Queer students, take heart.

College is not like high school. Even if you went to a high school that was accepting of your sexuality or gender identity, college is a whole new ballgame.

Rainbow flag in wind
At many colleges, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) community is a visible and valued part of campus life. You're likely to find more activities, more resources and a much wider dating pool. Most schools have LGBTQ resource centers. And many offer a major or minor in LGBTQ Studies.

You may even find that being queer gives you a leg up in the admissions process—if you can explain how your sexuality or gender identity has helped shape who you are.

Students who are questioning or in the closet often find that it's easier to explore and be open about their identity in college. You'll probably meet a lot of people who have struggled with similar issues.

That said, college is still part of the real world—you may encounter homophobia at some point during your four years. And not all colleges are as accepting of LGBTQ students. It's important to do your research, visit campus and pick a school where you'll be comfortable.

A Note about Language

We recognize that it is not possible to write in a way that is inclusive of all identities, relationships and life experiences.

We use the term "queer" to refer to the collective community of LGBTQ students. In the past, the term "queer" has been used in a derogatory manner, but today many in the LGBTQ community have reclaimed it as a term of empowerment and inclusiveness.

Additional Resources for LGBTQ Students

The Princeton Review's Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life features advice from students and administrators at more than seventy colleges.

Many organizations offer scholarships specifically for LGBTQ students.

Campus Pride offers resources, programs and services to support LGBT and ally students on college campuses across the United States.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has plenty of resources for your parents—and you.

Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.