campus life

The College Recruiting Fairs Sharpshooting for Gays

In February we learned about UPenn, the Ivy League school joining peers like Dartmouth in actively seeking out gay prospects. How were they doing it? By looking at key aspects of their applications, like personal essays and volunteer work. Well, here’s another tactic: Hit the streets, set up a LGBT-specific recruiting fair, and let the gays pour in.

That’s just what was happening in New York City and elsewhere. College recruiting officials are waving their rainbow flags in hopes of capturing yet another perhaps underrepresented demographic. And while schools like NYU and USC might be more obvious picks for gays matriculating, other universities are having less success.

Derek Pooley, an admissions counselor at the State University of New York at Potsdam, manned a booth at the New York college fair this past fall. “The first person I had come up to me was a drag queen,” he says. “I thought that was fantastic.”

He says, though, that not many in attendance expressed a strong interest in Potsdam, perhaps because it doesn’t have a reputation as a gay haven. Mr. Pooley, who is gay and graduated from there last year, let a lot of people know “I had a great experience; not once did I ever feel uncomfortable there.”

And then there’s another, equally pressing issue: These schools might score high when it comes to gay-friendliness, but do they even have the degree programs we’re after? ‘Cause, like, that’s sort of important too.