I recently read that the Common Application has decided NOT to add additional questions asking students about their sexual orientation or gender identity. As the kids would say, OMG!
Who would have even thought that this was being considered?
College Applications, of which the Common App is the most well known, currently ask a lot of questions and compile a lot of data. They ask if you are a US Citizen. They ask what was your first language and what is the primary language spoken in your home. They ask about your parents’ marital status or if one or both are deceased. Students list their extra-curricular activities, work experience and clubs they belong to.
They also ask optional questions about your ethnicity and religious preference. Although these questions are optional, and therefore not meant to cause added stress, they sometimes do. Students are not always sure if they should include their religion.
The sexual orientation question, should they ever decide to include it, would also be optional. I cannot imagine how much stress that would be for some students. Should a gay teen out himself or herself? Would it help? Would it hurt? What purpose does it serve?
It is my philosophy that honesty is the best policy and that students should not lie on their college applications, as I have noted in earlier blogs. However, sexual orientation is one area about which the student should not feel he or she has to be brutally honest. Let me be completely clear here–I have absolutely no problem with being gay or transgendered. I just think that this is information that has no bearing on whether a student should or should not be admitted. Some things should make no difference to the admissions committee and therefore, asking the question is pointless. For some gay or transgendered students this may factor into where they decide to apply, but it should have no effect on college acceptance.
Let’s hope that the college applications do not go down this road in the future.