Safe spaces, radicalized speakers, constant protests, and professors who seem to believe their job is to spout political opinions — for the young Republican, these things do not an ideal university make! In the increasingly divisive age we live in, it’s becoming harder and harder for college-aged Conservatives to find the right learning and living environment for them. That’s why College Values Online went on the search for the 30 best colleges for Young Republicans. To narrow down our list of conservative colleges, we considered such factors as:
- Curriculum: Republican-friendly colleges tend to offer comprehensive core curriculums rooted in the Western Heritage.
- Majors and Minors Offered: With few exceptions, we made sure our Republican-friendly colleges offer majors in political science, history, economics, and other subjects that interest those with political interests.
- Military Friendliness: The colleges on our list celebrate their military and/or veteran students, and promote a campus environment friendly to the service of country.
- On-Campus Clubs and Organizations: The colleges on our list of the best colleges for young Republicans offer on-campus student-led organizations that would interest politically minded students. Some examples include College Republicans, the pro-life Students for Life, and the Fairfield [debate] Society.
Reviewing Top Republican Colleges
If young, college-aged Republicans are unsure about whether or not Auburn University would be a good fit for them, they should consider this segment of The Auburn Creed: “I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work. I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hand to work skillfully.” Students at Auburn have more than 140 majors in 13 colleges to choose from, including:
- political science
- law and justice
- international trade
There are nearly 600 on-campus organizations, including Auburn Student Veterans, College Republicans, and Students for Life.
Ave Maria University
Ave Maria, Florida
Any young Republicans who are also faithfully Catholic would do well to consider Ave Maria University in southern Florida. Ave Maria is well-known for its rigorous academics and true Catholic culture. As stated on Ave Maria’s website, Ave Maria seeks to offer “one of the finest classical liberal arts curricula available” while also providing various “opportunities for specialized study in all of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.” Indeed, all Ave Maria students are required to complete a core curriculum which includes political science, history, theology, and Latin. Twelve different undergraduate degrees are offered, including history and economics. As for student political organizations, Ave Maria has a student-run chapter of College Republicans. Students for Life is one of the campus’s most popular organizations. Mass is also offered daily, and is widely attended by students.
Texas is a solidly red state, and Waco a solidly red city. Baylor University doesn’t sway from that trend. In fact, Baylor has been well-known as a bastion for conservative thought and and values since its founding in 1845. Students have a variety of undergraduate majors to choose from at Baylor. These include, among others:
- international business
- international studies
- leadership studies
- Middle East studies
- political science
- poverty studies and social work
Clubs include a variety of student representative clubs like Student Government and Student Senate, plus a chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas. Young Republicans should also consider the fact that Baylor University is just as socially conservative as it is politically conservative.
La Mirada, California
One of only three California schools to make our list of the best conservative colleges for young Republicans, Biola University founded in 1949 as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. Since then, the school has officially changed its name. It’s now a private university with a strong Christian influence. All Biola students, regardless of chosen major, graduate with a minor in Biblical Studies. This includes completing a required 30 units of Biblical studies courses. Even young Biola Conservatives tend to be more focused on social issues than economic and policy issues. Though there are plenty of politically active students on campus, the university’s only officially recognized political organization is College Republicans.
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University, or BYU as it’s well known, is the country’s largest religious university. Owned and managed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, BYU enjoys a population that is majority Mormon. While huge numbers of BYU students describe themselves as politically conservative, not all fit that mold. At the very least, BYU tends to be more socially conservative than politically. Students are required to adhere to a dress and grooming code. Both alcohol and sex outside of marriage are strictly forbidden. In terms of politics, BYU is home to a student-run (i.e. unofficial) College Republicans club. It offers a bevy of political-themed courses, including political thought and free-market capitalism.
Politically conservative students who are also serious about their Christian faith may find the right home at Cedarville University. Located in southwestern Ohio, Cedarville University enrolls approximately 3,600 students. All students and Cedarville’s 200 professors, proclaim to be practicing Christians. As a liberal arts school, Cedarville’s most popular majors are those in the humanities. However, prospective students who are perhaps more science-minded should know that majors such as nursing, engineering, and education are also offered. Cedarville boasts more than 100 student clubs and organizations, including chapters of Students for Life and College Republicans.
