Gender Identity Options

Sep 28, 2016

Gender Identity Options

Students have the ability to express their gender identity in several ways within the Common App.  Here are the answers to some of the questions you may get as you work with your students and families. 

How can a student express their gender identity?
Within the Profile section, in addition to the sex question, there is an optional free response text field that gives applicants a place to further describe their gender identity. They can use the open response field or the "Additional Information" prompt within the Writing section to share any information they wish for colleges to know. Some member colleges also ask additional questions in order to receive the data most needed for their individual campus process.

How should students respond to the sex assigned at birth question?
Applicants should indicate their sex. If their current legal sex differs from their sex assigned at birth, they should feel free to report their legal sex. We recognize that transgender applicants who have had their gender marker legally changed, their sex assigned at birth will differ from their current legal sex. Applicants can share additional information about gender identity and/or legal gender change within the "Demographics" section in the Profile tab, and in the "Additional Information" prompt in the Writing section of the application.  The Common Application does not share its information with any federal agencies and is for college and university reference only.

I have a student who do not wish to disclose their sex assigned at birth. What should they do?
If the student's current legal sex differs from their sex assigned at birth, they should feel free to report legal sex. 

Will responding to the Sex Assigned at Birth question prevent students from accessing financial aid?
Many colleges and universities are sensitive to the complexities of gender identity. Applicants can use the optional free response text field to provide information they wish to share. Responding to the questions presented will not prevent them from accessing financial aid.

The conversations around gender identity continue to evolve. The Common Application is committed to reviewing questions and prompts as part of our regular annual system enhancement process to ensure that they are in line with best practices.