A Healthier Me At Hope

I came to Hope as a freshman in the fall of 2018 with unbelievable expectations and hopes for what my first year in college would be. I would meet my roommate and become best friends. College, how hard could it be if I managed to get through high school. I thought about the free access to an exercise facility and how I would take advantage of that daily, without excuses. These ideas were some of the ones that laid a foundation for what I thought would be the best year of my life. Needless to say, nothing turned out the way I imagined it to. 

In the process of learning about what my new home could offer me, I came across struggles I didn’t expect. The first came early on in my first semester. 

During my first week as an official college student, the girl who I hoped to share the next four years with, decided that Hope College could no longer be her home. She surrendered the opportunity to pursue an education and although I was supportive of her choice and wished her the best, it was very discouraging. For someone who had traveled a thousand miles away from home in pursuit of her faith and a greater education, I felt guilty for not being homesick enough to make a decision like my roommate’s. Due to her decision, I was alone in a room meant for two for the rest of the year. Both my emotional and social health were at risk. 

Taking classes that were tailored to my interests was something I looked forward to. I would work hard and study harder to be the straight A student I always wished to be. Spoiler alert: this was not the case. Although I dedicated as much time as I could to my classes outside of the classroom, it was not enough. The first grade I earned on an exam was disheartening. The second, was a greater disappointment. In addition to this, I was also neglecting my physical health by feeding into habits that seemed the most convenient. My mental and physical wellbeing were deteriorating. 

As the year went by, I began to be aware of the different resources at my disposal. Attending events hosted by the Student Activities Committee, like Coffeehouse on Thursdays, and seeking out friendships in my residence hall and classes fed into my emotional and social needs. Pursuing academic assistance from the Academic Success Center and making the healthiest choices I could contributed to my mental and physical wellbeing. Once I made the choice to play an active role in what Hope had to offer, I felt myself working towards a healthier version of myself. 

Last day of living in my room in Gilmore Hall before going home for the summer.

Since opening my eyes and heart to the community that once welcomed me, I’ve found the emptiness I once felt, be filled. Since then, I have connected with two amazing girls who I now call roommates, worked alongside a professor as a teacher assistant, and volunteered as an orientation assistant to welcome a remarkable group of freshmen. My journey to this point has only enriched my college experience and I could not be more thankful. 

Are You Asking These 6 Questions on Your College Tours?

By Kristin Diekevers ’07, Associate Director of Admissions

Ahhhh, the changing of the seasons. We are less than two weeks from the official start of fall (it’s September 23 if you were wondering), and colleges are back in session. That means many of you are doing yourself the awesome favor of scheduling college visits — seriously, there is nothing you can do to get to know a college better than by visiting.

Colleges are ready with their welcome mats and most tour guides are ready for the typical questions (and if they aren’t, be skeptical). How many students go here? What’s the average class size? Are freshmen allowed to have cars? How are roommates determined? What do students do on the weekends?

Hope College students are on a campus tour.

But you want to be a savvy consumer, right? Dig a little deeper into the college experience and consider asking these 6 questions on every college tour.

  1. What aren’t you showing me? There might be good reasons for limiting what you see — time length of tour, spaces reserved for faculty/staff, building hours, etc. However, it’s worth asking because you might also uncover areas of deferred maintenance or areas of concern for the college. In either case, you might consider circling back to these areas by yourself before you leave the campus.
  2. Take time to smell the flowers. Yes, this is a statement, not a question, but it’s important. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. How are students interacting with one another? With faculty or staff? With you? What is on the bulletin boards and what signs are hanging up on campus? Are there literally flowers you can smell (hey, there is something to be said for well-kept grounds)?
  3. What faculty or staff member helped you the most your freshman year? How so? People matter. Connections matter. Connected people are generally happier and more successful both in college and in the long-term. Asking this question will help you learn if students make an early and lasting connection with an employee of the college.
  4. How is conflict recognized and addressed on campus? Given our current political climate, I think this is a fair question. College is an important time for young people to further develop conflict resolution skills. We hope they have good examples of people doing this on their college campus at all levels. Is there dialogue or dogmatism? Are there forums or fear?
  5. What was your favorite lecture, arts performance, guest speaker or chapel message this past year? “Bueller?…Bueller?…Bueller?” (If you have not watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, please do so the minute you are done reading this blog. You’re welcome.) Lots of students can listen and comprehend, but are they being inspired? A lasting impression made by a lecture fuels a student’s learning, development and success as a human being.
  6. What would you miss the most if you graduated tomorrow? Why? Make sure you add: “You can’t just say your friends.” This all goes back to how connected to their eventual alma mater they feel. Do they swell with pride in talking about their school and show enthusiasm? Do you get those feels when they share their experience? It’s a good signal you’re making a connection too.

