Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Guides to LGBT-friendly college and university campuses

While college and university students are returning to campus to begin the new academic year, juniors and seniors in high school will soon be receiving the outreach mailings from colleges and universities (if they aren't already) and will have the chance to interact with recruiters and representatives at college fairs at their high school or in their community. But for those students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or in the process of discovering this identity (along with their parents), how does a student choose what college or university best fits this part of their life?

In August 2006, the first college guide devoted to colleges and universities with services and resources for LGBT students was released. The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students by Shane L. Windmeyer and published by Alyson Books offers a look at 100 campuses from across the country that offer what LGBT students may find most important to them - a welcoming and supportive environment with social and academic opportunities along with services especially geared toward LGBT students. This guide shares comments from students and reviews the climate from a campus, local and state perspective to help students better find the best fit. Of the 100 campuses, there are 32 states including Texas represented, but only two institutions in Texas - The University of North Texas and The University of Texas at Austin.

On Tuesday, September 11, another guide will be available (and is currently available for pre-orders). The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life published by the Princeton Review features an in-depth look at the experiences of LGBT students and ways they may find success on campus.
From the Barnes and Noble website:
Based on a survey of more than 1,000 college students around the country, The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life addresses everything from dorm life to activism and provides candid, sensitive, and empowering advice on how to thrive in college. Testimonials from students, interviews with administrators and student leaders, and a list of resources make the advice in this guide especially meaningful and useful.
This book may also provide administrators, faculty and staff a glimpse at the lives of LGBT college students, which we are not always in touch with. Such guides are only the beginning of resources to help students measure the LGBT-friendly atmosphere of a campus they are interested in and influence the higher education choice of so many students.

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