Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students face challenges and barriers to higher education that heterosexual students do not. Many of these challenges are rooted in negative high school experiences of LGB youth, such as social stigmatization and family rejection. Additionally, LGB students have historically been excluded from admissions office outreach considerations. This has resulted in structural and symbolic barriers in secondary and post-secondary institutions. These barriers limit LBG student access and also limit available resources to support the successful transition to higher education institutions. Higher education admissions leaders have a unique opportunity to reach out to and actively support LGB students in their transition to college. Higher education admissions department leaders were surveyed about the role of institutions and admissions departments in creating proactively inclusive and welcoming environments for LGB students. The leaders indicated an overall need for institutions and admissions departments to be welcoming, but stopped short of endorsing many specific, proactive measures that target LGB students. Admissions leader educational achievement levels, years of admissions work experience, non-white identity, and non-heterosexual identity were positively correlated with an overall sense of responsibility to LGB students. Admissions department leaders also indicated that the university as a whole, as opposed to their specific admissions department, had a greater responsibility to LGB students. At the institutional level, mid-to-large institutions in or near mid-to-large cities that were religiously unaffiliated, public, and with a bachelor's degree as the highest degree offered were positively correlated with an overall sense of responsibility to LGB students. Demographic breakdowns of responses, both institutional and respondent, indicated patterns helpful in targeting diversity initiative resources and sharpening admissions department diversity action policies.


Candace F. Raskin

Committee Member

Timothy Berry

Committee Member

Melissa Krull

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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