Do you lean left or right? Do you care? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Either way, election day is fast approaching and unless you are living under a rock in Colorado, our swing state has made this election year quite visible. We have been inundated with political ads, campaign appearances, phone calls and mailings. So, it seems only natural that given my career as an educational consultant I got to thinking about how politics may impact a student’s college search.
There are many factors to consider in a college search and it is up to you to determine how heavily they weigh in the choice you make. For some students, geographic location or weather is key. For others, the academics or sports teams. However, for some students, politics may play a role in the decision.
Some colleges are well known for leaning heavily to the right or left and having a substantial population of their students of their campus holding a specific political outlook. Keep in mind though, no matter where you go, you are likely to come across a variety of opinions. The campus will most likely still have campus groups for College Democrats or College Republicans, will sponsor speakers on campus who provide a variety of perspectives, and allow for active and lively classroom debates with differing viewpoints. You may have a professor in a political science class who is conservative and a psychology professor who is liberal. You never know. So, just because a campus may “lean” a certain way, it doesn’t mean that all of the students share one collective political perspective. At some point in your college career you will ultimately be challenged about your beliefs and learn how to clearly articulate your stance other than what your parents told you growing up.
If you are a student with very clear political leanings and want to make the campus political atmosphere a significant factor in your college search and decision you may want to do some research. Though there are many websites and articles that circulate rankings of the “most liberal colleges” or “most conservative colleges” I recommend you do a little digging for yourself.
- Look at recent campus events on the college events calendar.
- Check out student groups and organizations for the college and see if they offer one you would want to be affiliated with.
- Talk to currents who attend and ask whether they, or any of their friends, ever feel isolated because of their political beliefs.
- Consider the surrounding area, community, and geographic location.
Remember, no matter where you attend, you will likely find diversity of opinion and meet friends and faculty who have varying perspectives but you may find that in fact, some campuses may be a stronger match with your viewpoints.