Harvard is considering adding questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to their admissions applications, reports the Harvard Crimson. The optional section would allow applicants to identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender:
“We want to send a positive signal to students who are grappling with the issue of [sexual orientation] or gender identity,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this campus is really welcoming to all students and that’s the signal we want to send.”
Fitzsimmons said identification as LGBT would not act as a positive “tip” in the application process, unlike other factors like place of residence and legacy status which can help land an applicant in the group of accepted students. […]
Among the possibilities under consideration is an optional essay, which could enable students to share stories and experiences that they may not have included otherwise, Fitzsimmons said. The office already added an option for applicants to the Class of 2015 to express interest in participating in LGBT student groups in the extracurricular area of the supplement.
Nationally, questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in admissions are pretty rare. In January, the Common App rejected adding questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. This fall, Elmhurst College, an Illinois liberal arts school, added a question that asked applicants whether they identified as LGBT; two colleges, Tufts and Connecticut College, ask gender identity questions to address transgender applicants.