Survey Finds 1 in 5 College Students Are Uncomfortable Rooming With Someone With Different Political Views

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Although most college students say they are comfortable living with someone with different beliefs and views, some are intolerant when it comes to political, religious, and sexual orientation differences

"Intolerance in higher education can lead to negative social impacts, and it’s critical that colleges and universities explore proactive strategies to encourage open-mindedness and empathy.”

Intelligent.com, a trusted resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning, has published a survey report that shares insight into college students’ tolerance of peers with contrasting identities and/or beliefs. The report also compares responses from students who identify as liberal and those who identify as conservative. The survey generated feedback from 1,000 prospective and current college students ages 16 to 23 in the United States.

Survey results indicate that 53 percent of respondents are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” sharing a room with someone with different political views. Conversely, nearly 19 percent of respondents are “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” sharing a room with someone with different political views. One in 3 students who identify as “liberal” say they are not comfortable sharing a room with someone with different political views, compared to 1 in 7 students who identify as “conservative.”

In addition to political views, some students also say differences in sexual orientation, religious beliefs, dietary habits, and race make them uncomfortable. Eleven percent of respondents are uncomfortable sharing a room with someone of different sexual orientation, 8 percent say religious beliefs, 7 percent say dietary habits, and 1 percent say race or ethnicity. When it comes to sharing a room with a student who has a different sexual orientation, 68 percent say they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” while 11 percent say they are “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable.” Of students who have conservative political views, 25 percent say they would be uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who has a different sexual orientation, compared to 6.5 percent of those who have liberal views.

“Despite the fact that most students seem generally tolerant of others with different beliefs and views, it’s still concerning that differences would make some uncomfortable,” says Intelligent.com. “Intolerance in higher education can lead to negative social impacts, and it’s critical that colleges and universities explore proactive strategies to encourage open-mindedness and empathy.”

In contrast, 70 percent of respondents are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” sharing a room with someone who has different dietary habits, and 91 percent of respondents are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” sharing a room with someone of a different race or ethnicity. Furthermore, college students who have friends with diverse identities or beliefs are more comfortable rooming with different people.

Intelligent.com commissioned and conducted this survey via online platform Pollfish on December 29, 2022. Overall, 1,000 prospective and current college students in the United States ages 16 to 23 participated in this survey. All respondents were found via Pollfish’s demographics screening tools. Their employment status had to be “student” and they had to indicate that they are currently in high school and planning to attend college or are currently an undergraduate student. To view the complete report, please visit https://www.intelligent.com/1-in-5-arent-comfortable-having-a-college-roommate-with-different-political-views/.

ABOUT INTELLIGENT.COM
Intelligent.com provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs. The website offers curated guides that include the best degree programs as well as information about financial aid, internships, and even study strategies. With comprehensive, user-friendly guides and hundreds of program rankings, Intelligent.com is a trusted source among students and prospective students. To learn more, please visit https://www.intelligent.com/.

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