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 & School 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 Rank
Bennington College 1 2 12 6 4
Sarah Lawrence College 2 3 5 4 6
Warren Wilson College 3 5 2 2 1
Bard College 4 1 7 3 5
Marlboro College 5 10 19 11 7
New College of Florida 6 19 3 5 3
Macalester College 7 4 1 8 13
College of the Atlantic 8 6 NR NR NR
Vassar College 9 NR NR 14 17
Skidmore College 10 11 13 NR NR
Lewis & Clark College 11 16 16 NR 15
Occidental College 12 NR NR NR 10
Beloit College 13 NR NR 20 20
Reed College 14 7 20 13 9
Pitzer College 15 14 9 NR 11
Mills College 16 NR NR 18 18
Evergreen State College 17 8 14 NR 12
Clark University 18 NR NR 19 NR
Oberlin College 19 20 11 10 NR
Harvard College 20 NR NR NR NR
Eugene Lang College NR 9 4 9 16
Swarthmore College NR 12 NR NR 19
Brandeis University NR 13 NR NR NR
Grinnell College NR 15 NR NR NR
Smith College NR 17 NR NR NR
University of Puget Sound NR 18 8 NR NR
Hampshire College NR NR 6 NR 2
Prescott College NR NR 10 7 5
McGill University NR NR 15 NR NR
Green Mountain College NR NR 17 NR NR
Scripps College NR NR 18 NR NR
Hampshire College NR NR NR 1 NR
Carleton College NR NR NR 12 NR
Mount Holyoke College NR NR NR 15 NR
Emerson College NR NR NR 16 NR
University of California – Santa Cruz NR NR NR 17 NR
Wesleyan University NR NR NR NR 14

Source: The Princeton Review