Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Liberal high school seniors should reconsider red state colleges

Liberal high school seniors are ruling out colleges based on state politics. However, seniors should think twice before shunning red states schools, Leelila Strogov wrote in The Hill March 24.

“In my work coaching college applicants, I have noticed an increased likelihood that applicants in states that vote Democratic in elections won’t apply to universities in states that vote Republican,” according to Strogov.

Research backs up her observations. One in four high school seniors ruled out possible colleges because of “politics, policies, or legal situations in the states where the colleges were located,” according to a survey of 1,865 high school seniors that came out this month, by a higher ed consulting firm called the Art & Science group.

Strogov, however, noted that while top conservative students still tend to apply to elite blue state campuses, the reverse is less true.

However, liberal, blue-state students students should reconsider colleges in conservative states, in part just because they might get into them more easily, Strogov wrote. Top red state colleges like Duke, Vanderbilt or the University of Texas might overlook an application’s shortcomings in order to snag applicants from underrepresented parts of the country.

Red states also may have more job opportunities and lower living costs for students after graduation. “Just ask the American workers who have been moving in large numbers to red states in recent years, many for lifestyle and financial reasons,” Strogov wrote.

Most importantly, going to college in a conservative state would give “blue” students the opportunity to get out of their liberal echo chambers and learn from their peers from the other side of the political divide, Strogov wrote:

College is where many people begin to form and deepen their personal and political convictions. The whole point is to be exposed to new ideas and perspectives. Narrowing the range of ideas and influences in higher education limits the potential for intellectual and moral development — if not the whole process of becoming an adult…

But when it comes to higher education, we should not limit ourselves to seeking diversity on just the grounds of race, gender, or socio-economic backgrounds. We need to reach out across the different sides of the political divide as well.

Politically conservative students have been “braving ideologically liberal, blue-state campuses for years, and both those students and the colleges are arguably the better for it,” Strogov wrote. Liberal students would benefit from doing the same.

Read the whole essay. 

MORE: Harvard students condemn liberal echo chamber

IMAGE: helloRuby/Shutterstock

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Add to the Discussion