Friday, May 13, 2011

Recruiting LGBT Students

Well, this is news to me! At the University of Pennsylvania, admissions officers "flag" applicants who say they are interested in LGBT services/supports/communities, and those prospective students are contacted by LGBT students. That is amazing! It means that if you're a high school senior brave enough to share that you're LGBTQQI in your application, an LGBT student reaches out to you to share information and answer your questions.  

According to an article in Penn's student newspaper, about 70-80 applications for the class of 2015 were flagged for LGBT student outreach (the article does not specify, but I assume this is just undergraduates). This is about double from last year, when there were 35-40 applications flagged. Unsurprisingly, many of the students who were reached out to accepted admission at Penn. No doubt because the university demonstrated upfront that providing a safe and supportive community for LGBTQ students is a priority.  

This early outreach is also likely to increase new student involvement in LGBT campus supports, "providing a way for incoming freshman to get involved as soon as they enter their new school," according to junior Corinne Rich, chairwoman of the Lambda Alliance (Penn’s umbrella organization for LGBT groups).  

In my experience, this is key: many of the students involved in LGBT groups on campus are juniors or seniors, because it takes time to get comfortable enough to reach out and find your queer sisters and brothers on campus. This admissions/LGBT Center strategy (it's clear they collaborated on this) provides incoming freshmen knowledge about LGBT resources and communities before they even step foot on campus, so that when they're ready to reach out to the community, they don't need to search around on their own in a large university to find it.

Just another reason I love Penn. 

p.s. I do think it is a little bit hilarious that the article title includes the phrase "2015 LGBT yield". It makes me think of harvesting or something.

7 comments:

  1. Hope the crop is looking good!

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  3. Uh oh, you used the word "recruiting." Here comes the conservative mob! (I can't spell the first time around)

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  4. Haha, indeed! Well the article does point out that it's 'one of the many positive factors included in admissions decision-making' which is important to point out to those who might jump to the conclusion that gay=you're in to Penn! But I think the conservative mob has my number either way ;)

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  5. like like like!

    Vassar seems ripe for this, don't they? I will pass the idea along to some of the queer faculty members I'm still in touch with...

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  6. It's great that colleges and universities are doing this kind of outreach. It's interesting to see a "conversation" unfolding about whether to provide applicants with an option to self-identify sexual orientation or self-identify an interest in LGBTQA community. Some recent articles that may be of interest (and there are several others out there):

    http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/elmhurst-college-will-ask-applicants-about-sexual-orientation/28553

    http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Court-Gay-Students/127336/

    http://thedartmouth.com/2010/03/08/news/Recruiting

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  7. will definitely check out these articles, thanks for sharing Caroline!

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