How to Choose an LGBTQ Friendly College & School
In recent years, a growing number of young adults have begun to openly identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 4.1% of U.S. residents – roughly 10 million individuals – identify as LGBTQ – this figure was up from 3.5% in 2012. The representation was even higher in Millennial’s or adults born in 1982 or later; 7.3% of Millennial respondents identified as LGBTQ, up from 5.8% in 2012.
There are many important considerations students face when it comes to choosing the best college or university for them. These include the cost of tuition and housing, available financial aid, academic reputation, and campus size. Additionally, LGBTQ students are encouraged to research different schools based on the following criteria:
- LGBTQ Campus Safety: Virtually every campus in the country has strict rules regarding the harassment and abuse of other students, but these policies should clearly outline two factors: the specific condemnation of acts of abuse or harassment against members of the LGBTQ community and an explanation of the procedure for LGBTQ students that have been abused or harassed.
- LGBTQ Housing: Gender identity is a major issue for many LGBTQ individuals. To mitigate this, Campus Pride reports that 263 colleges and universities currently offer ‘gender-inclusive housing’, which enables any student to have a roommate of either gender. Furthermore, students may feel more comfortable at schools that openly support LGBTQ students in their housing information materials.
- LGBTQ Friendly Policies: According to Campus Pride, 1,036 post secondary institutions in the U.S. have non-discrimination policies that extend to sexual orientation and gender expression. Alternatively, the organization also maintains a ‘shame list’ of schools that ‘openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth and/or have requested Title IX exemptions to perpetuate the harms of religion-based bigotry’.
- Counseling and Mental Health Opportunities: In addition to organizations and policies that strive to create an inclusive atmosphere for LGBTQ students, many colleges and universities currently offer counseling options aimed at these individuals. In some cases, these services are facilitated by counselors and staff that also identify as LGBTQ.
Choosing an LGBTQ Friendly College
As a prospective student, it’s your job to find a college where you can thrive. This is particularly important for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ). Additionally, not all universities create supportive environments for students who identify as intersex, pan sexual, asexual, questioning or have a non-conforming gender identity. College is challenging and expensive for everyone, but if you’re LGBTQ, the campus climate can make– or break– your experience.It’s important to figure out where you’ll flourish. To simplify the process, we’ve compiled a guide to choosing an LGBTQ friendly college as well as an extensive list of relevant scholarships.
Most LGBTQ-Friendly College Campuses
Here is Campus Pride’s list of 2017’s most LGBTQ friendly campuses, in alphabetical order.
Harvey Mudd College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Indiana University, Bloomington
Montclair State University
Portland State University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick
San Diego State University
Southern Oregon University
The Pennsylvania State University
University of California Los Angeles
University of California, Davis
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Louisville
University of Maine at Machias
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
University of Pennsylvania
University of Vermont
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Washington State University