How Liberal is Liberal at UVA?

My daughter was recently accepted at UVA and is very interested in attending. It seems like a great match for her in almost all aspects. But she is worried that the school may be “too liberal” for her, since she tends to have more conservative beliefs and values. She is worried that the she will have a harder time fitting in for this reason. Should this be a concern? Will she be “shunned” or are students open minded and accepting for the most part?

In my opinion it all depends. While I do not know UVA to be particulary “liberal” per say, most college campuses tend to skew to the liberal side as according to political polls, as it is well known that commonly, education and youth are associated with liberal ideologies, specifically on social issues. Most if not all public universities will have a liberal feel compared to the rest of their state. I think your daughter will get on fine, as long as she in turn shows acceptance and understanding toward more liberal point of views. If she is disrespectful towards others because of her viewpoints, that is where it could get ugly.
This is probably the best baseline answer I can give, but it could get if you elaborated what you mean by liberal and conservative in this specific instance.


There’s some outlets for conservative thought: Burke Society, which discusses and debates regarding the spectrum of conservative ideologies, as well as conservative political groups. If she’s religious there’s plenty of orgs where she’d find like-minded people with similar values.

I came across a thread about UVA here on CC, titled “Going to UVA has been the most miserable experience of my life”, posted by “thecancan” in February 2020. As I do not know UVA, I am merely passing along info that might be relevant.

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Need to remove the spaces in “h t t p s” for it to work as a link; I don’t want it to waste space by having the post automatically displayed.

Just curious, what does this have to do with the OP’s question?

I can only speak from what my first year son has said and experienced. He would consider himself fairly liberal, and his roommate, whom he didn’t know beforehand, is conservative. They have bonded very well and are very close. He says that ‘probably the majority’ of people on his floor vote for democrats, but there are conservatives as well and they all get along very well. It’s a tight-knit group of guys. From what I’ve heard, if she’s open-minded about others’ views, they’ll be open-minded towards hers. My son’s roommate hasn’t had a difficult time fitting in at all. Students are more than just their political beliefs.

I don’t think there are any current UVA students in this forum anymore, so you might not get too many first-hand responses. Your student might want to check out the UVA sub on reddit for a while (remembering that a small subset of the student body are there). There are people out there who will say most public higher ed institutions are “too liberal,” but I’ve never heard that from a student who actually goes here.

I think when you consider our size, you realize how futile it is the try to summarize us succinctly. There are 17,000 undergrads, 8,000 grad students, and 17,000 employees on the academic side (another 12k in the health system). UVA has been a good home for lots of different students. :slight_smile:


Almost everything I’ve read about UVA suggests that it pulls in a disproportionate number of OOS students who are capable of paying the full sticker price of tuition, room&board. Moreover, it has had some of the lowest percentages of Pell grant recipients among state flagship universities. And, not toput too fine a point on it, one website calculates that only about 26% of UVA students receive any grant aid in order to be able attend. None of that makes it sound like a fertile ground for left-wing politics based on what I have observed over the years.

UVA is no hotbed of social justice warriors and political activism. It’s reasonably racially diverse. Up to 50% of students identify themselves as either Republican or Independent. 40% identify as Democrat. I wouldn’t be concern that she wont be able to find likeminded people. In fact, to me, this seems like a good balance of all kinds of viewpoints.

Take that linked post with a grain of salt. It’s one person’s opinion and that person, in my estimation, made an unwise personal choice.