The Ivy Coach Daily

December 26, 2015

The Myth of a Liberal Bias in College Admissions

Liberal Bias in Admissions, Liberal College Admissions, Liberal Admissions Officers
Is there a liberal bias in college admissions? Photo credit: Chensiyuan.

Do America’s highly selective colleges favor applicants with liberal political views? Do students who espouse pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-social welfare programs have better odds of earning admission than their conservative counterparts at Ivy League colleges and other highly selective institutions? We figured that today we’d tackle the myth of a liberal bias in college admissions. But our title is, admittedly, a bit of a misnomer because there is indeed a liberal bias in college admissions at our nation’s most elite institutions. It’s no myth. It’s just not the bias that many believe it to be. So what kind of liberal bias exists in college admissions, you ask?

Admissions Officers at Top Schools Tend To Be Liberal

The vast majority of admissions officers at our nation’s most elite institutions tend to be liberal. Whether they’re young or old, Latino or Asian American, African American or White, an Ivy League graduate or a graduate of a college most folks have never heard of, admissions officers tend overwhelmingly to favor the politics of President Barack Obama over the politics of former President George W. Bush. Sorry, President Bush. Find an exception and we’ll tell you it’s just that — the exception, not the rule. Haven’t you seen the 2009 rom-com “He’s Just Not That Into You”? We sure have! And you should, too. It’s really good.

The Beauty of the Liberal Arts Education

But just because an admissions officer is liberal, it doesn’t mean that admissions officer will always or predominantly favor the student who articulates liberal beliefs. If the conservative student can articulate conservative beliefs in a more eloquent and refreshing way than the liberal student, the conservative-leaning student will win out just about every time out of ten. This is particularly the case when the conservative student can show rather than tell a certain respect for the views of the other side. The fact is that colleges truly do value diversity. They really, really do. And diversity is not just about the color of one’s skin. It’s not just about one’s socio-economic background. It’s not just about where one’s from. It’s also about diversity of thought. Admissions officers at our nation’s most elite schools seek to build a class of incoming students in which folks from both sides of the political spectrum can have voices. They want that conservative student raising her hand to challenge the liberal-minded professor in a tweed jacket on the topic of gun control. That is the absolute beauty of the liberal arts education. Oh yes it is!

It’s Totally Ok to Espouse Conservative Viewpoints in Admissions

Now are there certain issues that applicants should avoid espousing the conservative viewpoint? Yes. LGBT rights is one example. Come out against LGBT rights and you’d be doing your application a disservice. Frankly, you’d be doing yourself a disservice, too, as soon the issue won’t even be a conservative issue. It’ll be a non-issue. It’s nearly 2016. Get with the program of equality for all. But applicants should not fear espousing conservative viewpoints on a host of other topics, even gun control (so long as they can show respect for the other side, too). Admissions officers weren’t born yesterday. They know that there are many folks out there who support the right of Americans to bear arms. Why not invest in educating the students who support the opposition so we can all more easily meet somewhere in the middle on the issue? Wouldn’t that make sense? Of course it would.

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