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How to Tell if a College is LGBTQ–Friendly
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There are tons of schools that go out of their way to provide resources and support for queer students. The key to finding a college where you'll be comfortable is to do your own research. Don't assume that what you've heard about a school is true.
You can research a school from home or by visiting campus. We recommend doing both, although it's especially important to visit the schools on your shortlist. Here are some tips to help you tell if a college is LGBTQ–friendly:
Check out the website.
Most schools post information on LGBTQ campus resources, academic programs and nondiscrimination/anti–harassment policies.
Go on an unofficial tour.
Leave time after the official tour or information session to walk around campus on your own. Keep an eye out for other queer students and for signs or posters advertising LGBTQ events. If your parents are not supportive, tell them you need a little alone time to feel the campus out.
Meet with the LGBTQ center or group.
The best way to evaluate the school's policies and overall tolerance is to visit the LGBTQ center or group. Ask if there are lots of queer events on campus, and whether these events are supported by non–queer students. Does the school make an effort to reach out and be supportive?
Talk with queer faculty
Ask them how LGBTQ issues or topics are integrated into their class discussion. They will most likely be happy to speak with a prospective queer student. Just make sure to set up and confirm an appointment ahead of time.
Read the school newspaper.
The school newspaper reflects the attitudes and interests of the student body. A paper that deals only with safe topics might indicate a more conservative environment.
Grill the top brass.
Don't be afraid to ask admissions staff and college administrators hard questions about the school's LGBTQ policies and services. Asking tough questions will not hurt your chances of admission (as long as you're not obnoxious or rude).
If the campus you are researching or visiting is full of red flags–no LGBTQ Center, support groups or anti–harassment policy, for example–it may not be the right place for you. There are plenty of colleges that offer a friendly, accepting environment where you can be yourself.