And how hard is it to land even a minimum-wage job? This year, the Ivy League college admissions acceptance rate was 8.9%. Last year, when Walmart opened its first store in Washington, D.C., there were more than 23,000 applications for 600 jobs, which resulted in an acceptance rate of 2.6%, making the big box store about twice as selective as Harvard and five times as choosy as Cornell. Telling unemployed people to get off their couches (or out of the cars they live in or the shelters where they sleep) and get a job makes as much sense as telling them to go study at Harvard.
I started college at 16 and had to go through the same process since my medical transition hadn’t begun by then, so I can offer a bit of insight from my own experiences. What I would suggest doing is emailing them prior to classes starting. The professor might take some kind of attendance in the first few sessions to see who is still in the class and as such you don’t want them shouting out your legal name. Keep the email as simple and to the point as possible, being forward and not leaving a lot of room for them to say no. An example of this would be something like:
I am a student in your (insert class name here) beginning on (starting time and date). I am contacting you prior to class to let you know that I am a transgender student and am in the process of legally changing my name and gender. My name will show up on your roster as (legal name), but I would only go by (chosen name) and (male, he/him,) pronouns. I will be putting (chosen name) on my assignments and would appreciate it if you called me that in class. If you have any questions for me regarding this, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My email address is (email address) and my phone number is (phone number).
Thank you very much for your understanding,
(sign with chosen name)
This kind of format gets the information to the professor clearly and concisely. It also avoids that “preferred name/preferred pronouns” nonsense, which gives people room to not use them. You’re directly saying “this is what I go by and I will not go by anything else” instead of “oh if it isn’t a huge bother please call me this”. Some professors are probably going to be accepting and others might not be, that’s okay and it’s something to expect. It’s not the end of the world. Look up what protections are given underneath your schools guidelines, look up the federal protections you might have, and don’t be afraid to push for the respect you deserve.
I don’t say that I’m trans, but otherwise this is what I do and I’ve only had good responses. I also offer to include my student ID number on assignments in large classes with TAs who might do grading so that there’s no confusion if there are multiple people with my last name.