I’ve said to ask these questions on every college tour, but really, these questions could be repeated over and over to any person — faculty, student, staff, administrator, coach — you meet on campus. Your tour guide will have one experience, but if you’re really interested in the college, talk to everyone you meet!

Ready to ask these questions within the Hope community? We’re ready to welcome you! Attend one of our upcoming Anchor Days.

An Anchored Life

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
—Hebrews 6:19

Hope College: a name itself founded in faith, illuminating the hope we have in Jesus. Faith is an evident and encouraging part of life on campus, from weekly services, to Campus Ministries, to student-led Bible studies. The beautiful part about faith on campus is that nothing is stifling or obligatory, but an open invitation for students to either explore or grow their faith. Whether you’re a new believer, a long-time believer, or just looking at possibilities, the conversations you encounter are filled with respect and curiosity. Students at Hope enjoy meeting new people and learning their stories. You’ll probably be asked, “Let’s grab coffee!” at least once a week. Head on over to (the best) coffee shop and you’ll hear discussions like so. Spend 5 minutes in LJ’s and the murmuring buzz will erode into conversations, and you’ll begin to pick out the subjects. “I’ve seen the Lord working in my life this week…” “I’m really struggling, but I trust the Lord…” “Let’s pray over your time there…”

A morning at LJ’s

If you want to grow in your faith, there are numerous ways to get involved. Campus Ministries empowers students to lead Bible studies. You can audition to be on chapel band, or if you’re more tech inclined, you can run sound. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30—10:52, a service is held in our beautiful, castle-esque, Dimnent Chapel. There are no classes during this time, and it’s always so packed that the chapel walls are lined with students and professors. On Sunday nights, the Gathering, our on-campus church service, is held. This is at night so that students can get involved with a church in the community. If you stay an another twenty minutes, you can take part in after-worship, a powerful, energetic, extra time of praise.

Dimnent at Christmas

There are three cottages on campus that are sponsored by Campus Ministries: Pancake House, Waffle House, and Mouw Cottage. The first two houses hold events every month or so filled with pancakes, waffles, fun music, dancing, and good conversation. They are a Hope College staple. Mouw Cottage houses Delight Ministries, a ministry focused on encouraging women in their faith and reminding them the “delight” that the Lord takes in them. To live in one of these houses is an honor, as you are taking on a leadership role on campus.

These are just a few of the ways faith is prevalent on campus, and there are many more pockets of individuals gathering to worship the Lord or encourage and walk alongside each other.

Comparing Financial Aid? Ask These Questions!

For many high school seniors and their families, the college selection process includes a comparison of financial aid offers. As you narrow your list and weigh your options, there are a few important questions to consider. Keep this list handy as you compare financial aid packages:

