Located in Hillsdale, Michigan, Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 and is an independent liberal arts college that offers numerous four-year programs including bachelor’s of arts and bachelor’s of science degrees and offers unique opportunities for its students. The college operates upon the twin principles of institutional independence and academic success and does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies in any form. Situated on a beautiful two hundred-acre campus that houses state-of-the-art computer labs, residential halls, classrooms, laboratories and a library, among other buildings, this school is composed of both historic and modern buildings. Students sign an honor code that challenges students to attain self-government, which the school believes is accomplished by education and dedication to self and one’s fellow man.
This college offers a liberal arts program designed to enrich the student by providing a well-rounded education that includes a core curriculum that educates students in a variety of disciplines. The bachelor’s degree program offered at the college offers a variety of majors from which to choose. All degrees are completed in a classroom setting; HC does not offer online degrees and students are expected to carry a minimum number of credit hours per semester. Some exceptions may be made but generally only for non-traditional students. Nearly thirty majors and programs are offered from which to choose including accounting, biology, philosophy, psychology and theater.
In addition to standard discipline-specific degrees, also offered are interdisciplinary fields of concentration and programs. These programs do not concentrate on a single major but rather an interdisciplinary field such as Political Studies, American Studies or Christian Studies. The student learns comprehensively about these fields as well as completing the core, liberal arts curriculum.
Finally, there are also degrees in pre-professional programs such as law, veterinary medicine, allied health services and environmental sciences. These programs prepare the student for graduate or doctorate study and are not meant as stand-alone degrees. Students choosing these programs are still required to complete the core curriculum along with the profession-specific courses.
HC offers upper-class students the opportunity to participate in the Washington-Hillsdale Internship (WHIP) Program. Students participate in an academically intensive internship program in Washington D.C. for one semester and also take the courses American National Security Studies and Public Policy. Since the program’s inception, students have studied in such places as the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, think-tanks and national security agencies. The goal of the program is to train a generation of public servants who thoroughly know the U.S. Constitution and defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence throughout their careers.
Hillsdale/Oxford Scholars Program
Hillsdale, in conjunction with the venerable Oxford University, offers upper-class students in excellent academic standing the opportunity to study abroad for a semester at Oxford. Students have full access to the academic programs and all of the social and athletic programs offered there during their stay. Students accepted to the program may choose to study at Oxford either during the regular school year or during the summer term. If this is a program of interest, students should discuss it early with an academic advisor so that details such as financial arrangements can be taken care of. Similar study abroad programs offer students the chance to study in France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Scotland and London.
Quayle Journalism Intern Program
The James C. Quayle Journalism Intern Program offers students with exemplary grades and journalistic writing skills the opportunity to participate in summer internships at major media outlets in Washington D.C. and other approved locations. The program pays for lodging and transportation and also provides a weekly stipend.
The application process is fairly simple but does require several different documents so students should familiarize themselves with these requirements. There is very specific information available both on the school’s website or by contacting the admissions office.
The Application Process
The student may choose to complete the application online or via a paper application but if completed online the application fee is waived. Online applications must be followed up with an application supplement which is a very short, questionnaire-type form. Along with the application the school requires several other documents.
First, the applicant must submit two academic letters of recommendation. An optional letter of recommendation by a character reference may also be submitted, but no more than three letters will be accepted. All high school and any college transcripts must submitted as well as ACT or SAT scores. Any transcript submitted must be official and if the high school includes the ACT or SAT scores on their official transcript, there is no need to have the scores submitted separately. The applicant must also include a resume highlighting extracurricular activities, leadership, work experience and volunteer activities.
The final documents required in the application packet are a picture for identification purposes and a short essay with thoughtful responses.
International, Transfer and Non-Traditional Students
All international students need to submit documents translated into English and if necessary, will have to take the Test for English as a Second Language (TOEFL).
Transfer students will need to submit all of the standard documentation plus a transfer evaluation form completed by the dean of students of the former school. Transfer students should be aware that credit will not be given for any classes that are not considered liberal arts in nature or in which the student did not receive a grade of “C” or better.
Standard requirements may also be modified in the case of veteran or adult applicants. USAFI credits are accepted and students may opt to take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test to obtain credits based on life experience rather than formal education.
Hillsdale College is a private college completely independent of government subsidization; therefore, the school does not offer its students federally subsidized grants or loans. The college does, however, have a significant amount of both need-based and merit-based financial aid available to offer from private sources. To apply for aid for this school, students do not fill out the FAFSA. Instead, first-year applicants complete the Confidential Family Financial Statement (CFFS) and submit the supporting tax and financial documents to the school. Students may also complete the early financial aid estimate form to determine approximately how much aid can be expected. After the first year, students will need to complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) form every year in order to continue receiving financial aid.
Students that may want to attend this school should be aware that even though the college does not offer federal aid, there are plenty of different options available to assist with the cost of tuition, fees, books and living expenses. Assistance is available in the form of grants, scholarships and loans and the Hillsdale financial aid office is available to assist students in their search for resources.
The Hillsdale Chargers are an NCAA Division II athletic association and offer both men’s and women’s basketball, cross country and track. Men may also choose to participate in baseball and football while women have the additional options of softball, swimming and volleyball. The college holds all of its home games and meets at the George Roche Health Education and Sports Complex. This facility is impressive, especially for a school this size. Besides hosting games and meets, the complex also houses training and practice facilities, the offices of the entire athletic staff and classrooms. The facility welcomes the public to come and train or play raquetball or tennis and thus serves as a fitness center for both students and community.
Additional School Information
HC is home to over one hundred clubs and organizations and has an active Greek life. It also features varsity, intramural and club sports, choir, theater and orchestra. The Student Activities Board, which is comprised of five upper-class students, strives to arrange fun activities to enhance the student experience. The college boasts the Sage Center for the Arts where up-and-coming performing arts students showcase their talents. The Howard Music Hall host concerts that are enjoyed by all.
The school also has a campus newspaper, The Collegian, that is written, edited and published by the student body. This gives journalism majors an excellent opportunity to hone their skills while learning and also serves as practical experience on a resume after graduation.
Carrie Petersen earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and a Masters of School leadership at Northern Illinois University. Carrie likes to travel with her husband and two sons.