THE TOP TEN Most Socially Liberal Colleges
Article provided by The Princeton Review
Some colleges play it by the book while others might not even have one to play by, but in the end, it's all about how students on campus behave and what they deem acceptable. The Princeton Review's survey of 120,000 college students for "The Best 368 Colleges: 2009 Edition" revealed the top 10 most socially-liberal schools. Read excerpts from the students' responses to the survey below.
Article provided by The Princeton Review Some colleges play it by the book while others might not even have one to play by, but in the end, it's all about h...  more


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Warren Wilson College

Asheville, N.C.
The typical WWC undergrad "likes good organic wholesome food, a good local brew and bluegrass on a starry night, is health conscious but smokes hand-rolled cigarettes, dresses in work clothes but accessorizes, recycles, doesn't watch TV and knows some botanical-ornithological basics." To put it more simply: "This place is a haven for hippies and very left-wing people." Other types pepper the student body, including "surfers, farmers and punks, some people with dreadlocks, others with dyed hair. A small portion of the population has facial piercings and tattoos." Students who considered Warren Wilson also looked at Earlham College and The Evergreen State College.


Hampshire College

Amherst, Mass.
Students at Hampshire tend to be "socially conscious, left-wing and artistic. We are fond of do-it-yourself philosophies, from 'zines to music and film production to designing ecologically sustainable communities. We like a wide variety of music, and like to have parties in cramped mods at which we play this music at high volume. We are comfortable with smoking, drinking and drug use, in a laissez-faire sort of way. We may be vegetarian, vegan or meat eaters, but we like to cook, and we love to complain about the dining hall." Students who considered Hampshire also looked at Bard College, Sarah Lawrence College and Bennington College.


Bard College

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
"Hippies, hipsters and geek chic" are common sights on the Bard campus, as are "people who have that 'I'm on the cutting edge of underground fashion' look." However, while Bard might appear to be "all about tight designer jeans, indie rock and everything else NYC or LA," the reality is "there are really a lot of normal college kids here -- people seem to think everyone here was a social outcast in high school, but most people here are friendly, social and pretty normal (although certainly a bit cerebral)." Undergrads tend to be "politically conscious and left-wing-activist types." One student notes, "If you're uncreative or conservative you probably wouldn't fit in. Other than that, just about anything works." Students who considered Bard also looked at Harvard College, Yale University, Brown University and Amherst College.


The Evergreen State College

Olympia, Wash.
"The hippie stereotype persists" at The Evergreen State College, but they are by far "fairly normal college students: studying, partying occasionally and experimenting with different styles and points of view." True, "There seem to be more vegetarian, vegan, and health-conscious students at Evergreen" and the 'normal' TESC student "may be atypical elsewhere; when something offbeat or out of the norm happens, we just shrug our shoulders and say, 'Well, that's Evergreen!'" Still, the population runs the gamut from "neurotically brilliant grandmothers to Army veterans to 16-year-old geniuses to queer forestry students to mildly syndicated cartoonists." Students who considered Evergreen State also looked at Lewis-Clark State College, Western Washington University and University of Washington.


Bennington College

Bennington, Vt.
"Most of the students enjoy going against the grain" at Bennington. These "really interesting, crazy, creative brilliant people ... try to 'out-different' each other: Who can be the most eccentric? Everyone, no matter how nerdy, will not only be super cool here, but have a group of friends just like them." Although they insist that "there is no typical Bennington student," most students would concede that their peers "are usually creative, self-motivated, smart and hilarious. Among students here, there is a wide variety of social backgrounds, religious upbringings, intended academic concentrations and motivations. Politically, though, we are quite limited -- the vast majority of students are very liberal." Students who considered Bennington also looked at New York University, Bard College, Eugene Lang College, Sarah Lawrence College and Vassar College.


Reed College

Portland, Ore.
Reed students "are characterized by a love of learning for its own sake as well as an inability to dance like normal people. Skilled dancers can be integrated into the community with little difficulty, but academic slackers are quickly weeded out." Most "are the kind of 'closet geeks' that you'd never have known about in high school -- that is, the ones who looked really cool on the outside but on the inside were all about physics or classics or what-have-you -- or 'closet cool kids,' the geeks who were actually really awesome if only you'd bothered to get to know them." There's "one type of student you won't find much of: neo-conservatives. Mostly "students are left wing in political persuasion and are proud of it." Students who considered Reed also looked at University of Chicago, University of California -- Berkeley, Oberlin College and Carleton College.


Sarah Lawrence College

Bronxville, N.Y.
With a motto like "we're different, so are you," it's not surprising that "Sarah Lawrence is like Mecca for creative, proactive, outrageous and independent students who want ultimate freedom in designing their education." Bohemian attire and alternative music are culturally prevalent, and "writers, artists, eccentrics, musicians, academics, activists and scientists all call Sarah Lawrence home." In fact, many students say that, "the typical Sarah Lawrence student looks like the atypical student at any mainstream university." Students who considered Sarah Lawrence also looked at Bard College, Hampshire College, Vassar College, Eugene Lang College and New York University.


Simon's Rock College of Bard

Great Barrington, Mass.
Undergrads "are very smart, or at least smart enough to realize the conformity and uselessness of high school" and "are either very studious or very artistic, or caught somewhere in the middle." Some see Simon's Rock as "'nerd camp' all over again. From neon hair to preppy-looking science students, the Simon's Rock type is that there isn't one." Contrary to popular perception, "We're not all communist beat poets majoring in movement studies. Yeah, we have lots of vegetarian liberal kids in sandals from Vermont, but they [also] carry 3.3 GPAs and head our community council and fencing club." Students who considered Simon's Rock also looked at Bard College, Hampshire College, Bennington College, Emerson College and Sarah Lawrence College.


Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
"There are common labels that get placed on people at Vassar," including "'hippie,' 'hipster' and 'pretentious,' and to a degree, the labels are accurate." Vassar is a comfortable respite for "indie-chic students who revel in obscurity, some socially awkward archetypes and some prep school pin-ups with their collars popped. But the majority of kids on campus are a mix of these people, which is why we mesh pretty well despite the cliques that inevitably form." What nearly everyone shares is "an amazing talent or something that they passionately believe in" and "far-left politics, with no desire or intention to try to understand any political view even slightly left of center." Students who considered Vassar also looked at Yale University, Brown University, New York University and Wesleyan University.


Wesleyan University

Middletown, Conn.
Demographically speaking, there are "two main molds of a Wesleyan student: the preppy New England kid and the kid ... that [is] some kind of mix between a hipster and a hippie. Outside of that it's an extremely diverse group of kids who come from all over and have a wide range of interests." Most students here "are liberal and 'alternative.'" Students who considered Wesleyan also looked at Harvard College, Stanford University, Yale University, Brown University, Williams College and Princeton University.

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