  • What is the renewal criteria for my financial aid? Does your financial aid package include an academic scholarship? If so, be sure to check the criteria for scholarship renewal. Academic scholarships at Hope are guaranteed through your sophomore year and renewable for your two remaining years if you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or 2.75, depending on the scholarship. We want to ensure you have time to be involved with activities outside the classroom — internships, student clubs, service projects and more — that help build a strong resume for the next steps in your career.
  • Does my financial aid apply to off-campus programs such as study abroad? Your financial aid at Hope, including merit-based scholarships, travels with you for any Hope-approved off-campus programs.
  • What is the school’s graduation rate? How feasible is it for students in your preferred academic program to graduate within four years? At Hope, 87 percent of our graduates finish in four years or less.
  • What type of learning environment do you prefer? The most valuable financial aid is one that supports your education in an environment where you will thrive. Consider the factors critical to your success, including:
    • Academic offerings: Does the college offer the majors and minors you’re seeking?
    • Size of school: Where do you see your best fit — at a large, mid-sized or small school?
    • Faith: Is an active faith community important to your personal development?
    • Faculty-student relationships: How closely do faculty collaborate with students, not just in terms of faculty-to-student ratio, but also in the quality of interaction?
    • Mentorship: What kind of one-on-one attention will you receive — from academic advising to academic coaching — from career advising to preparing for graduate school?
    • Opportunities: What opportunities exist for off-campus study, hands-on research and creative performance? Can you participate in athletics, student clubs, and volunteer with service and leadership programs?
    • Sense of community: What words would you use to describe the community you’re seeking? Tight-knit? Friendly? Safe? Active? Fun? Social?
    • Support services: What services would be beneficial to you? Academic success center? Group study and peer partnership programs? Counseling and psychological services? Health center?

We are eager to help you answer these questions and any others you may have. Schedule a campus visit to talk to us in person, or contact us at admissions@hope.edu or 616.395.7850. We can’t wait to tell you more about what makes Hope such a special place!

How to Find Outside Scholarships to Help Pay for College

Paying for college is a big concern for many families, but fear not: as you may have heard, there’s lots of free money out there to help you pay for college. You just need to know where to look and then make the time to go after it!

If you’re a high school junior or younger, this is the prime time for tracking down outside scholarships. Let’s get to it.

Start at Your Counseling Office

First things first — drop in or make an appointment at your high school’s counseling or guidance office to ask about local scholarships. You can also check for a directory of local awards in the guidance section of your school’s website. These awards are typically sponsored by local businesses, community foundations, or area chapters of groups like the Lions Club, Rotary International and others. Maybe your school even holds an awards ceremony in the spring where these scholarships are doled out to the senior class. Don’t miss these!

Yes, Check the Internet

By far the largest source of information about outside scholarships is, you guessed it, online. Scholarship and college search sites like FastwebCappex (one of Hope’s partners) and FinAid.org make it easy to find scholarships for which you might qualify. You can even filter for opportunities that match your demographic and academic background.

As with anything online, be vigilant — make sure you’re only taking the time to pursue scholarship opportunities from reputable companies and organizations. And don’t spend any money to access scholarship directories or hire a company to do the search for you, either. There are plenty of reputable (and free!) resources out there.

Now, Get to Work!

Of course, it’s not enough to simply find these outside scholarships. No, you actually have to apply for them, and this is where my best advice comes in. If you can, make searching and applying for outside scholarships your part-time job (or one of them!) during your junior and senior years.

It seems like every year there’s an inspiring story about some high school senior who applied for hundreds of outside scholarships. Sure she got turned down for most of them, but she was awarded the other 20, and they added up quickly. What if you spent 30 minutes a day working on scholarship stuff? You might be surprised at what you can earn by investing the time and showing up every day.

Getting Paid

So you’ve received some outside scholarships! That’s awesome. Most organizations will want to be in touch with your college or university of choice to find out where to send the award money. Others will write a check made out to you that you can use for books, tuition, or even a new computer for school.

Leave No Stone Unturned

And finally, make sure you’ve maximized all of the internal scholarship opportunities available at your schools of choice. Have you applied for academic scholarships? What about auditioning for an artistic award? Lastly, be sure you’ve filed for need-based aid.

So there you have it! Some quick ideas on finding outside scholarships to pay for college. As with anything, what you get out of this has much to do with the time you spend doing it. Good luck!

