Colleges seek better ways to fit student needs

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By Megan G. Razzetti

 

Applying for college can be a long and daunting task especially when there are invasive questions to be answered.

When students apply for admission to college, the majority of the information that is asked is pretty basic. Some questions seem repetitive and annoying but its all to better fit the needs of the student applying. On top of that, schools are now considering asking for sexual orientation. Yes, sexual orientation.

At first, this might seem like a crazy idea for a college to ask this of a young person, still figuring their life out. Some are still in the process of creating their identity, others haven’t even began to.

Many would argue that sexual orientation shouldn’t be a factor in school or even work life, that its an entirely private matter. This being included on a college application is monumental is helping create a safe living and academic environment for new college students.

If implemented here at East Los Angeles College, the research collected will help in developing an even stronger community on campus. It will be especially helpful in instilling a safe academic space for those unsure if they will be accepted here.

Truth is,this completely voluntary portion of the application would help in determining what kind of services are needed on campus’. Services such as counseling are a main focus especially for those struggling with depression and other issues many college kids experience.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this would be a move to take preventative measures against bullying and harassment of LGBT students. These are some steps influenced by a law for equality and equal access in higher education (AB 620), that Governor Jerry Brown signed off on in the fall of 2011 in hopes of creating a better environment for LGBT students.

The first year of college can be pretty tough on a student’s spirit and well being. If a student goes to school in state clear across the country, it can be difficult to find a place of comfort and support away from home. By having students identify themselves, this creates a clearer understanding of the individuals that will be on campus.

If students don’t feel completely comfortable with this idea of sharing their sexual orientation with not only the strangers of the admissions office but also their parents who are allowed to view college applications, a visit to prospective colleges is a great idea.

The visit can help the student determine where they would fit in better and learn what kind of communities there are on campus. Also, sites such as the  Campus Pride Index are designed to help find supportive and accepting colleges in response to increasing demands of resources for the LGBT youth.

Attending a school that acknowledges and accepts a student for what they identify as is helpful in terms of helping a student succeed in their academic endeavours.

The California Safe Schools Coalition, confirms that students who feel safe at school perform better academically. They also have shown that students are more interested in attending college with the knowledge of acceptance within the learning environment.

Although this idea isn’t set in stone, it would give students some comfort in knowing that campus’ are trying to make things better.

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