So you’re starting to think about college. Of course, it can help to look at factors such as a school’s available majors, size, and location. But you may also want to know which colleges are most inclusive for LGBTQ students.

Good news: lots of colleges are LGBTQ-friendly. Still, when touring schools, it pays to dig below the surface to see which colleges and universities are the most welcoming. Here are some tips.

  1. Look at the course schedule and list of majors. Do you see any courses – or better yet, majors or minors – in queer studies, gender studies, or the history of gay rights? Are there a number of openly gay or trans faculty?
  2. Check out the clubs and organizations. Are there at least one or more LGBTQ clubs? Browse their social media pages or ask college representatives how often the clubs meet, how well attended they are, and how many events were scheduled in the past year. 
  3. Note the housing situation. Are there gender-neutral bathrooms? Some colleges even devote a whole floor or residence to the LGBTQ community, which is a good indicator that they are inclusive.
  4. Find out about school policies. An inclusive school will have specific policies protecting and promoting the welfare of the LGBTQ community.
  5. Talk to the students, whether on campus or online. Ask them how LGBTQ-friendly the school is, and see if they can provide specific examples.

These steps may take a little more time, but they’ll help ensure that your college experience is welcoming and accepting. And while you’re at it, remember that there are a number of scholarships designated for LGBTQ students. You might qualify!