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Asking For Sexual Orientation on College App — Good Idea?


You can be undecided when it comes to your major, but the University of Pennsylvania is happy to know you've made up your mind about your sexual orientation. The school is adding a question on its application (and asking the common application to do so too) that asks students if they are gay. If sexual orientation lies on a continuum, Penn doesn't seem to care. Still, the open-minded school apparently hopes the yes or no question will help them recruit gay and lesbian students.

The decision begs the question: should college admissions officers take into account a person's sexual orientation? Some would argue yes, either because gay students may have faced adversity or because a diverse student population makes for a better learning environment. But if students want to highlight the diversity they might bring to a class or how overcoming adversity strengthens their applications, why not let them do that in the personal essay? And you also could argue that sexual orientation in and of itself doesn't really tell you enough about the applicant. Do you think the question is a good idea?

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mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
I said no because I think that it's not something that you should be forced to disclose. If you think it is a strength (which I argue it most definitely takes guts to come out in high school) then I believe you should write your personal essay on how it was a struggle you overcame. Sexuality isn't something we all need to be identified with. I can't wait til the day when this isn't an issue. Our generation will change this.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
haha! I love it tlsgirl! I think it's no ones business so why should they care?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Only if there's also a "stay out of my bedroom, you creepy old admissions dude" option.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I think people are confusing a private university's selction process with government-created remedial schemes applicable to public institutions. Private schools don't favor African Americans solely because they want to help people from low-income backgrounds. The reason that private universities favor minorities is that they want to have a diverse student body. They also favor applicants (of any race) from rural areas, bad high schools, under-represented states, individuals who have overcome any sort of adversity, other unique traits etc. Do you think that all the celebrities who go to Ivy League schools were admitted because they received perfect scores on the SAT? Maybe admission should be based on academic merit alone, but the fact is that private schools already look at 100 non-academic related criteria favoring all sorts of different groups, so I don't see any reason why they shouldn't add sexual orientation to that list.
bellavita214 bellavita214 7 years
No one has to know that you are gay, if you don't want them to, or if you feel you might be oppressed or declined admission to a college. However, you cannot hide the fact that you are a certain race. I agree with HoneyBrown, sexual orientation has no bearing on academic achievement in comparison with what race does in our society.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Damn I wish there was an edit to add button!! But, I wanted to add the following: 1. Sexuality has no bearing to one's grasp of knowledge. 2. Often, race precedes anything in our society. For example, if a gay, white male has to tuck away (so to speak) his sexuality for a job and he is willing to do that, he can lean on his white privilege to do that. People of color do not have that opportunity; thus, the sexuality is equal to race argument is null and void. 3. You have failed to mention how one's sexuality makes them struggle harder than a person of color. The struggles are different, especially when dealing with the intersectional complexity of race and gender. 4. I wish your experiences were easy; but, it doesn't ring true for all gay people. It's one of a myriad of experiences. 5. Not every one will join each other's camp. Let's thank those who do and move on.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Spacekatgal, I really think you need to know the history of exclusive the gay rights movement has been, especially noting the exclusion of the role of transexuals and gays of color in the Stonewall Riots (including the fact that it isn't the first one), before suggesting how gays played a strong role in the Civil Rights Movement (which prompted the Gay Rights Movement). We can agree to disagree. But, I strongly implore you to learn more about the division and the derailment techniques used within the GRM in itself. You, as a bisexual woman, don't even hold a space in the movement to many as you are not seen as a true entity, which is sad.
bgorgeouss bgorgeouss 7 years
Seriously? This is ridiculous. Spakekatgal, I'm sorry what happened to you, but you can't assume that every gay person had your same experience. One of my best friends in college was gay, and he was also one of my wealthiest friends. Either way, if someone's sexuality made them face adversity early in life, they could always write about it in their essay or apply for scholarships for the disadvantaged (My boyfriend did this for college, since he was the first person in his family to ever go to college). I don't think being gay says anything about you, and like many people have said before, people can easily lie about it. And what's next? The college starts setting a cap for the amount of gay people on campus?
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
