Students rank the nation’s top 15 most conservative and liberal colleges

Utah State University is the only institution featured among the 15 most conservative colleges not to be religiously affiliated.

As higher education continues to take scrutiny for its increasing political polarization, one popular student rankings website is providing key insights into the nation’s most conservative and liberal institutions.

With over 140 million college reviews and ratings, Niche has a “Best Colleges” category for various lenses, from student life and party scene to academics and professors.

“Our goal is to give students an accurate picture of what it’s really like to attend a particular college, depending on the factors that are important to them,” said a representative of Niche, according to Campus Reform.

Of the 30 colleges featured across both rankings, 23 align with the state’s majority political affiliation, according to data from the Pew Research Center. The seven colleges that lean most significantly in a political direction contrary to their state are conservative institutions in majority-liberal states. Although Pew’s data suggests Florida and Texas are liberal-leaning, both voted red in the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, colleges from Pennsylvania and California made both rankings.

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The 15 most conservative colleges

Utah State University is the only college on this list without a religious affiliation. Texas had the highest number of colleges to make this ranking with three, followed by Utah and South Carolina with two.

  1. Brigham Young University (Utah)
  2. Liberty University (Va.)
  3. Bob Jones University (S.C.)
  4. Cedarville University (Ohio)
  5. Colorado Christian University
  6. Brigham Young University (Idaho)
  7. North Greenville University (S.C.)
  8. Biola University (Calif.)
  9. Utah State University
  10. Palm Beach Atlantic University (Fla.)
  11. Southern Methodist University (Texas)
  12. Grove City College (Pa.)
  13. Samford University (Ala.)
  14. University of Dallas
  15. Dallas Baptist University

The 15 most liberal colleges

California featured five colleges on this ranking, followed by New York with three.

  1. American University – (D.C.)
  2. University of California – Santa Cruz
  3. Academy of Art University (Calif.)
  4. University of Vermont
  5. Northeastern Illinois University
  6. San Jose State University (Calif.)
  7. Boston University (Mass.)
  8. University of Washington
  9. University of California – Riverside
  10. New York University
  11. University of Oregon
  12. SUNY Stony Brook University
  13. Adelphi University (N.Y.)
  14. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  15. California State University – East Bay

To create its rankings for the most liberal and conservative colleges in the nation, Niche asked current or recent students to report their personal political leanings and those of other students on campus. The first question carried 80% weight and the second 20% as Niche compiled the data.

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and Florida Gator alumnus. A graduate in journalism and communications, his beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene, and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador, and Brazil.

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