Spring Semester at Hope

Hope is a school filled with both goofy and revered traditions (which is part of the reason I was so excited to become a student here!) Many of the big, competitive traditions take place in the fall, such as The Pull or the Nykerk Cup, but there are many more events that happen every year in the winter and spring. The first snow marks the beginning of many traditions. Students scramble into the Pine Grove for a peer organized snowball fight. The Durfee boys gather and carol to Dykstra and Gilmore… in their boxers. They are always freezing cold, but have to keep that tradition alive!

In February, SAC, or the Student Activities Committee, holds Winter Fantasia at a beautiful location in downtown Grand Rapids. This is a chance to pull out your heels or tie and spruce up for night of dancing. From hors d’euvres to photo booths to elegant fountains and chandeliers, this is a chance to get whisked away from studies for a night.

Dance Marathon takes place in March and is a major part of life on campus. This fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital holds events to raise money beginning in the fall semester, but the big event is the 24 hour extravaganza of dancing and fun mixed with the stories recounting the reality of some of these kid’s lives and reminding participants why they’re on their feet for 24 hours. There are countless ways to get involved: you can be a part of the “Dream Team” that plans the event, be a moraler for the dancers, or be on a team and dance for 24 hours.

Enjoying the sun at Spring Fling.

Spring Fling is the big end of the year hurrah. Planned by SAC, students join together in the Pine Grove one last time. There are bouncy house obstacle courses, mechanical bull riding, a zip-line, good food, and more.

This team put two shopping carts together.

Another event that takes place during Spring Fling is The Push: a shopping cart race around the Pine Grove. Teams of around 5 take turns pushing members in the shopping cart, then switch every lap. It’s a fun element added into this end of the year event.

Hope You Go Greek!

Fraternities and sororities are a huge part of going to college in America. No matter where you go there are different ideas, stereotypes, and myths about Greek organizations. I am here to give you a glimpse into the amazing, diverse, and fun-loving lives of greek members at Hope College. Greek Life at Hope aims to enrich the lives of students by fostering lifelong relationships and connections through leadership, academic, and social accountability. Each organization is unique and brings something completely different to the Hope community.

About 20% of the campus is a member of a Greek organization. From this group of people, you will find students that are involved in nearly every activity on campus.

One thing that is special about the culture of Greek Life at Hope is that it is not exclusive and it will never inhibit you from experiencing other parts of campus. I have found that in joining a sorority I opened up connections to nearly every pocket on campus and was able to meet people outside of my dorm, class, major, and even interests. Nearly every campus activity that you join you can count on a Greek member being there. To be Greek at Hope is a great way to have a presence in Hope’s community and to be able to see a familiar face no matter where you go.

There are a couple of things that make Greek Life at Hope a little different. For one, we have rush in the spring as opposed to many schools that recruit new members in the fall. This allows freshmen to get settled and meet people from every organization without any sort of pressure. In addition to that, our rush process is a little over two weeks long. This allows for rushees — students rushing a fraternity or sorority — to actually get to know the actives and vice versa. What I really appreciate about our rush process is that it is designed so that rushees are given multiple opportunities to explore every single organization before finding which one would best fit them. When I rushed, not only did I find a sorority I love, but I met so many people in different organizations all around campus.

Once rush is over rushees will receive a bid, a formal invitation, to join an organization. At this point, Greek Orientation starts — a 3-week orientation process that all new actives will go through after choosing an organization. These 3 weeks are filled with learning about the history and traditions of each organization. It was during this time that I created hilarious memories and bonds with my pledge class, the same people that rushed with me.

After those three weeks are over, you are welcomed with open arms to be an active member of your sorority or fraternity. This is when the real fun begins. There are countless social events that will introduce you to members of nearly every Greek Organization on campus. Not only will you grow socially but each organization participates in fundraisers that will benefit the community. Fun fact: Did you know that Dance Marathon was brought to Hope by Greek Life? Since then the Greek community has been a pivotal part of the success of Dance Marathon at Hope.

