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Liberal, Free Spirited Colleges

izzyblueizzyblue 0 replies1 threads New Member
I'm looking for more liberal, "hippie" colleges. I get mostly a's and b's in schools, and love the Pacific North West. Right now I am looking at Reed and Evergreen, but would like East Coast suggestions too.
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Replies to: Liberal, Free Spirited Colleges

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79714 replies712 threads Senior Member
    Price limit?

    State of residency?
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  • blossomblossom 10052 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Sarah Lawrence, Bard, Marlboro, College of the Atlantic, Bennington-- what are your stats and what can you afford?
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1223 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan, Vassar, Hampshire. Maybe more hipster than hippie, but liberal.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1843 replies13 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    New College in Florida comes to mind, as well as Bard College in NY. Others would be Pace University, Bennington, or, as something different, Warren Wilson College.

    But, as @ucbalumnus writes - it depends on your finances and your state of residence.
    edited December 2019
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5790 replies84 threads Senior Member
    Hampshire would be grest a few years back. It was actually hippy. Big yurt on campus and all. I would stay away for now.

    The other recommendations are excellent. UVM has a decent amount of hackysack and Phish concerts too. lol.
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  • HapworthHapworth 571 replies0 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    Lewis & Clark in Portland, OR.
    UC-Santa Cruz
    edited December 2019
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1394 replies26 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Warren Wilson and possibly UNC-Asheville, Skidmore.
    edited December 2019
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  • tdy123tdy123 1003 replies18 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    It is debatable whether "liberal... free spirited... hippie" in the 60's mode exist any longer. There are certainly "progressive" colleges, but that has very little to do with classic liberal values. Maybe Bennington or University of Vermont in Burlington. Towns are still kind of hippie dippie, anyway.
    edited December 2019
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23655 replies17 threads Senior Member
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  • mountainsoulmountainsoul 109 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Another vote for Sarah Lawrence. D19's friends are having a fantastic time there. On the west coast, try Whitman.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79714 replies712 threads Senior Member
    Academically, Evergreen State may be the most "free spirited", since it has a completely open curriculum for a BA degree (180 quarter hour credits, no major required, no general education required).

    But it can be expensive for non Washington residents.
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  • happy1happy1 23224 replies2297 threads Senior Member
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7050 replies65 threads Senior Member
    NOT Vassar or Wes, and have my doubts about Bard. Liberal, yes, but definitely not 'free-spirited'.
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10085 replies175 threads Super Moderator
    edited December 2019
    Warren Wilson and possibly UNC-Asheville
    Warren Wilson definitely has a hippie feel, but a student uninterested in its primary strengths (environmental science and creative writing) may find the academic offerings a bit lackluster. It's relatively unique as one of the handful of Work Colleges.


    UNC Asheville is more of a mixed bag. (Full disclosure: My sister is a recent UNCA grad and still lives in Asheville.) Most students are very liberal, but there's a small but noticeable conservative streak due to the college attracting many students from Appalachia. It's probably the most queer-friendly college in NC after Duke and Carolina. Academically it's a very well-rounded school with an extremely rigorous core curriculum.

    The town of Asheville itself has been changing with gentrification, and these days there's more hipsters than hippies. Great craft brewery scene, though!
    edited December 2019
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2964 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    I second Warren Wilson and Evergreen State. UNC Asheville definitely not free-spirited, lots of hard work and challenging gen eds. Hippies are generally gone from Asheville, as it's the most expensive city (highest COL) in NC now. https://www.salary.com/research/cost-of-living/nc

    Agree also with collegemom that many of the schools mentioned while liberal, with some prolific drug use (Reed, Sarah Lawrence) that doesn't mean the students are free spirited...sometimes far from it.

    True free-spirits would find any college experience at complete odds with their desired lifestyle.
    edited December 2019
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 252 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Colorado College - Dude in the birkenstocks, pass the weed
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  • murray93murray93 197 replies22 threads Junior Member
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  • Techno13Techno13 310 replies11 threads Member
    Lewis & Clark for sure. I would describe Whitman as liberal and artsy, not sure about hippie. Pitzer in Claremont CA. I haven't seen anything on the east coast that compares to the CA/PNW hippie/hipster culture. I hear Oberlin might fit the bill too.
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  • hokupaahokupaa 27 replies0 threads Junior Member
    A good starting point for further research might be Princeton Review's Tree Hugging Vegetarians list. Schools that have appeared on that list from 2010-2020 include:

    Bard College
    Bard College at Simon's Rock
    Beloit College
    Bennington College
    Brown University
    Bryn Mawr College (female)
    Carleton College
    Champlain College
    Clark University
    College of the Atlantic
    Colorado College
    Columbia University
    Earlham College
    Eckerd College
    Emerson College
    Eugene Lang College
    Evergreen State College
    Goucher College
    Green Mountain College [CLOSED]
    Grinnell College
    Guilford College
    Hampshire College [*]
    Ithaca College
    Kalamazoo College
    Lewis & Clark College
    Macalester College
    Marlboro College [CLOSING; will merge with Emerson]
    McGill University
    Mills College (female)
    New College of Florida
    Oberlin College
    Occidental College
    Pitzer College
    Prescott College
    Reed College
    Sarah Lawrence College
    Skidmore College
    SUNY Coll of Env Sci & Forestry
    SUNY Purchase College
    UC Santa Barbara
    UC Santa Cruz
    U Central Florida
    UNC Ashville
    University of Puget Sound
    University of Toronto
    University of Vermont
    Vassar College
    Warren Wilson College
    Wesleyan University
    Whitman College

    There's quite a vast range of schools here of widely varying size, selectivity, rigor, type (public/private, religious/non-religious, single-gender/coed, undergrad-only LACs, research universities, etc.), academic focus, affordability, weather, location and character etc.

    For example, Reed would be very very different from Hampshire; academically, Reed is more like Carleton. Other schools are less academically traditional and more experimental. Some schools will have an open curriculum (e.g. Brown) while others will have distribution requirements. Some of these institutions are on shaky financial ground (e.g. Hampshire) while others have big endowments and healthy finances (e.g. Grinnell). Some schools offer merit aid while others are need-based only. Some are test optional, some aren't. Some have a narrow academic focus while others don't. Some run on traditional semesters, others have the 4-1-4 calendar, others run on trimesters, and at least one (Colorado) on the block plan. You have urban, suburban, rural, East, West, Midwest and even the South.

    So, decide what you would like based on these other criterea to help narrow down your search.

    [*] might soon close or merge with another institution.
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1427 replies56 threads Senior Member
    Eckerd college in Florida. Warren Wilson in NC.
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