Organizations representing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender high school students have specific suggestions on what those students should look for in choosing colleges. Most of the information should be available from colleges’ student-activities centers, counseling offices, gay-lesbian campus organizations, and alumni organizations, the groups say.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, says prospective students should consider the following factors in looking at whether colleges will welcome them:
- The number of “out” students—or those who are openly gay—on campus. Network officials say that factor is important in how quickly gay students adjust to life on campus.
- The number of “out” faculty members and administrators. Having such staff members in influential positions can indicate how welcoming a college’s environment is, GLSEN officials say.
- Institutional resources. Does the school have any paid staff members devoted to outreach for those students? Such employees can offer a link between students and the administration.
- Student resources. Are there student organizations that plan social events and other activities for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students?
- Classes taught. Studies of gay and lesbian issues have emerged in areas such as history, film, music, art, and literature, and many schools offer courses in those areas.
SOURCE: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, “Finding an LGBT Friendly Campus: A Guide for LGBT Students Pursuing Higher Education,” 2001
A version of this article appeared in the June 19, 2002 edition of Education Week as Finding the Right Campus