Student sitting and studying on their laptop

Before you arrive on campus

Preferred name vs. legal name

The CU Boulder application has a section for preferred name, and students using a preferred name are encouraged to add it to that field. However, your legal (known as your primary name) is associated with your official records. If you are submitting any supplemental material (such as a letter of recommendation), we suggest you write your legal name in the header. Even if a preferred name is used throughout, this ensures records are processed properly and in a timely manner.

Adding a preferred name to the application will only change how you are addressed by the Office of Admissions. If you wish to designate your preferred name in additional university systems, you may do so in MyCUInfo. For details, visit the Update Your Personal Information page in the Registrar’s website.

Changing legal (primary) name during application

If you are in the process of changing your legal name as you apply, contact Admissions directly (303-492-6301) and they will happily assist you in updating your information.

Changing legal (primary) name after enrollment

Detailed instructions and forms are available on the Registrar’s site under How to Change Your Primary Name.

Identifying gender on application

While gender is listed as an option on the application, it is completely optional and you do not have to give an answer. Gender is only collected for demographic and statistical purposes and does not factor into admissions decisions.

Additional admissions concerns

If you have any additional questions or concerns, the best point of contact is your regional admissions counselor.

After arriving on campus

Using my preferred name and gender pronoun

There are several ways to go about addressing preferred name and pronouns with your instructors and professors. Here are some ideas we have, and by no means are these the only ways.

  • Update your personal information, including preferred name and personal pronouns through MyCUInfo. Details are available on the Registrar’s website. This will begin the process of changing information (where technically and legally feasible) on rosters, in classrooms and in CU systems
  • If you are unsure about your instructor’s awareness of your preferred name and/or gender request, you can email them directly. For students who find discussing trans identity or transition difficult or awkward, here is an example of an email:

Dear Professor Jones,

I am writing to let you know that I am in the process of transitioning. My name is currently listed as _________ on your class rosters and computer systems. I will now be going by _________________ and prefer ____________________ pronouns. I will be using my preferred name on all of my homework, tests or other class activities, so please make a note about the change. If you have any questions on how to manage name changes or anything else, please contact the Center for Inclusion & Social Change on campus at or 303-492-0272.

Thank you so much for your understanding and help.

  • Other students are more comfortable discussing name and pronoun preferences in person. After class or during office hours are great times to talk to your teacher, and they will have information on office hours on their syllabus.

What to do if an instructor does not respect your preference:

  • Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to ensure that another person will respect your requests to be addressed by your preferred name and gender pronoun. When this happens, you have the option to report the issue. As always, we are here for you to help out and support you, so contact us with any concerns or questions.

Changing my Buff OneCard to reflect my preferred name

The Buff OneCard is the ID card for students, faculty and staff at CU. After you have changed your preferred name on MyCUInfo, you can visit the Buff OneCard Office and request a card with your updated name. The cost is $5.00 (the same for any name change card).

Offices where I need to change my legal name

After changing your legal name, the most important office to contact is the Registrar. Information on the forms to fill out and who to speak to can be found at the Registrar’s change of information page.

Offices on campus that do not sync to the Registrar will need to be contacted separately. These offices include:

Change my name on my diploma

You need to submit a completed Student Biodemographical Information Update Form along with supporting legal documentation to the Office of the Registrar.