A ‘Welcome Mat’ for LGBT Students

Last year some commentators predicted that straight applicants would say they were gay just to get an “enrichment scholarship,” which the college gives to students from underrepresented minority groups, including LGBT students. Mr. Rold said he had seen no evidence of that.

This year nine of the 12 freshmen who identified themselves as LGBT students also qualified for one of Elmhurst’s academic scholarships. The other three were either black or Hispanic, and, therefore, would have received an enrichment scholarship anyway.

Over the last year, membership in Elmhurst College Queers and Allies, a student group, has nearly doubled, Mr. Rold said. Why? Anyone’s guess.

It’s easy to overthink the power of a 12-word question, even one that became national news and stirred debate among admissions officers. The question’s a potential conversation starter, one thread among many in the story of who enrolled at Elmhurst and why.

“We’ve learned a little bit more about them, and they’ve learned a little bit more about the college,” Mr. Rold said of LGBT students. “The next thing will be to see how we retain them.”

via A ‘Welcome Mat’ for LGBT Students – Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This sentence from the above pull resonated with me:

Last year some commentators predicted that straight applicants would say they were gay just to get an “enrichment scholarship,” which the college gives to students from underrepresented minority groups, including LGBT students. Mr. Rold said he had seen no evidence of that.

Why? Because it was obviously a concern of old straight guys who watched too much “Three’s Company” in the 70s and 80s. Have you EVER found a good old-fashioned straight teenager who wants to say he’s gay for a few scholarship bucks? Yeah, me either.

I’m glad colleges are starting to be this inclusive, but they shouldn’t be perplexed if prospies don’t check the “Hey, I’m gay!” box. Remember, today’s national discourse is not about getting high schoolers to come out necessarily, rather it skews toward “it gets better” once you get into college.

All in all, a good piece by Eric Hoover.

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