Preparing for College

Will Conservative Politics Hurt Ivy League Chances?

Question: Would becoming a campaign worker for the Bush presidential campaign or another conservative candidate's campaign--or founding a Young Republicans Club at one's college--hurt transfer-admission chances at Ivy League schools, which tend to be fairly liberal?

Getting into an Ivy League school as a transfer is an uphill battle for anyone, but your choice of college (e.g.. Penn vs. Princeton; Cornell vs. Columbia) will be a factor.

However, if you don't get the good news you hope for, it definitely won't be because you supported a conservative candidate or founded a Young Republicans' Club. A right-wing student on a left-leaning campus will bring welcome and much-needed diversity. Moveover, launching a campus organization shows leadership and initiative.

Keep in mind, however, that it's not just the students who lean to the left on elite-college campuses. Many of the admission officials are knee-jerk liberals, too. You'll probably impress them the most if you temper your achievements with humor when you fill out your applications. Point out that you recognize that your "Bush League" preferences may not be the popular ones at your new transfer school, but you promise to refrain from hanging campaign posters in the bathrooms where your dorm-mates are a captive audience. Make sure to note, too, that you get along with diverse people who hold a range of views, and you are looking forward to sharing yours--regardless of how few others will applaud them.