Despite the fact that Elite College’s student body hails from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, numerous students at Elite College have complained of a lack of political diversity on campus. In this project I examine whether the formal and informal administrative and faculty practices at Elite College effectively promote political discussion in which students can form, question, and/or change their political beliefs. I used a detailed interview guide to further understand students at Elite College familial background and their experiences at Elite College. Given the time constraints, I was not able to make any overarching findings regarding Elite College. However, I was able to categorize the interview data into three critical section which effectively set the stage for further research. Upon interviewing 12 students at Elite College I identified the 1) Transition Period from high school to college (independence, clashing of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, becoming informed), 2) the Environmental Factors that exist at Elite College (Semi-open discussion, classroom and office hours, discussion with peers) and Political Bashing (Making fun of or dismissing opposing viewpoints) that takes place in the classroom and around campus as the most salient. In this paper, I will further enumerate and contextualize these preliminary findings as they pertain to the broader literature regarding the way students form, question, and/or change their political beliefs on small liberal arts campuses.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Matthew Grace

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.