When searching for a college, it’s important to find a place where you feel welcome and supported. For those who identify as LGBTQIA, there are ways to ensure a diverse and inclusive college experience. Check out our tips to finding a LGBTQIA friendly college!
What Makes a College LGBTQIA Friendly?
Colleges can show their commitment to supporting LGBTQIA students by implementing certain policies and resources on campus. This may include student organizations dedicated to LGBTQIA students, a LGBTQIA specific resource center, and scholarships for LGBTQIA learners, and more.
An LGBTQIA friendly college will have a large population of students who identify as such. There will be resources available for students who seek advocacy, visibility, and community. Colleges dedicated to their LGBTQIA students will also offer inclusive housing, gender-neutral bathrooms, comprehensive healthcare, and a faculty and administration trained on inclusivity.
How to Find an LGBTQIA Friendly College
Whether you are visiting college in-person or online, be sure to ask questions about the community on campus. How does the college support LGBTQIA students? What is the percentage of LGBTQIA identifying students who apply or attend the college? What are the policies in place regarding housing? If a student experiences discrimination, how is that process handled?
Reach out to other students
Talk to students who are a part of student-run organizations dedicated to LGBTQIA learners and have experienced the inclusive resources on campus. You can contact these students through social media or connecting through admissions counselors. These students will provide firsthand experience with inclusive policies and how they are implemented on campus.
Read the college’s policies
Are they in compliance with Title IX? The federal law Title IX prohibits schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sex. This includes gender-based violence and discrimination based on gender or sexuality. When a school is in compliance with Title IX, that means they will protect you if you were to ever experience discrimination or harassment based on your gender or sexuality.
Many colleges have statements on their website declaring their support of their LGBTQIA learners. Be sure to check out these statements from each school, and pay attention to affirming and inclusive language. If you are unable to find this statement on their website, feel free to reach out to an administrator for more information.
Use the Campus Pride Index
The Campus Pride Index is a national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer campus communities for LGBTQIA students. This online tool is free, and allows you to search a database of LGBTQIA friendly colleges. This index is owned, operated, and maintained by Campus Pride, a national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create more inclusive learning environments at colleges and universities.
With these tips, we hope you feel more prepared searching for a college that supports LGBTQIA students, and help you find a school that makes you feel comfortable, welcome, and celebrated.