what percentage of homeless have parents with drug problems SKG? should we include a box to check for that? how many disadvantaged youth come from single-parent households? maybe that should be a reason to let people into school. i am just against using criteria that can be lied about on a college application. adding the box is one thing, if they do to measure demographics or even for scholarships. the idea of wanting to attract more gay students is great, but would you really want to be the "token homosexual"? maybe you would. i'd rather get into a school based on my own merits and not my sexuality. like i've said repeatedly, and others have as well, i know plenty of girls who would have fooled around with girls if that could get them into their dream school.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
Will a "sexually disoriented" option be provided as an answer? *scratching head*
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I'm gay and I'm not offended by the question but I just simply don't see the point or the benefit of asking the question in this context. The intention is certainly a good one but I think we (the gay friendly community) have to learn where & when to temper exuberance over this issue. If I were heterosexual it would seem like every time I turn around there's some one saying hey I'm gay. I would be like uhm that's nice, lol, so basically I just think it's unnecessary and too in your face.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
the difference between giving minorities african americans the option to note it is because they are often from less advantaged areas, and may not have had the same access to resources that whites have had. there's not really a correlation with economically disadvantaged backgrounds and homosexuality. again, if lying about sexuality gives somebody a better chance to get into school, i would not put it past people to lie about it. doesn't that undermine the entire idea?
marcied23 marcied23 7 years
exactly zivanod, not to mention don't most people come out in the open and accepting environment of the university?
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Spacekat, if I see a room full of white males, I'd bet that there are gay males included. Now, if they choose to disclose their sexuality, that's one thing. But, I can guarantee that they'd be included as there are no gay markers as there are racial ones. In other words, I can't tell a gay white male from a straight white male, unless sexual information is disclosed by the individual. Quite frankly, I am annoyed when gay, white males want to play the disenfranchised role when they further the disenfranchisement of gays of color, transsexuals, and gay women.
chelseacbboyles chelseacbboyles 7 years
I think that would be one of the most ridiculous question they could ever ask. It is just so irrelevant.
Zivanod Zivanod 7 years
Of course the answer is no. Not only can it alter the school's decision to accept you, but (surprise!) not all gay people are the same and their experiences differ greatly.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
Nope.com. I also answer "human" when asked for race. It's not my job to provide numbers. I'm there to get an education.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I think it's a good idea. Keep in mind that, in most states, it would be 100% legal for a college to deny admission to someone solely because they're gay. It's naive to think that gay people are not discriminated against just as much as racial minorities, and yet, they have no protection under the law in most states. So, I appreciate that Penn is making an effort to go in the opposite direction by giving gay applicants the same consideration they would give other minorities.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Spacekat, really? I'm a straight, black female. Gays are stronger than me, really? I said no since sexuality has no bearing on academic success. Race, yes, because of the accessibility made difficult to many students of color. However, I don't see any academic problems hurting the mostly white gay middle-class males that tend to ignore other gays.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
Gays have a strength that straights lack because of their coming out experience? Spacekatgal, there you go again with the broad generalizations. Because we are straight, we haven't had the difficult experiences that a college would "benefit" from? Uggh..I appreciate that you are on your soapbox again, but please.... I met many people in college, gay and straight, who grew up in very difficult circumstances, broken families, crime-ridden neighborhoods, etc, but were able to rise above their circumstances to obtain scholarships for their education because they worked hard and focused on their future. These are the people that are the future of our country, and, sorry, their sexual orientation had nothing to do with it. Btw, one of my biggest pet peeves is someone who says " no offense, but..." and then proceeds to say something offensive, as if saying "no offense, but..." makes it ok to be insulting. I voted no, because what I do in my bedroom is my business...besides, how do you REALLY know how these strangers use the information? Unfortunately, this is part of our abnormally open culture to share private information about ourselves to strangers. Hello Big Brother.
girlgreen girlgreen 7 years
"Colleges should be concerned only with your academics." I hate when people say this. To only consider a student's academic strength would not be looking at the big picture, and wouldn't be taking into account such factors as race, socioeconomic status, or disability, things which generally have a PROFOUND impact on a student's academic achievement. You can't just look at student's academic statistics in a vacuum with no regard to how or why they are at a certain level. That said, I don't have a big problem with them asking on the application, outside of the concern that it would be easy to lie. Minorities, whether they are racial, sexual minorities or otherwise, face hardships that others may not necessarily understand.
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