Choosing a college as an LGBTQ student poses unique challenges. About 23% of LGBTQ students are more likely to experience harassment and less likely to feel comfortable on campus than their non-LGBTQ peers, according to a survey by Campus Pride.
So each year, the Princeton Review ranks the top schools in the United States for LGBTQ students.
The ranking of the most LGBTQ-friendly campuses—campuses where students report that all people are treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity—is part of the publication’s annual survey that asks 138,000 students representing 384 colleges to rate their institutions across 62 categories.
According to the survey, here are the top 10 LGBTQ-friendly colleges for 2019:
1. Emerson College*
2. Bryn Mawr College
3. Brown University*
4. Agnes Scott College*
5. Mount Holyoke College
6. Warren Wilson College
7. Vassar College*
8. College of the Atlantic
9. Sarah Lawrence College
10. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
*Editor’s note: EAB congratulates our member institutions who made the list. Member institutions listed above are marked with an asterisk.
This year, Emerson College topped the Princeton Review ranking for its commitment to educating its student body on LGBTQ issues and for providing support and a sense of community for LGBTQ students on campus. “Pretty much every resource here is supportive of gay students,” says one student in a video press release about the ranking. “We have the faculty and administration who are really open-minded, really willing to reach out to you and give you help when you need it.”
One campus resource, EAGLE (Emerson’s Advancement Group for Love And Expression), was “established to promote visibility and acceptance of queer culture throughout the campus and community” and “sponsors social, academic, and awareness function for the community,” according to Emerson’s website.
The college also makes it easy for students to change their names online to correspond with their preferred gender identities, provides students with a list of LGBTQ terminology and definitions, and offers students LGBTQ resources across the Boston area.
Bryn Mawr College earned the #2 spot this year. In 2015, the Pennsylvania women’s college began accepting transgender students.
“As we affirm Bryn Mawr’s identity as a women’s college, we do so knowing that our students, as well as other members of the community, will continue to explore, negotiate and/or reject various concepts of gender,” President Kim Cassidy wrote in a statement at the time. “Indeed such critical engagement with social constructs is an important part of our educational purpose.”
Similar to Emerson, Bryn Mawr has student programs aimed at deepening students’ understanding of LGBTQ issues on campus and supporting students who identify as LGBTQ. The college also has a LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group to provide networking opportunities for alumni.
“Being able to share in experiences like coming out, finding community, and navigating societal and familiar pressures was an incredible experience,” explains alumna and affinity group member Lauren Buckheit.
Sources: Bryn Mawr alumnae bulletin, accessed 1/2; Emerson College site , accessed 1/2; Emerson College site , accessed 1/2; Emerson College video, accessed 1/2; Glum, Newsweek, 7/31/17; Princeton Review rankings, accessed 1/2
Learn more about supporting LGBTQ+ students
I analyzed the methodology of five of the most popular rankings for LGBTQ-friendly colleges to determine what resources, services, and policies the most inclusive colleges have on campus.