Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess


In a time when universities actively recruit diverse groups of applicants, some universities are seeing the need for a diverse student population and advancing their recruitment initiatives to recruit specific groups of students. The LGBTQ+ community has been perceived as an invisible community (Cegler, 2012) by some universities, but other higher education institutions are seeing the value of specifically recruiting students who identify as a part of this community. This study was designed to focus on the initiatives universities are implementing to effectively recruit students who identify as LGBTQ+. Using a qualitative approach, the researcher interviewed six participants who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community—and who varied in sexual orientation and experiences during the college search—and analyzed the data for common themes and trends. The participants were three women and three men who identified as cisgender sexual minorities in their first year at a mid-sized, Midwestern university. Their experiences varied as they went through the college search process. Participants shared specific factors that attracted them to the university in this study, including LGBTQ+ student support, an inclusive campus climate, and alumni recommendations.