Schools With The Most Conservative, Most Liberal Students

Generally speaking, it’s assumed that college students are pretty liberal. But have you ever wondered which liberal student body is the most extreme? Or whether there are schools where conservatives are in the majority?

Each year, The Princeton Review publishes a college guide for high school students based on feedback from 143,000 college students at nearly 400 different colleges. They list top schools for various majors, the 200 “best value” schools, details about all the different colleges, and also rankings.

The rankings cover topics related to campus culture and students, like “Best Campus Food,” or “Party Schools.” They’re compiled based on students’ answers to a Princeton Review survey, and reflect what students think about their schools.

Two of the rankings, schools with the “Most Conservative Students” and schools with the “Most Liberal Students,” are based on students’ assessments of their personal political views. To see the full lists, check out Poets&Quants’ compilation of the last four years of each ranking.

The ‘Most Conservative Students’ From 2017-2014

2017 Rank & School2017 Rank2016 Rank2015 Rank2014 Rank
Brigham Young University15915
Baylor University2152017
Thomas Aquinas College3127
University of Dallas4656
College of the Ozarks5845
Grove City College6233
Hillsdale College73104
Hampden-Sydney College81189
United States Naval Academy991510
United States Air Force Academy10NRNR19

Source: The Princeton Review


The ‘Most Liberal Students’ From 2017-2014

2017 Rank & School2017 Rank2016 Rank2015 Rank2014 Rank
Sarah Lawrence College1412
Bennington College2231
Marlboro College3155
Reed College49814
Ithaca College5NRNRNR
Earlham College65NRNR
Scripps College77NRNR
Grinnell College81813NR
Bard College9344
Warren Wilson College10623

Source: The Princeton Review


There are some notable differences between the type of school the ends up on each list.

To start with, all five United States military academies — the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the United States Military Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy — have been on the conservative-students list multiple times in the last four years.

Many of the more conservative schools are also religious institutions. Brigham Young University is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Baylor is a private Baptist university, and Thomas Aquinas College, the University of Dallas, and Grove City College are Catholic universities. Several others are affiliated with various branches of Christianity, as well.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of schools on the liberal-students list are private liberal arts colleges, on the East or West coasts, with small undergraduate classes. Sarah Lawrence College, which topped the list in 2017, embodies this. The private liberal arts college with 1,337 undergraduate students is located in Westchester County, New York, with students from nearly every state in the U.S. and 53 countries.

That isn’t to say that conservative students don’t like small liberal arts schools, or that liberal students don’t go to religiously affiliated schools. But the lists are an interesting resource if you’re looking for a school at either extreme, or if you’re curious about the university qualities that attract a certain type of student.