Use of Lived Name and Personal Pronouns

Western recognizes that many students choose to identify themselves with a first name that differs from their legal first name. We believe that, whenever possible, everyone should be referred to by the name and personal pronouns that most authentically reflect their identity.

What to Expect During the Application and Enrollment Process

If you provide a lived or preferred first name in your application for admission, the Office of Admissions and others on campus will use it throughout the application and enrollment process whenever we communicate with you. We will also use your personal pronouns in communication with your family.

In some instances, Western will use legal, rather than lived name. Sometimes we are required by law to use a student’s legal name. For example, legal name is used to process Financial Aid and on official transcripts. In other instances, our systems and business processes are not yet able to accommodate both lived and legal name. Work is underway across campus to fully implement lived name usage for all student services, where legal name is not required.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lived name? Is it the same or different than my legal name?

A lived name is the use of a name, usually a first name, that is different from a person’s legal name. There are many reasons why someone may use a lived name, including:

  • A name that better represents an individual’s gender identity,
  • A name that better represents an individual’s cultural identity,
  • A nickname, middle name or shortened derivative of a legal name,
  • A way to distinguish oneself from someone with a similar name.
  • A name (possibly a former name) that someone is known by professionally may be preferred for reputational purposes.

Do I have to provide a lived name?

No. Using a preferred name is a personal choice, and entirely optional.

Is lived name limited to first name?

At this time, Western’s data systems allow for collection of a lived first name only.

Can parents or guardians see this information?

Yes. The Office of Admissions and other areas of Western’s campus regularly communicate with parents and guardians throughout the application and enrollment process. Your family may also see lived name on general mailings that are mailed to your home.

Can I change my lived name at a later time?

Yes. For more information visit the Student Name Changes page.