Conservatives at College

How to survive as a college Republican
It is that time of year.   The weather will be cooling in a few weeks and the leaves will turn majestic colors signaling the end of summer.  As we enter the fall months, thousands of students will be begin to experience life at institutions of higher learning.  It is no surprise that many colleges and universities are full of liberal minds.  However, this article is intended to reassure conservatives that college life is survivable and rewarding.

I would like to point out a recent article, 5 Laws for Cool Conservatives, published by my colleague, Tim Milosch.  This is a worthy article and dovetails some of the points made in this article.  Milosch’s laws are absolutely essential to maximizing your college experience as a conservative, in particular: stay informed, pay attention to the other side, and realize the difference between fact and rhetoric.

Know Your Professors

It may be true that most professors on college campuses are liberal.  Understand, however, that liberal does not always mean unfair.  Take the time and talk with each professor and understand what is expected in the course.  To be sure, every college has a couple nutty professors.  I took a course on Art History and noticed the professor was a radical leftist.  I took the time to speak with him and I presented ideas for papers ahead of time.  Take advantage of turning in rough drafts if permitted.  Remember, it is very difficult for a professor to slam a research paper when they have had a hand in crafting it and you have made the suggested revisions.

Understand Academic Standards

It is crucial to understand that academic papers are not the same thing as Facebook or blog posts.  Term papers are not your opportunity to score political points via sarcasm.  There is a level of personal detachment and professionalism that is expected and must be present in academic literature.  As Milosch points out, take the time to learn both sides of the issue.  If you are writing a term paper supporting capital punishment, make sure you address the concerns of those opposed to capital punishment.  Acknowledging the views of the opposite side will make you a better student and go a long way with professors.

Ideology has its Limits

If your goal is to graduate from college having convinced the entire student body and faculty that your perspective is correct, it will likely be a long four years in your life.  Realize that not every topic needs to be discussed on the conservative-liberal pendulum.  In other words, not every situation is a nail that needs hammered.  Do not dismiss the importance of philosophy, history, or culture.  Write some term papers for the pure enjoyment of writing.  Develop good writing habits apart from ideology.  Take a few classes for the sake of learning something new.

There Are Options

If you are afraid of winding up on the campus of a liberal puppy mill, there are options.  First, do your homework in selecting a college.  There are great college resources online.  There are some colleges that provide a more classic or traditional environment than others.  Some have found colleges offering a more traditional or classic education to be more “conservative friendly”.  A few that come to mind are: Hillsdale College, Grove City College, Thomas Aquinas College, and Christendom College.  Again, do your homework online and explore this option in greater detail.  There is no reason conservatives cannot have a wonderful experience at college.

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