Sexual orientation and its place in college applications

Ashley Viera/Contributing Writer

It has become increasingly accepted and a normal part of modern day society for an individual to be open with their sexual orientation.

With that said, there was an article recently released by the New York Times called “The Gay Question: Check One” that talks about several universities that are beginning to ask their applicants about sexual orientation.

Some say this is inappropriate, while others view it as a positive step in the right direction in acceptance of homosexuals.

What seems to be evident and clear from this is that it is exemplifying the beginning stages of a new comfortability level with regards to sexual orientation in schools.

Some of the universities asking the sexual orientation question are those such as University of Iowa, MIT, Boston University and Elmhurst, which has been doing it since 2011.

According to a New York Times article, out of 21,500 first-year applicants at the University of Iowa, 488 responded to being gay while two through three percent responded to the question in Elmhurst.

What this shows is how rare it still is for young people to declare themselves as homosexuals.

Another university, MIT, went as far as to allow students the option of utter privacy from “nosey parents” by omitting sexual orientation from the PDF version of the application.

For many, it is probably an arduous, awkward situation to make their sexual orientation publicly known, especially at such a young age. Particularly, college freshmen.

As high school teenagers, most kids are still trying to discover themselves and who they are as adults, which can be quite confusing as well as absolutely petrifying.

An extra, intensified layer of all of these mixed emotions is added when sexual orientation is in question.

In my perspective, this proactive action of asking about sexual orientation by universities is a commendable, as well as a courageously bold step in the right direction towards equality and acceptance. It can be perceived as inviting and encouraging for young adults to be open about their identity. 


1. “The Gay Question: Check One,” via New York Times

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