Adverse childhood experiences and pessimistic future expectations about college attendance or mortality are established risk factors for problem behaviors among youth. Data were from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 14,800; 49 % female). Participants were 11–17-years-old at baseline and 24–32-years-old at outcome. Adolescents’ college expectations and fatalistic expectations mediated the effect of childhood adversity on violent behavior in young adulthood. Neither college nor fatalistic expectations were significant mediators in models predicting substance use and nonviolent antisocial behaviors. Although observed mediational effect sizes were small, they survived models that included multiple controls designed to rule-out alternative explanations. Intervening on adversity-exposed adolescents’ college and fatalistic expectations may reduce risk for violent behaviors.