Once joining this community you will find that there are a couple of things that differentiate Hope Greek Life from the Greek communities you may hear about at other schools. For instance, apart from one national fraternity on campus, every other organization is local. The only difference is that local organizations do not abide by any national laws regarding dues. Another thing you will find is that organizations may not be referred to by their letters. For instance, there are Dorians, Emersonian, Sibyllines, and Cosmos. May feel tricky but you could easily get the hang of it. Another difference is that not every member lives in the organization’s house. At Hope, only about ten members live in the organization’s cottage.

I rushed Delta Phi because I wanted to be a part of something at Hope. What I found is that I entered a community that stretched me to experience college in a completely different way. I found friends that make me laugh for hours, are up for every kind of adventure and are committed to supporting each other in all kinds of ways. I love carrying on traditions and values that began before I was even born. I became part of a family line of amazing women that remind me to work hard and live life to the fullest. I am incredibly thankful for being a part of Greek Life at Hope College and the ways that it has enhanced my time at Hope. I know it may sound like a lot but I encourage all students to explore the opportunities that this community can bring!

You can find out more about Greek Life here! For another, more detailed, blog about Greek Life at Hope check out this blog!

Why Your Freshman Year Roommate Experience Doesn’t Define Your Hope Experience

I love residential life on Hope College’s campus maybe just a little too much. Over the last three years of living on Hope’s campus, I have enjoyed spending the last two being a Resident Assistant (also affectionately known as a R.A.) to the women of Phelps Hall and Mayor’s Cottage. Living on-campus has shaped me to be a much better person than I was when I entered college. However, I never would’ve expected that to be the case during my freshman year.

Abigail Brummel is a junior and former resident of Phelps Hall.

When I decided to attend Hope my senior year of high school, I didn’t really know anyone else who was planning on attending. Because of this, I decided to come in without a roommate, otherwise known as ‘going potluck.’ I filled out my housing form and prayed that the Lord would lead me to a lifelong friend and the most amazing roommate ever. I pictured us decorating our room in corresponding colors and staying up past midnight sharing secrets. As you can tell, I was pretty naive to how the real world works then. That was not what happened.

I want to preface this story by saying that I still occasionally see my freshman year roommate. If she is reading this, I want her to know that I appreciated our time together and that I think she is an amazing person. We just weren’t amazing people for each other.

Our first semester living together was one of barely speaking and living two very separate lives. I loved our quaint little dorm room in Phelps Hall; she didn’t really like being their very much. I enjoyed being on campus 24/7 and didn’t really see my family very often; her mom is her best friend and she went and slept at home a couple nights a week. I didn’t particularly mind our arrangement. I thought it was okay. However, I don’t believe that she did.

About a month into our second semester, my roommate sent me a text asking if we could chat that evening. She hadn’t been sleeping in our room for the past couple nights, so I thought she just wanted to catch up when she got back. When I arrived back at our room, she asked me to sit and explained to me that she had decided that she no longer wished to live in the dorms and was moving back home. She said that being in a dorm gave a bit of anxiety that she couldn’t shake. I had no idea that she had felt this way. I was shocked. She said she was leaving and wanted to give me my space to process and understand her decision. After she left, I went and bawled in my friend’s room for the next hour.

Once she had moved out, I lived alone for the rest of the year. Being unsure what I was going to do for housing the next year, one of my good friends set me up with a girl also looking for a roommate. We hung out a couple times and found we really liked hanging out with each other, enough to live together. Now, she is one of my best friends and my roommate of two years. Having seen both sides of the spectrum, the loneliness of not having a roommate to someone who I can talk to about anything, has truly made me into a better R.A., friend, and person.

If you’ve made it this far in my story, stick with me for a moral. No matter how your roommate relationship goes, I want to let you know what I didn’t then. What I didn’t understand was that her decision to leave had nothing to do with me. It wasn’t that I was a bad roommate or a bad friend; she just needed to find a space where she could be comfortable. My space was the dorm; her space was at home. Going our separate ways made me better and I cannot thank her enough for that.