Front Royal, Virginia
Christendom College was established by a community of Catholics dissatisfied with the contemporary offerings in higher education. Today it seeks to teach students to “distinguish truth from error or distortion, and then to communicate truth accurately, effectively, and convincingly to others.” In other words, Christendom College teaches its students how to think, not what to think. All Christendom students are required to complete a core curriculum consisting of mathematics, science, philosophy, and Catholic doctrine. To complement this core, students spend one semester of their junior year in Rome. To ensure Christendom is able to maintain its intellectual independence, the college does not accept any federal aid.
Young Republicans can easily remain active on Christendom’s campus. The university offers such Conservative-leaning student organizations as College Republicans and the Chester-Belloc Debate Society. The entirety of Christendom College also participates in the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. each year.
Clemson, South Carolina
Universities as large as Clemson aren’t often described as one of the “best colleges for young Republicans.” Clemson University, however, is a notable exception. Politically minded students can join an active chapter of College Republicans at Clemson. The university also stresses that students take on activities of service during their entire undergraduate career. A number of on-campus organizations are available for students to join, including many dedicated to:
- community service
- environmental efforts
- youth development
- health and safety
- agricultural services.
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, Missouri
Nicknamed “Hard Work U,” College of the Ozarks is a one-of-a-kind institute of higher education. Rather than pay tuition, students earn their education by participating in a work-study program. Although majors in political science and economics are not specifically offered, students are encouraged to develop a lifestyle of patriotism and good citizenship. An on-campus student government organization is one of the college’s most popular student clubs. Spiritual development is important at College of the Ozarks. Routine attendance at convocations and chapel is expected.
Colorado Christian University
Colorado Christian University was founded in 1914 as the main Christian university for those living in the Rocky Mountain area. For the past five years, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has ranked Colorado Christian University’s solid core curriculum in the top 2% of university curriculums nationwide. This is surely a reflection of the fact that the university guides its students’ learning with certain objectives that include “traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, and the original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization.”
Perhaps most interesting for young Republicans is the fact that Colorado Christian University is home to the Centennial Institute. This is a think tank which seeks to develop young conservative leaders through internship opportunities and various events and seminars.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic university. It aims to provide its students with a deeper understanding of history, philosophy, and the Western Civilization. Much of this includes intellectual and social philosophy consistent with the beliefs of Conservatives. Students have the opportunity to learn from distinguished professors. These include Dr. Stephen Krason, author of myriad books regarding the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and Brian Scharnecchia, who wrote a three-volume text advocating for conservative approaches in issues relating to the family. Students at Franciscan University of Steubenville learn to debate intelligently about such societal issues as euthanasia and abortion. In terms of student clubs and organizations, those relating to volunteerism and public policy are especially popular. The university does not have a chapter of College Republicans, though Student Government and Students for Life are offered.
Grove City College
Grove City, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1876, Grove City College in Pennsylvania is a private Christian liberal arts school. The college operates under the mission of “[fostering] intellectual, moral spiritual, and social development consistent with a commitment to Christian truth, morals, and freedom. Rather than political, ideological, or philosophical agendas, objective truth continues as the goal of liberal learning.” To achieve this mission, Grove City College operates free of government interference by refusing to accept federal aid. It also enjoys strong working relationships with various think tanks and political organizations. These include the Center for Vision & Values and the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Conservative-leaning student organizations on campus include:
- College Republicans
- College Libertarians
- Student Government Association
- Life Advocates.
Hampden-Sydney College is an all-men’s liberal arts institution. Founded in Virginia in 1776, Hampden-Sydney aims to “form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.” Before graduating with their undergraduate degree, all of the men at Hampden-Sydney must pass the Rhetoric Proficiency Exam. This is a challenging three-hour test graded on coherence and quality of argument, style, and grammar. Students prepare by completing two rhetoric classes during their first year on campus. As part of the college’s honor code, men attending and who’ve graduated from Hampden-Sydney are pledged against lying, cheating, or stealing. More than 40 clubs and organizations exist on campus, including Students for Liberty and the Madisonian Society. The on-campus chapter of College Republicans is especially active, and routinely hosts guest speakers who are politicians on the local and national levels.
Harding University is Arkansas’s biggest private university. Harding’s curriculum and on-campus culture emphasize liberty and justice. All Harding students complete a core curriculum of classes concerning:
- communication and critical thinking
- spiritual and moral values
- various historical perspectives
- the individual and social environment
As students of a Christian university, students are also required to sign a code of conduct that holds them to the highest of moral standards. College Republicans and Students for Life are both active clubs on campus. Young Republicans at Harding also participate in various programs sponsored by the American Studies Institute. Some of the Institute’s past programs have included lectures by figures such as:
- William F. Buckley, Jr.
