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Using my chosen name on a university application?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by Hanyauku, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Hanyauku

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    I'm wondering if anyone has experience using their chosen name when applying to school? I'm interested in going to graduate school this fall, and I'd like to start the program having socially transitioned. I have settled on a chosen name that I use with those I'm out to, but I haven't changed my legal name. The deadline for the application is April 1st, which I don't think leaves me enough time to change my legal name, and even if it did, I imagine changing my legal name would require me to come out at my current job, which I'd rather not do. So, is it possible for me to apply to this university using my chosen name, without having changed my legal name? I already looked on the application, and there are no separate spots for legal/preferred names, just a spot for first name. To possibly complicate matters further, I'm applying to a graduate program at the same university where I completed my undergraduate education. My undergraduate transcripts would also have my legal name, and unless I ask my references to use my chosen name, which I could, all of my letters of recommendation from previous professors/employers would have my legal name.

    I'm fine with putting down my legal name if I have to, I just don't want a situation where I'm unable to clarify my gender identity going into the program. And I guess even If I could clarify it, there is still a section of the application that asks for my sex, and I'm assuming I have to use the one that was assigned to me at birth unless I can somehow legally change it. If it's helpful, the application is GradCAS, which seems to be kind of like the common app but for grad schools, so the application itself isn't specific to the university I'm applying to, it's just a general form that is submitted to any university I choose. Anywho, any and all advice would be appreciated.
     
    #1 Hanyauku, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  2. Hawk

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    How accepting is this University with LGBT issues?

    I'd personally list your given name if your undergrad program transfers to your graduate program to simplify things and to make sure you actually have a spot in the program without any confusion using a different name. Once your accepted, could you email your professors explaining your situation and that you would prefer to go by a different name other than the one on the roster.
     
  3. Hanyauku

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    Hi Hawk, thanks for the advice. Even though I'd love just to say screw it and just put down Natalie for everything, I think you're right that it's not the best option. While the university isn't in the most accepting part of the US, the campus itself if pretty open, with an active LGBT group and a school policy that explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity. My intended area of focus also overlaps with studying the LGBT community. I guess part of the reason I wanted to go to grad school was so that I could begin a journey at a place as myself, as opposed to having to go through a major transition, like I'd have to if I decided to transition at my current job. That was probably too much to hope for, but I guess I can start the year as me, even if I have my given name on my application. I didn't think about changing my name on the roster until after you mentioned it, but I checked online, and the university has a policy in place for changing it, so thanks for that!
     
  4. ThroughTheMist

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    I'm also looking at doing a social transition at the time that I start grad school. Two of the schools I've looked do have forms for current students to submit a preferred name to be used on class rosters. I plan to apply using my legal name, then submit the form I mentioned as soon as I'm admitted to a program.
     
  5. RainbowGreen

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    You unfortunately have to apply with your legal name.

    However, make sure you do your research. Some universities allow you to change the name used in non-official stuff (like school email, attendances, student ID, etc.). You can do that once you're in. Maybe send an email to the university and see if they have an option for that. If they don't have an option for it, you'll have to email your professors to tell them about the situation. I doubt anyone would give you slack for it.
     
  6. Brandy Bee

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    Is there a space where you can enter your preferred name in addition to your legal name?
    In my experience, most uni staff aren't too concerned with what you put down as long as it's correct. What I mean is, if you tell them that there's been an error or a change and you insist upon getting your way, I doubt very much they would give you a hard time about it; they aren't government officials of any kind, it's not like it's a passport you're trying to modify.
    At the end of the day, as long as you can prove your identity as per the usual methods, I highly doubt they care at all what gets printed on your degree, you're a customer of theirs, after all.
     
  7. LaurenSkye

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    I'm pretty sure you have to use your legal name for an application even if its not a gender change issue. A lot of times professors will ask at the start of the class, if you go by another name, then you can tell them. Good luck.