At a handful of other universities, there are admissions procedures that might identify LGBT student applicants. At Dartmouth College, for example, students can check boxes of activities that might interest them, including LGBT-centered activities. At the University of Pennsylvania, students who write in their application essay that they are gay can be paired with a mentor.
The question at Elmhurst appears in a small group of optional questions, following this introduction: "Elmhurst College is committed to diversity and connecting underrepresented students with valuable resources on campus. The following questions are optional."
Then, after a space where students can indicate a religious affiliation, they are asked: "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?"
Gary Rold, dean of admission at Elmhurst, said that the question was added as part of a commitment to "looking at diversity in all of its forms." He said that the college can only know if it is attracting and admitting gay applicants if it asks the question, just as it asks about other demographic categories. "How do we know who we are attracting if we don't ask?"
The "enrichment scholarship" is awarded to those who are admitted and who are members of an underrepresented group. LGBT students will now be considered such a group.
Elmhurst College is a private four-year college founded in 1871 and affiliated with the United Church of Christ.