- Margaret Thatcher
- Sean Hannity
- George W. Bush
- John Ashcroft
- Steve Forbes.
Hillsdale College is a private liberal arts college with a long tradition of patriotism. During the Civil War, 400 Hillsdale students fought on the side of the Union (proportionally, the most of any college in the country). A few years later, Hillsdale became the first institution in America to prohibit discrimination based on gender, religion, or race. Today, Hillsdale College continues to education with the mission, “Through education, the student rises to self-government.”
The challenging core curriculum explores the enduring truths of the Western Heritage. Every Hillsdale student, regardless of major, is required to complete a course on the U.S. Constitution. On campus, aspiring Conservatives can take part in organizations such as:
- Young Republicans
- Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
- Classical Liberal Organization
- Students for Life
- Fairfield Society
- Young Americans for Freedom.
Interestingly, Hillsdale also offers a one-of-a-kind Hillsdale-Washington Internship Program. Through it, students can secure summer internships in think tanks, media outlets, Congress, or even the White House.
Houston Baptist University
As its name suggests, Houston Baptist University is a Christian school steeped in the traditions of the Baptist Church. Students who attend Houston Baptist are provided with a holistic education instilling in them a “passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence.” All students complete a core curriculum that includes various liberal arts courses, plus a few additional classes on Biblical themes. Though Houston Baptist University does host a College Republicans organization, the university’s most popular student clubs tend to be faith based.
The King’s College
New York, New York
The King’s College is situated in the heart of the New York City’s Financial District. It’s a small school which aims to “transform society by preparing students for careers in which they help to shape and eventually to lead strategic public and private institutions.” Students complete a core curriculum consisting of classes focusing on:
- Western Civilization
- political philosophy
Through rigorous coursework, students learn to think critically about the contrasts between eternal truths and ideologies better described as “trendy.” Many of The King’s College graduate have gone on to lead in:
- civil society
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia is another Christian university that, by extension, is a great college for Young Republicans. Because Liberty is strongly associated with the Baptist Church, students complete a core curriculum of classes steeped in Biblical themes. Students must also attend chapel at least three times a week. Liberty University’s College Republicans chapter is quite active, although all political clubs at Liberty are technically unofficial, meaning they do not receive university money.
Oral Roberts University
As you may have guessed by its name, Oral Roberts University was founded by the famous evangelist himself. This interdenominational Christian university located in Tulsa offers 65 different majors and both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students at Oral Roberts are required to adhere to a dress code and to sign a strict code of conduct which prohibits things like drinking and gambling. Students are also required to attend church services throughout the week. Oral Roberts is home to a huge student population that describes itself as politically Conservative. It’s no wonder that College Republicans and The Liberty Society are two of the university’s most popular student clubs.
Patrick Henry College
Like a few other colleges on our list, Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia does not accept any federal aid. This frees the school to focus on the subject matter it deems most important. Subjects include Western Civilization, the Great Books, history, philosophy, and logic — in short, the topics that make up the foundations of freedom. Students at Patrick Henry College have a variety of politically themed majors to choose from including:
- Political Theory
- Classical Liberal Arts
- Strategic Intelligence
- American Politics
- International Politics
At the end of their undergraduate career, students take on an “apprenticeship” in top-level internships throughout Washington, D.C. or abroad. On-campus organizations that are popular among young Republicans include:
- College Republicans
- Students for Life
- the Alexis de Tocqueville Society
- the International Justice Mission Club.
For young Republicans determined to attend college in California, Pepperdine University is an ideal option. Located on a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine has ties to the Churches of Christ, though is officially non-denominational. All Pepperdine students, regardless of their eventual major, are required to complete a core curriculum which includes classes on:
- the Western heritage
- the American Experience
Pepperdine believes this unique interdisciplinary core helps develop students into broadly educated individuals and critical thinkers. Politically themed majors include:
- American politics
- political science
- international studies
- American studies
Popular on-campus clubs include College Republicans and College Libertarians.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Regent University is an ideal choice for those who are both Christian and Republican. Located in Virginia Beach, Regent provides its students with a core curriculum that emphasizes
- traditional values
- free enterprise
- limited government
- interdenominational Biblical perspective
Regent University hosts Clash of the Titans, an annual event that attracts leading political figures to debate about various political topics. The university is also home to the Ronald Reagan Symposium. This internationally recognized event features known scholars speaking on such topics as “The Future of American Culture” and “The Future of Conservatism.”
