Safety and 'Match' Schools Like UChicago?

Hi all -

I’m presently at the very outset of my college process, as I look to gather information on schools to apply to next year.

I’ve come to love the University of Chicago and all that it stands for - notably their longstanding commitment to true freedom of expression. Historically, I’ve often failed to see eye-to-eye politically with a number of my classmates; I have absolutely no problem discussing issues with people with whom I disagree, and I don’t necessarily even mind being in a clear minority. My complaint has more often been peers who were completely unwilling to listen to any dissenting opinions. UChicago, from all that I can tell, is attended by a completely different sort of student - one that actually welcomes discourse and debate, one that would be willing to hear out a well-rationed opinion of the other side.

However, I don’t kid myself. It’s one of the top schools in the world, and so even if I get excellent scores/grades etc., there’s still every chance I get rejected. Thus, my question is fairly simple: what schools should I be considering that would fall under the category of “safety” or “match” but which share a similar commitment to free speech?

Chicago’s notion of learning for the sake of learning, to better the individual also strikes me as thoroughly worthwhile.

As for any other factors, I’m pretty open. I’d prefer not to be in too small a town, but so long as there’s a little life completely separate from campus, I’d be game (As a good measure, I’d like to at least be able to see interesting but small name bands stop by on a tour).

Eager to hear your thoughts!

Many of the Jesuit schools might fit the description. Holy Cross, Loyola of Maryland, Santa Clara University, Fordham, Boston College. Also, what’s your state flagship? that might fit the bill.

Do you have financial or geographical constraints?