Political vibes on college campuses – find your fit

Happy Voting day everyone! Maybe you’re a college freshman and voting for the first time or maybe you’re in high school and you’ve volunteered at your local office. Maybe you’re a writer, advocate and investigative journalist on your campus. And maybe you’re still figuring it out, which is also okay. Regardless of your stance it’s a great time to remember that college campuses, similar to your friend groups, have different vibes, views, cliques, ideas of fun and level of activism on campus. 

So how do you find your fit? Research.

Okay…research. Well how? 

If you can visit a campus in person, amazing. And if you do visit, don’t just stop at a general tour. Schedule a meeting with a social club on campus you’d like to see yourself joining. Meet with current students and just ask them. What’s it really like? All brochures and college tours can start to mesh together. Get to the source. The students. They’ll tell you.

If you can’t visit a campus take to the web. It’s never been easier to access information than right now. It can also seem a little overwhelming. But that’s okay. Because all you need to do is narrow your search into a few key areas and cross-reference sites. I repeat…cross-reference sites. Use multiple sources and get a larger picture of the vibe at a university. I’ll put a few below that I like to use, but again, this isn’t the end all be all list. Be open to reviews, gather various perspectives and be a smart consumer by accessing qualitative data that helps you paint a picture of your potential future university.

Social Media pic.jpg

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook groups, etc. 

  • If you want to get a sense of what it’s like for a student RIGHT NOW on the east coast at a university on voting day? Pop over to Snapchat and Instragram and watch their stories.

College Search Sites


  • There’s a Political Activism rating section within campus topics with student reviews and a snapshot overview. They also ask students about overall opinion of the school and things like intellectual life on campus.

CollegeXpress Lists and Rankings: The Student Experience: More Vibes: Political and Social

Princeton Review: Colleges with the Most Politically Active Students

Conduct a search on the individual college’s website

  • I just googled the University of Oregon as an example. And within two seconds was able to find their student organization search page…type in what you’re looking for and dive deeper.


Connecting with Alumni

  • Ask your counselor to connect you to alumni on the campuses you’re considering. They not only have a direct perspective, but they’re also coming from your local hometown and can provide insight into their transition.

Worth noting

  • Be careful of holding onto ONE perspective…no matter how convincing they may seem. Remember that this is subjective experiences and may be ONE person’s experience at ONE time. Again, ensure you’re a smart consumer by comparing and cross-references perspectives, online resources and the college itself.

Get a sense of college fit BEFORE you apply and get on campus. Knowing you’re walking into a college climate that is supportive of your views, and has student groups active within the issues that make you tick is a super helpful way to feel more confident about your future college experience.


Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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