The clubs and organizations that would appeal to a Young Republican at Regent are many, and include:
- the Regent University Conservative Union
- the Federalist Society
- the Republican National Lawyers Association, among others.
Saint Vincent College
Saint Vincent College was founded by Archabbot Wimmer. He insisted students should be taught “first what is necessary, then what is useful, and finally what is beautiful and will contribute to their refinement.” The college has continued to operate under that philosophy, and currently offers a full liberal arts curriculum to about 1,700 students. Saint Vincent’s core curriculum includes:
- natural sciences
Students are also encouraged to display a strong work ethic at all times. Freshmen are required to participate in an assigned community service task. While political science remains a popular major at Saint Vincent, the college’s political science curriculum tends to focus on political philosophy and the evolution of Western civilization, as opposed to current events.
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Texas A&M has the unique distinction of being secular, public, and a great college for young Republicans. Indeed, it wasn’t too long ago that the on-campus Texas Aggie Conservatives introduced a petition to ban radical Leftist speakers from holding events on campus. Many of Texas A&M’s nearly 800 student clubs are politically themed, though few are as vocal as that instance suggests.
Located in east central Texas, Texas A&M is the fourth largest university in America. Students are required to complete a series of courses covering American history, political science, and various aspects of the humanities. Texas A&M has an extremely strong military scene. It’s also the home of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, Texas
Like a number of other Texas universities on our list, Texas Christian University ranks as one of the best colleges for young Republicans. Officially associated with (but not governed by) the Disciples of Christ, TCU offers its students a top-notch liberal arts degree anchored by a comprehensive curriculum. Students have nearly 120 undergraduate degree programs to choose from, plus 53 masters programs and 28 doctoral programs. TCU has a number of on-campus clubs for students, including Students for Life and an active chapter of College Republicans.
Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, California
Thomas Aquinas College is a college like none other, and a great choice for young Republicans and Conservatives. Located in the gorgeous hills of Southern California, Thomas Aquinas College offers a curriculum rooted entirely in the Great Books of Western Civilization. Additional classes include:
Instead of textbooks, classes are taught via the Socratic method. No specific majors or minors are offered. Rather, all students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. As a small Catholic college, Thomas Aquinas tends to attract students who are both socially and politically conservative.
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Like Thomas Aquinas College, The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts emphasizes a curriculum based upon the history and traditions of the Western Civilization. Because the college hopes to prepare the next generation of Christian world leaders, Thomas More students are required to take classes in:
- political science
- and other subjects deemed necessary for the proper development of the human spirit.
To complement such a unique curriculum, all students spend a semester of their sophomore year studying in Rome. While Thomas More is a Roman Catholic institution that attracts a largely Catholic student body, formal religious observance is not required. Students are encouraged to participate in “guilds” to practice such hobbies as woodworking, music, and homesteading, among other things. This one-of-a-kind guild system directly honors the set of guilds that existed during medieval times.
United States Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, New York
The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), like so many other federal service academies, attracts students with strong ties to and motivation for service to their country. Students follow a heavily structured daily schedule of the following:
- timed wake up
- an inspection of rooms
- class time
- lunch formation
- additional class time
- sports or another chosen extracurricular
- study hall
Students who complete USMMA’s rigorous curriculum graduate with either active duty status in any branch of the armed forces, or the maritime industry and officer service in a reserve unit of a branch of the armed forces.
University of Dallas
The University of Dallas, in Irving, Texas, is a short trip from Dallas proper. It’s a Roman Catholic university that prides itself on being “committed to the recovery and renewal of the Western heritage of liberal education.” The university’s core curriculum has been nationally recognized for its attention to the Western Heritage. All students, regardless of major, study the most prominent Greek and Roman thinkers, the philosophies of the Middle Ages, and the works of important modern thinkers. Students may choose to participate in a number of on-campus student clubs, including Students for Liberty and College Republicans.
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Established in 1854, Wofford College is a respected liberal arts college located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Students who choose to attend Wofford often cite the college’s small class sizes and 10:1 student to faculty ratio as reasons for their decision. Wofford offers 64 different undergraduate majors, minors, and academic programs. It also has a handful of on-campus clubs that would appeal to the politically active student. Wofford College would be an especially excellent choice for the young Republican who is also spiritually minded. According to Wofford’s website, the college’s student body represents 27 different religious faiths and viewpoints.
The college is also home to the impressive Halligan Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, which organizes on-campus observances and the ever-expanding interfaith program.