Elmhurst College officials weren’t looking to blaze trails when they added to their admission application: “Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”
With that one line, though, they became the first college in the country to ask potential students directly about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement,” said Gary Rold, Elmhurst’s dean of admissions. “This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race and religion but it’s an important part of who they are.”
The question will appear on applications for those freshman and transfer students hoping to start in the fall of 2012. Like admissions questions about race, ethnicity or religion, answering the question is completely optional and does not affect admission decisions. Students can check “yes,” “no,” or “prefer not to answer.”
Those who answer “yes” may be eligible for a scholarship worth up to one-third of tuition, not unusual because about 60 percent of incoming students receive some type of scholarship aid, Rold said. More importantly, he said, knowing students’ sexual orientation will help officials direct incoming students toward services or groups that might help them make an easier transition to college life.
Interesting! I think this is a really great step. Though I’m surprised (but weirdly proud… go western suburbs?) that Elmhurst is the first to do this.