As parents, we want our students to thrive in college. How can we make sure our students thrive while accepting and growing into their identities? Read on for more.
If you are committed to giving your child the best education, that means life in college should be enriching too. Beyond that, it should open our minds and give us a chance to consider our identities in new ways. Especially for LGBT+ students.
For parents, it means making sure the college culture embraces the identity of our LGBQT+ child. The transition from high school to college can be stressful and create doubt for many a teenager, but when the student is also facing a new community where they have no idea about the chances of acceptance, it can add unnecessary pressure to an already fraught adaptation process.
The first step to success is being willing to research thoroughly. Take the time, beginning in the fall of junior year, if possible, to partner with your student to make a list of aspects important to them in a campus community culture. This can be anything from campus organizations for LGBQT+ students to courses offered in queer studies to the campus being in a town that embraces diversity.
Two great college guides that can help in identifying campus culture are The Yale Daily News Insider’s Guide and The Fiske Guide. A truly comprehensive resource is Campus Pride’s website and index, where they list LGBQT+ friendly campuses but also provide a wealth of helpful resources., including dates and locations for the LGBQT+ National College Fairs and college scholarships specific to LGBQT+ students.
Once having researched colleges and having identified which to visit, the following aspects are what to look for on campus:
- What student groups exist to support diversity? This could be specific to LGBQT+ or could carry a more generic or broad-based name, such as a rainbow coalition or students for equality.
- Are there students on campus who visibly demonstrate they are LGBQT+.
- Are there faculty and staff who identify openly as LGBQT+?
- What are campus policies that might affect LGBQT+ students?
- Are there visible signs of acceptance, such as a pride flag, safe space/zone stickers, or pink triangles.
- Read the campus publications. Are LGBQT+ issues addressed?
- Are there support services available?
- Are courses offered in LGBQT+ studies?
- Is there an acknowledgement and understanding of intersectional identities?
Finally, meeting with students who identify as LGBQT+ can afford an inside look at campus culture and satisfaction. Contacting a student involved in a campus organization or who the support services office can recommend will give you a first-hand view of campus life.
With research and a willingness to ask questions and to visit campus and the town, you will be able to ascertain whether the college and the surrounding community are a good fit for your LGBQT+ student.
We’re on your team. Looking for more support, or an experienced mentor to work with throughout the college applications process and beyond? Book your complimentary consultation today.