Duke allowing applicants to write essay describing gender, sexual orientation

Duke allowing applicants to write essay describing gender, sexual orientation

[Ed. – Oh crazed new world…]

Duke University has joined a small group of colleges that include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on admissions applications. But Duke is doing so in a different way from others, with a short essay, rather than boxes to check. And applicants can use the essay to write about identities beyond sexual orientation and gender identity that they want to share with Duke.

The move comes as other colleges that have added such questions report that their experiences have been positive. Duke is also the first Common Application institution to add such a question — a notable development in that the Common Application in 2011 rejected the idea of adding optional questions on sexual orientation and gender identity to its application form.

Duke’s question states: “Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better — perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background — we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.”

Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke, said via email that Duke students and others had encouraged the adoption of the new question, and that much of the discussion had been over whether to use a checkbox or some other format.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

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