Universities With The Most Liberal Students


Each year the Princeton Review lists the top 20 schools with the most liberal students, and these schools switch out and trade places so dramatically that they make the conservative list seem especially steadfast and orderly.

By viewing the rankings for the past five years all at once, you’ll find that there are significantly more schools listed here than there are schools on the conservative list for the equivalent time period. This means, of course, that the schools pegged to have the most conservative student bodies are more likely to stay on that list in future years, while the most liberal school one year may not even be listed the next.

A total of 37 have been on the liberal list at least once in the past five years, and of them, 13 made it only one time. There are eight schools that made the list for each of these five years, but even those schools jump all over the ranking, like Bennington College, which leapt from 12th to 2nd place in just one year. In fact, only one school, Warren Wilson College, has regularly ranked in the top five.

The listings are based on students’ answers to the survey question: “Politically, are you: left-wing, Democrat, middle, Republican, right-wing?” The easily overturned nature of the liberal list may be explained, in part, by the fact that it is determined by a survey. That’s because the percentage of liberal students is more easily changed in a small group than a larger one, and an interesting trend that can be spotted by looking at the past five years, is the size of these liberal schools. Every year, a vast majority of them are very small.

Of the 37 schools that have been listed, 34 have undergraduate populations under 5,000. Only two of the schools, McGill University and the University of California – Santa Cruz, have student populations larger than 10,000. Nine of the listed schools actually have fewer than 1,000 undergraduates.

Here are the schools with the Most Liberal Students:

Ranking The ‘Most Liberal Students’ From 2014 to 2010


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2014 Rank & School2014 Rank2013 Rank2012 Rank2011 Rank2010 Rank
Bennington College121264
Sarah Lawrence College23546
Warren Wilson College35221
Bard College41735
Marlboro College51019117
New College of Florida619353
Macalester College741813
College of the Atlantic86NRNRNR
Vassar College9NRNR1417
Skidmore College101113NRNR
Lewis & Clark College111616NR15
Occidental College12NRNRNR10
Beloit College13NRNR2020
Reed College14720139
Pitzer College15149NR11
Mills College16NRNR1818
Evergreen State College17814NR12
Clark University18NRNR19NR
Oberlin College19201110NR
Harvard College20NRNRNRNR
Eugene Lang CollegeNR94916
Swarthmore CollegeNR12NRNR19
Brandeis UniversityNR13NRNRNR
Grinnell CollegeNR15NRNRNR
Smith CollegeNR17NRNRNR
University of Puget SoundNR188NRNR
Hampshire CollegeNRNR6NR2
Prescott CollegeNRNR1075
McGill UniversityNRNR15NRNR
Green Mountain CollegeNRNR17NRNR
Scripps CollegeNRNR18NRNR
Hampshire CollegeNRNRNR1NR
Carleton CollegeNRNRNR12NR
Mount Holyoke CollegeNRNRNR15NR
Emerson CollegeNRNRNR16NR
University of California – Santa CruzNRNRNR17NR
Wesleyan UniversityNRNRNRNR14

Source: The Princeton Review