broker to funeral director to chiropractor to educator will remain beyond your reach. Such convictions can include:

  • carrying or manufacturing a false I.D.,
  • misrepresenting your age in order to purchase alcohol,
  • driving under the influence,
  • disorderly conduct, or
  • purchasing and/or furnishing alcohol to minors.

Many professions that require licensing or certifications beyond your degree may also be unattainable if you have been convicted of an alcohol related offense in Pennsylvania.

Act responsibly in all ways, including alcohol consumption, or else your college degree may be worth nothing more than the paper it is printed on.

(This information is adapted from a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board brochure entitled: Your Degree Doesn't Matter.)

Last Reviewed: November 18, 2004