Some of you may or may not know this about me, but I’m the mom of three amazing kids — my middle is transgender/non-binary.  Applying to college and trying to figure out a good fit for you is hard enough, but when you’re applying to college and you’re trans, non-binary, genderfluid, or genderqueer, it can be especially tough. And, if you’re in one of those groups, you know that these students face additional challenges at home and at school — and that certainly extends to college admissions as well.

Five Quick Tips:

  1. Keep up with the Forms: While many colleges ask for your preferred name, you may still need to use your birth name, if it hasn’t been legally changed yet, so that all your paperwork and files won’t get lost or disorganized.
  2. Think about Your Essays: To come out or not to come out? You don’t have to write about being transgender in your essays, but you certainly can if it’s a story you want to tell. If you’re worried that being trans might hurt you in admissions, ask yourself this question: Do I want to attend a college that would deny me because of who I am?
  3. I got this amazing advice from a fellow mom of a nonbinary child: “It’s worth checking the state laws where the college is located—the most supportive campus in the world can’t help your student if the state doesn’t guarantee access to health care, makes name/marker change incredibly difficult, etc.”
  4. Ask Questions: Be sure to ask colleges these kinds of questions when doing your research or reaching out or on tours/visits/info sessions:
    1. Do they have gender-inclusive housing?
    2. Do they have a nondiscrimination policy for trans/queer students?

    3. Do they allow students to change their names on campus records?

    4. What resources and opportunities do they have to support trans/queer students?

    5. Do the schools’ health clinics and health plans cover trans medical care if that’s something you are interested in?

  5. Check Out These Helpful Resources:
      1. MIT’s Blog: Applying While Transgender (

      2. FAQ About Transgender Students at Colleges and Universities (

      3. Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse (

      4. Supporting Transgender Transitioning Students in the College Application Process

Looking for college suggestions?

Here are some colleges that have been suggested to me or that I’ve heard have trans-friendly environments:

Virginia Commonwealth

Ithaca College

CU Boulder

U Oregon



Claremont McKenna

UC Santa Barbara

Pacific University of Oregon

Oregon State

University of Montana

Editing to add as I hear of more from various sources:


Washington State

U Washington

Western Washington



Clark U in Massachusetts

SUNY New Paltz




New School



Sarah Lawrence



Northern Arizona U


“Your lives matter. Your voice matters. Your stories matter.” ~ Laverne Cox

Take care. Be yourself. Love who you are.

If you want to learn more about college admissions for LGBTQ+ students, check out my book, Hey AdmissionsMom: Real Talk from Reddit