25 Most Liberal Colleges in the U.S. in 2024

Are you a politically active student, or simply interested in immersing yourself in a college environment that aligns with your values? Choosing a university that mirrors your core beliefs can greatly enhance your college experience. Whether you’re passionate about social justice, sustainability, or diversity, finding a community that shares your ideals can lead to a more fulfilling academic journey.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the 25 most liberal colleges in America for 2024, considering factors such as the general political leanings of the student body, university mission statements, and the overall campus atmosphere. Join us as we explore these institutions that emphasize diversity, inclusion, sustainability, and social activism.

1. American University

  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Location: Washington, DC

Nestled in the heart of the nation’s capital, American University stands out as one of the well-known liberal schools. With pillars of student life centered around diversity, inclusion, health, wellbeing, and community service, AU is also recognized as one of the first carbon-neutral universities in the country.

2. University of California-Santa Cruz

  • Acceptance Rate: 47%
  • Location: Santa Cruz, California

UC-Santa Cruz takes the second spot, boasting leadership in racial and gender diversity in leadership roles. With a commitment to innovation, social justice, and sustainability, this university stands tall as a public institution making a significant impact.

3. New York University

  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Location: New York City, New York

NYU, situated in the bustling metropolis of New York City, ranks among the most liberal colleges in the country. Focused on reducing greenhouse emissions and emphasizing sustainability and global leadership, NYU is dedicated to tackling humanity’s challenges head-on.

4. University of Vermont

  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Location: Burlington, Vermont

With a comprehensive commitment to liberal arts education, the University of Vermont, located in Burlington, emphasizes research, sustainability, and fostering diversity. The campus is particularly renowned for its programs in biological and biomedical sciences.

5. University of California-Riverside

  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Location: Riverside, California
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The University of California-Riverside aims to inspire a new generation of innovative thinkers. Recognized for its diversity, especially in medical education, UC Riverside is committed to social mobility and instigating change in a multicultural society.

6. University of Oregon

  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Location: Eugene, Oregon

Situated in Eugene, Oregon, the University of Oregon is an agent of change and innovation. With a predominant focus on social sciences, the university encourages students to actively engage in research and academics that contribute to societal progress.

7. Stony Brook University

  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Location: Stony Brook, New York

Part of the SUNY system, Stony Brook University is a well-known liberal institution with a commitment to creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students. The campus places a strong emphasis on multicultural learning and community engagement.

8. Pace University

  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Location: New York City, New York

Pace University, situated in the heart of New York, prepares students for the future through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. With a focus on diversity and dietary needs, Pace ensures an inclusive experience for its students.

9. University of Washington

  • Acceptance Rate: 48%
  • Location: Seattle, Washington

The University of Washington actively welcomes and supports undocumented students from all backgrounds. The campus is dedicated to sustainability through its Sustainability Action Plan, aiming to reduce solid waste and greenhouse gases.

10. Northeastern Illinois University

  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois

Bucking the coastal trend, Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago is regarded as the most diverse public comprehensive university in the Midwest. The campus fosters a vibrant environment that celebrates inclusivity.

11. Adelphi University

  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Location: Garden City, New York

Adelphi University in New York is committed to ensuring fairness and belonging. The campus actively identifies areas of progress and opportunity, making it one of the best colleges for first-year experiences.

12. San Jose State University

  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Location: San Jose, California
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San Jose State University has a rich history of social activism and is dedicated to sustainability, health, and wellness. The campus actively contributes to the cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and beyond.

13. Ramapo College of New Jersey

  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Location: Mahwah, New Jersey

A liberal arts college, Ramapo utilizes experiential learning and promotes diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement, and community involvement. It is also ranked as a top performer for social mobility.

14. St. John Fisher University

  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Location: Rochester, New York

With a Catholic tradition, St. John Fisher University is committed to a liberal arts education and focuses on inclusivity. It is a welcoming community for individuals of all religious and cultural backgrounds.

15. Central Connecticut State University

  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Location: New Britain, Connecticut

Central Connecticut State University offers a wide range of accessible therapy services and has an LGBTQ+ service center to ensure all students feel welcome. The campus is dedicated to providing support for diverse student needs.

16. University of Houston—Downtown

  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Location: Houston, Texas

Ranked as one of the most diverse liberal colleges in the U.S., the University of Houston—Downtown strives to create an environment that welcomes students from all backgrounds. The campus actively promotes inclusivity.

17. Northwestern University

  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Location: Evanston, Illinois

A more selective school, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, emphasizes research and the growth of students in a diverse academic community. The curriculum is rigorous and empathetic.

18. Boston University

  • Acceptance Rate: 14%
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University boasts a diverse and vibrant campus life, with students from different cultures and religions. The institution is dedicated to preventing discrimination and fostering an inclusive campus experience.

19. CUNY Hunter College

  • Acceptance Rate: 48%
  • Location: New York City, New York

CUNY Hunter College is a top performer for social mobility and actively involves students in advocacy, outreach, faith-based organizations, and culture-focused organizations.

20. Mount Holyoke College

  • Acceptance Rate: 40%
  • Location: South Hadley, Massachusetts
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Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts college for women, welcomes applications from female, transgender, and non-binary students. The college is dedicated to empowering women who strive to make a difference in the world.

21. Sarah Lawrence College

  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Location: Bronxville, New York

Sarah Lawrence College is committed to sustaining a diverse and inclusive learning, working, and living community. Specializing in creative and performing arts, history and social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences and mathematics, it offers a unique liberal arts experience.

22. Portland State University

  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Location: Portland, Oregon

As a public research university, Portland State focuses on affordability and sustainability. The institution actively identifies barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion, aiming to create a more inclusive future.

23. Wesleyan University

  • Acceptance Rate: 14%
  • Location: Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan University, a liberal arts community, focuses on interdisciplinary learning and aims to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively.

24. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania

With a large range of degree programs, West Chester University of Pennsylvania places a significant focus on student life. The campus boasts over 300 student clubs and organizations, promoting inclusivity and student engagement.

25. University of California – Berkeley

  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Location: Berkeley, California

UC–Berkeley, the #1 all-time top producer of Peace Corps volunteers, continues to uphold its legacy. With a diverse student population and a commitment to welcoming first-generation first-year students, Berkeley remains at the forefront of liberal education.


Choosing a college that aligns with your values can significantly impact your academic journey. Whether you prioritize diversity, sustainability, or social justice, these 25 liberal colleges in America for 2024 offer a diverse range of opportunities for personal and academic growth. Explore the campuses, engage with the communities, and find the perfect fit for your college experience.


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