Northwestern asks graduate student applicants optional question on sexuality

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern recently added an optional question about sexuality on its application for The Graduate School.

The question asks if the applicant “self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQI community,” according to a news release from The Graduate School. The change is effective for the 2014-15 admissions season.

The Graduate School’s Office of Research and Analysis will gather information from the responses to track the LGBTQ population, according to a news release. The data will inform the school on the most effective way to allocate resources and services for LGBTQ students.

“If we don’t ask the question, we are not building a data archive and, therefore, have no way of knowing what the needs of our populations and sub-populations in our communities are — beyond guessing and anecdote,” Graduate School Dean Dwight McBride said in a University news release.

Very few schools in the country currently ask this question, The Graduate School noted on its website. Last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Iowa added questions on sexual orientation in their undergraduate applications.

The Graduate School also added a new Office of Diversity & Inclusion, which will also look at data from the new question in order to improve support for underrepresented groups.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @alice__yin