Do gays have a boost in admission?
If I am gay/lesbian, how much of a boost will I have in college admissions to elite schools?
What about if I write an essay about it vs if I don’t? Thank you!
Earn karma by helping others:
Hi there! This is a good question, and one that others have answered well below, so I won't repeat them too much.
There is no formal affirmative action or race-conscious admissions equivalent for admissions relating to sexual orientation, so there isn't a tangible "boost" to report on here. However, many schools are interested in maintaining and expanding the diversity of their classes in all aspects in order to foster inclusive environments where students will interact with and learn from people with all different backgrounds and perspectives. With this in mind, there may be a benefit to discussing your relationship with your sexual orientation on your application.
Note that I said "your relationship with your sexual orientation" and not just "your sexual orientation" -- your application (especially your essays) must be about you, not the broader meaning of queerness, the issues and discrimination affecting the LGBTQ+ community, or some other broad ideal. Essays in particular are a great place to showcase your personality and your identity (one Common App question even asks about an aspect of your identity or background without which your application would be incomplete, for example), but it must be done in such a way that the reader learns something about you beyond your sexual orientation. The thesis of the essay cannot be that you are gay or lesbian but rather that you are resilient or compassionate or eager to learn or thoughtful as seen through the lens of your experiences. As others have noted, you will want to focus on a distinctly "you" aspect of your experience as a queer person -- there are certainly some overdone essay tropes that it could be easy to fall into, so you'll want to avoid those.
One last note echoes something others have mentioned already: assessing the fit of your discussion of queerness with the values of the schools to which you are applying. For instance, if your essays recount your bitter relationship with religion and scorn for the Church because of discrimination you faced at the hands of religious people or organizations, they will not resonate with admissions officers at schools with religion at the center of their missions. This is not to say that you would not thrive, be supported by, or do well at a religious school; it is merely to say that you should avoid criticizing values they hold dear as part of your admissions narrative.
To sum up, being queer is not in and of itself a benefit for admissions, but like any other aspect of who a person is, it can be part of a compelling story worth telling. Wherever you end up and whatever you end up writing about, I hope that you continue to be proud of who you are. Best of luck!
It's hard to tell. I think it comes down to who is reading your application. I think Elite schools, especially some Ivys are pro-LGBTQ applicants but others perhaps can't give them the environment they're seeking. For instance, I would think it would be challenging to be at Dartmouth or Cornell because 1/2 of the social life revolves around CIS White Greek Life (frats and sororities).
But if you are attending Columbia, then you are in the middle of the most exciting city in the world where you can find support systems both on campus and off. The Columbia queer alliance is the oldest LGBTQ club in America (1966 founded).
With regards to other top schools, I think it would be hard to be an "out" LGBTQ student at Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Boston College since they are all Jesuit Catholic Institutions. And anywhere in the South, like Wash U, Vanderbilt, Duke, UVA, seems more problematic than USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford. Being a queer student at a top Liberal Arts college like Swarthmore, Williams, Amherst, Pomona seems easy. But once you get into remote places like Bowdoin, Colgate, Washington & Lee, not so much.
To answer your question, I don't think you get a real tangible bump if you are queer. I think you get a huge bump if you are BIPOC Black or Latina, or a huge bump if you are some famous activist with 100,000 Youtube subscribers. So if you are a BIPOC Queer Activist, that sounds to me like a big bump. But if you are Basic White Girl Queer from an upper-middle-class suburb and have no real spikes, your queerness is not that attractive to the Circus of cohorts they are building for their Freshman class.
For admissions I only have my opinion but I would discourage writing your essay about it unless it plays a role in something bigger. I feel like I can't find the words to explain today but here it goes my best attempt. I apologize if I just confuse you more.
I went to a workshop for writing your essay and they worded it like this "the daily vs. the dramatic." They said the essay should tell them something you think is important they would not of known otherwise, the catch is not directly. The counselor gave the example of writing about their keychain. To them the simple keychain is meaningful because it symbolizes people trusted them enough to carry a bunch of important keys. This indirectly tells the reader that the student is someone trustworthy and that they value making meaningful relationships as trust is something that needs to be earned and takes time. This goes back to the daily vs. dramatic because schools want to know what you would be like on a random day at their school. Of course that is not to discredit something very difficult like coming out or the shock of the pandemic but in reality it is not as unique as people think. The exception would be this. If you still feel strongly about writing your essay on it you probably have a good reason that would push your essay outside of what they usually see with the topic.
I know some schools, especially elite ones, have quotas they have to meet regarding race ratios. I have never heard if being in the LBGTQ+ community helps your chances. I think it can be seen as a way to add diversity but if i'm being honest I think a lot of people would have thrown a fit if they did.
I hope I can give you some answers, I'll try to check back to see if you want me to try and elaborate.
No, you don't. I don't think it's allowed to actually ask for sexual orientation in applications so they probably wouldn't even know unless you write an essay about being gay. If you write an essay about it then it really depends on the topic. For example if the topic is just about you being gay and having a crush on someone you're probably not gonna get noticed because there's no big deal about your essay I don't see any change and I don't really see any one's personality because most people have crushes and stuff like that. But if you're talking about how your life was derailed after you came out or you lost friends or your social life changed after coming out then you should definitely write an essay about you being gay if it had a big effect on you. And to be honest it probably will have a slight increase because they will be aware of you being gay and college is one diversity.
To keep this community safe and supportive:
- Be kind and respectful!
- Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
- Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!