Searching for a college that is a good fit for any student is not easy. From finances to weather, there are dozens of things that factor in to making this important decision. For LGBTQ students, the search can be even more overwhelming. Seeking out a school with a supportive and accepting student population, not to mention a good sized LGBTQ community to become a part of narrows the field for some quite significantly.
Parents of LGBTQ - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning - students often have big worries about their children being victims of bullying, discrimination, and worse. Finding resources and options is easy for some who have the benefit of living in diverse and inclusive communities - but for those who may not have access to this kind of information through their schools and other groups, here are some websites, lists and more to help you in your search for a school that will be the perfect fit for your LGBTQ student.
"An inclusive college allows students to experience every aspect of college life as their authentic selves, which in turn cultivates ambition, confidence, and optimism toward their future,." - Janice Herthel, author of "I Am Jazz" - NBCnews.com
Organizations where you can find support
The first places to look for information in support of your LGBTQ student are organizations that focus on the community at large and college students in particular.
The wider the reach of the organization, the more opportunities you and your student will have to connect with people who can help you find the right college and the money to go there.
Campus Pride is the leading organization working to facilitate change on campuses across the country to create a comfortable atmosphere for people of all sexual orientations to learn, grow and enjoy.
Through training, education, protests and communication, Campus Pride offers a place to gather information, share experiences and find others to connect to. Campus Pride also works on behalf of fighting racism, which they see as a similar problem to homophobia.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a site that aggregates all kinds of information for the LGBTQ community, including many articles about college students. The country's oldest advocacy group for this community, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force focuses on training and education for better understanding of the community. They also offer the a comprehensive list of LGBTQ friendly colleges and universities.
The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals is an organization that focuses specifically on making college campuses more LGBTQ friendly and inclusive in planning academic coursework.
Lists of LGBTQ friendly schools
College Choice has a list of the most LGBTQ friendly schools based on factors including lifestyle issues such as residence life, on campus support, faculty training and peer mentoring.
There may be no more searched, feared or used college ranking list than the Princeton Review. They have created a list of LGBTQ friendly colleges on their website, with Sarah Lawrence coming in first place.
Great Values list of schools may not all be exactly great values, but it's a good list of options for LGBTQ students to consider.
For an easy and visual list of the friendliest colleges and universities for LGBTQ state by state, take a look at this.
Managing the cost of college
There are many scholarships available to LGBTQ students, along with financial aid. Just like any family, those with LGBTQ students are faced with enormous expenses connected with going to college. These are a few scholarships that are specifically for those in the LGBTQ community.
The Stonewall Foundation offers scholarships and grants to members of the LGBTQ community.
The League Foundation has scholarships for those students who have given back to their community through philanthropic work.
The Point Foundation is an organization that focuses on reaching out to corporations, individuals and organizations to raise money to fund scholarships for LGBTQ students.
For "out and proud" transgender students pursuing an education in the helping and caring professions (social services, health care, religious instruction, teaching and the law), TSELF has scholarships available.
LGBTQ journalism students can apply for the Messenger-Anderson Journalism Scholarship and Internship Program. Applicant must be a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
For those pursuing an MBA, the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship is open to applicants.