Political Colleges

Political Colleges

If you’re planning a career in politics – or just want a politically active college – read on to find out which schools should get your vote.

Being political can mean many different things.

For some, it can signify developing a social conscious, others may protest or petition for what they believe in. Others still may see it as a career path they want to pursue.

Which colleges are most political and what can you do to get involved?

Top Political Schools

Some schools are known as breeding grounds for future politicians. So attending one of these colleges can be immensely helpful for future success.

Among them are Georgetown, George Washington and American University, which are all located within close proximity to Washington, DC. At these colleges, students are encouraged to immerse themselves within the political hub around them, and most students often get priceless internships helping the nation’s leaders.

On the other side of the country, UC Berkeley has a history of activism, dating all the way back to the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, where an unprecedented student-led protest forced the administration to lift the ban of on-campus political activities. Students staged further protests against the Vietnam War, which future president Ronald Reagan targeted as part of his successful run for governor of California in 1966.

Since then, UC Berkeley has developed the Berkeley Political Review - a non-partisan magazine that allows student parties a voice, and boasts an impressive list of student-run organizations that promote everything from Afghans for Peace to a model United Nations.

Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and Yale also top the list of politically aware schools. Most are well-known for their competitive political science programs and faculty at these Ivy schools are typically recruited from all over the world. Often, world leaders and other notable figures are guest professors or speakers on these campuses.

Other colleges heavily encourage students to be politically active rather than merely preparing them for a career in politics. Schools like Oberlin College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hampshire College and Pitzer College are perfect examples of environments where students take an active role in the political scene – both at the campus and national levels.?

What Activities Will Make You Politically Active?

Being active is not exclusive to joining a political party, but includes participating in the school and local community to enable real and lasting changes.

Social justice or policy reform organizations on campus are often a great venue, since they choose specific policies and work to enact change (i.e. a fair trade group whose goal is to promote the purchase and sale of goods solely attained through fair trade).

Participation in elections is another great opportunity to become engaged in your community. This can entail running for office and becoming part of the student government on campus. But you can also help local politicians in their own campaigns; raising awareness to their goals on campus and helping students get registered to vote.

Though when it comes down to how active you are, and what future employers will look for, it’s also important to be well rounded. Venture outside the political box and participate in groups that promote issues you’re passionate about (whether it's volunteering to tutor disadvantaged youths or planting trees as part of an environmental organization).

Political Activism on Campus

If you’re considering a career in politics, then being active on campus will help pave the way for your aspirations.

If you already know what political affiliation you lean toward, then research those groups on your college campus, as most colleges will sponsor student groups who support political parties (i.e. a Republican or Democrat group). Making connections through these organizations will not only expand your social circle, but also enable you to interact with like-minded people who may help you in your career path.

Each group will typically invite speakers and elected officials to hold workshop for students, as well as liaison with political campaigns to allow students to volunteer with party members.

Colleges That Have the Highest Success Rates

In terms of political track records - Harvard tops them all with eight presidents in total having graduated from the college or one of its graduate schools. Current President Barack Obama, George W. Bush (Harvard MBA), John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams, John Adams, and Rutherford B. Hayes are among the alumni.

Yale University boasts an impressive five presidents in its roster, including William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

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