Once in Your Shoes: Reflections from the Harveys to Prospective Hope Parents

Feel like you’re swimming in questions about searching for the right college? You’re not alone! In this series, “Once in Your Shoes,” four Hope families share their wisdom about the college search process as they were once in your shoes. We’ve asked these families some admissions-related questions, with the goal of letting their experiences help you.

Jodi and Scott Harvey

Scott and Jodi Harvey, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reflect on their family’s Hope admissions process. The Harveys’ daughter, Allie, is a member of Hope’s Class of 2022.

As college decision letters began arriving in the mail, what went through your minds?

Will Allie make the right choice? Will we be able to afford it? What if she makes the wrong choice? What will she major in? There we so many questions and uncertainties!!   

I don’t recall a lot of stress around the question of her getting into the schools she applied to, but rather I feel there was more anxiety about deciding between the schools she did get into. Helping her navigate questions of size, campus atmosphere and fit was the most difficult part of the process. I feel like Allie knew very early in the back of her mind that Hope was her first choice, but she was still questioning what the right choice was and how to make that decision. As parents, we tried to be supportive and let her make her own decisions in her own time. We let her know early on that this was her decision and that we would support whatever choice she made and make it work.

What was the criteria you were using to help in the decision process?  

Size, cost and the ‘this is it’ feeling she had on campus. Size was something that she really went back and forth on. She really wanted a school that was big enough to get involved, spread her wings and have fun but not too big where it lost that sense of community. As for cost, since all three of her top choices were out of state and/or private, at no time was in-state tuition even a consideration. Because of that, we were quite interested in the scholarship and grant options available at each of the schools. Finally, and above all, we wanted her to feel like the school she chose was someplace she felt ‘at home’ from day one.

Jodi, Allie and Scott Carpenter

What role did Hope’s faith dimension play in the decision process?  

Allie really wanted a school where she would be surrounded by like-minded peers who share a love for Christ and there is no doubt that the key factor for Allie choosing Hope was the Christian element. From the moment we sat in chapel on our first campus visit, I knew where she would want to call home. I still remember the goose bumps I had in chapel that day seeing all of the students (standing room only) pack the chapel and worship because they wanted to, not because they had to.  That was the factor that all other schools were compared to during her college search from that day on!

What advice do you have for parents regarding visiting campuses?  

Take your student to as many schools as you can so that they can get the feel of the campus first hand. While websites and virtual tours are great, they cannot replace the experience of an actual visit where you can see students interacting, feel the vibe of the campus and take in the surrounding area. Campus tours were my (Jodi) favorite part of the whole process!

What concerns did you have or can you share about paying for college?  

I think we had, and still have, the same concerns all parents have when it comes to paying for college. We were hopeful to receive as much money in scholarships and grants as possible. We encouraged her to look at in-state schools and apply for any and all scholarships she could but did not limit her choices because of these things. We were very clear with Allie what our “budget” for her was and weighed all of her options with her. I would suggest to others going through the process now to weigh the value of the return on investment at all the schools they are looking at. 

When did Allie know Hope was the best and possibly only option?  

From day one of our first visit!  She loved hearing the student perspectives during one of the breakout sessions and attending chapel. From then on, all other schools were compared to Hope and all other towns compared to Holland.

Any other thoughts or stories you would like to share?  

My advice would be to enjoy this exciting time. Take the time to explore as many college options as your child is interested in. Visit a variety of schools – different sizes, locations, public, private, city, small college towns.  The more you visit, the better feel your student will have for what feels right. Chances are you will be as lucky as we were and just know once you find it.  Be supportive of your student and the choice he/she makes. This is a big decision and as much as you want them to make the right choice, he/she is the one who will be moving out and living at the school the next four years.

