The Advocate College Guide

Title: The Advocate College Guide
Author: Shane L. Windmeyer
Publisher: Alyson Books
Year: 2006


Not all Christian students should attend a Christian college. Some Christian students do very well in a Christian academic environment. They find the integration of spirituality and academic studies supports their faith. Other Christian students find a Christian college is not the better option. Young people tend to be very idealistic. When they see a wide gap between the caring, loving ideal of Christianity and the mistakes a Christian institution makes, their faith is deeply challenged. This is especially true when students feel the college has not treated them or their friends fairly.

In the case of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, queer, and questioning students, the decision to attend a Christian college is very difficult and complex. Many Christian colleges are openly hostile to queer students. In such cases, a queer student might find attending an affirming public college, while attending an affirming Christian church is an option that provides a supportive academic and spiritual environment.

This book review is provided to help queer Christian students who are considering attending a public college.

Students are consumers. College and university education is a big-ticket item. An article about the cost of education for the 2006/2007 school year, found on the web site, outlines the typical costs of education in United States colleges and universities. The site indicates the average cost of tuition at four-year public colleges in the United States was $5,836 a year for the 2006/2007 school year. Students attending an out-of-state public college can expect to pay substantially higher tuition costs. The web site states the average public college tuition fee for an out-of-state student is $9,947 for the 2006/2007 school year. The cost of tuition for a four-year private college averaged $22,218 for the 2006/2007 school year.

To get the picture of how much a college degree costs, a person needs to move beyond the figures given on the web site. A four-year college degree a big investment. The investment over a four-year period of time, using the average tuition fees for a public college for the 2006/2007 school year is in excess of $23,000. The average tuition cost of a four year degree for an out-of-state student at a public college is in excess of $39,000. When we add the cost of transportation, housing, food, clothing, textbooks, computers, and supplies to the tuition fee, we can easily see that a four-year degree is one of the largest investments a person will make. A car, a home, and a college education are three of the largest investments a person will make in his or her life. Fortunately, a college education tends to give a high return on the investment. The web site cites the U.S. Census Bureau as stating a person with a Bachelor of Arts, or a more advanced degree, can expect to earn $1 million a year more money in his or her life than a person with a high school diploma.

A student planning on going to college or university should spend more time selecting a good college or university to attend than a person would spend researching the best car to purchase, or a good neighborhood and a good home in which to live. The importance of making an informed educational choice is very high for queer students.

Obtaining a college degree takes a lot of drive, determination, and hard work. Finishing a four year degree is difficult under the best conditions. Being in an educational environment that is safe and affirming can be an important factor in a student's educational success. This is what makes

The Advocate College Guide is an important resource for a wide range of people, including:

  • The parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning, and trans-identified students. Should a parent suspect he or she has queer child, purchasing The Advocate College Guide might be a way to let a son or daughter feel comfortable discussing sexuality, and can help a queer student know that it is safe to be out at home.

  • High school guidance counsellors, and college counsellors, or academic advisors.

  • High school principals.

  • School and college librarians.

This book rates the top 100 United States colleges for queer students. There is a check-list for each of the colleges rated. Students can quickly review the check-list to ensure a college offers the services they feel are important. Information in the Guide can be confirmed by phoning the college or checking the college web site. Some of the items included in the college check-list appear below:

  • LGBT alley student organizations, LGBT resource center/office.

  • LGBT pride week and/or coming out week.

  • Significant number of LGBT social activities and educational events.

  • Nondiscrimination statement that includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

  • Actively recruits LGBT students.

  • Trains campus police on LGBT sensitivity.

  • Procedures for reporting LGBT bias, harassment and hate crimes.

  • Offers LGBT housing, and health and counselling services.

  • Has LGBT student scholarships.

  • Conducts special LGBT graduation service.

  • Offers support for people transitioning to another gender.

  • Active LGBT alumni group.