Other Posts In This Series

Once in Your Shoes: Reflections from the Zobecks to Prospective Hope Parents

Feel like you’re swimming in questions about searching for the right college? You’re not alone! In this series, “Once in Your Shoes,” four Hope families share their wisdom about the college search process as they were once in your shoes. We’ve asked these families some admissions-related questions, with the goal of letting their experiences help you.

Rosemary, Mikayla and Ed Zobeck

Ed and Rosemary Zobeck from Haslet, Michigan, reflect on their family’s Hope admission process. The Zobeck’s daughter, Mikayla, is a member of Hope’s Class of 2022.

As college decision letters began arriving in the mail, what went through your minds?

As parents, we were mostly focused on in-state opportunities but realized that Mikayla had not wanted to limit her selection geographically. We tried very hard to support her excitement as she received welcome/acceptance letters in the mail; this is all part of the process. As time went on, we believe that she came to understand that, from our perspective, unless she earned a substantial scholarship from an out-of-state college, her sights needed to consider in-state options. We began to agree also that being a drivable distance from home was a good idea. We prayed individually and as a family for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and for patience!

What was the criteria you were using to help in the decision process?  

While we discussed many issues surrounding a potential college experience for Mikayla, we had three overriding criteria. The first was would there be a vibrant Christian community within the university to support her. Second, Mikayla is seeking a career in medicine. We looked at the success rates of students being accepted into medical school. Third, we looked at the size and culture of the organization and how that fit with Mikayla’s personality and needs. She considered two schools in addition to Hope: The Ohio State University and Loyola Chicago. Loyola is similar in size to Hope and a Christian community largely in the Catholic tradition. While Ohio State is dramatically larger than either Hope or Loyola, they have smaller schools within the university that provide for a ‘small school’ experience

What role did Hope’s faith dimension play in the decision process?  

This was a significant factor. In our minds, there is a huge difference between a university which has a Christian community available and one that informs its practices and culture through the teachings of Christ.What advice do you have for parents regarding visiting campuses?  

We would strongly encourage parents to take advantage of as many visit opportunities as they can and to take advantage of speaking with students 1:1. We found that students, even random ones that we encountered in walking around campus, are very willing to talk about their experience at Hope.

What role did Hope’s status as a liberal arts school play in the decision process?

Frankly, this was more a concern to us rather than a perception of an advantage when we first began looking at Hope. Neither of us went to liberal arts schools and a great fear was our daughter graduating with a ‘liberal arts’ degree and no useful skills to enter the workforce or compete for a medical school position. However, Hope did a good job of presenting the evidence of the value of a liberal arts education on our many visits as well as the success that past graduates have had gaining admission to preferred graduate schools.

How did size of our institution influence the decision to attend Hope?

This was a strong attraction to us. One of our older children went to a large public university. When we attended orientation, the message to parents was pretty much let them find their way. While we appreciate that ‘helicopter parenting’ doesn’t do our children a lot of good, it’s also true that just because they’ve turned 18 doesn’t mean they don’t need guidance, direction and nurturing any longer. First, Hope engaged us so that we can be part of our student’s Hope experience in a way that is constructive to us as parents and good for our child. Second, Hope is small enough for professors to get to know our children and engage with them in ways that just aren’t possible in large public universities. We believe this is a tremendous academic advantage to Mikayla.How did financial aid/merit scholarship affect the decision to attend Hope?

The financial aid awards helped to level the playing field making Hope’s tuition costs comparable to that of a public university.

Any other thoughts or stories you would like to share?

We made a visit to Hope in August between Mikayla’s junior and senior years. The person who normally advises pre-med students wasn’t available, so we met with another professor who was kind enough to spend about an hour with us answering our questions about the program and what Mikayla could expect. Our next stop was lunch at Phelps Dining Hall so he offered to walk with us. Along the way, we encountered three or four students who each acknowledged the professor by name. Surprisingly to us, he too addressed each of the students by their first names. I think I was a senior at my university before I was in a class small enough for my professor to recognize me. This led to a discussion about the relationship between professors and students at Hope and how they work so hard to make themselves available to students.

Other Posts in This Series