My Advice for Admitted Students

College Decision Day is coming up, and if you’re anything like I was in senior year, you’re dreading it.

I didn’t officially commit to Hope until late April 2022 – just days before College Decision Day. I always had a good feeling about Hope, but the gravity of such a decision held me back from making it official. I told myself I couldn’t possibly base such a monumental decision off of just a feeling. Considering my top two schools made me feel like I was choosing between two potential lives. How could I predict where my people would be? Where the best career options would be? I felt paralyzed. If your mind feels anything like mine did, this blog post is dedicated to helping you take the next step forward. Here’s five things I wish someone told me while I was making my decision as a student admitted to Hope.

1. Take Advantage of Support

The admissions process at Hope provides prospective students with an extensive support system. As an admitted student, you likely have had conversations with your admissions representative. You also probably have the contact information of a tour guide, or maybe you know of a family friend who went to Hope. In my experience, taking advantage of this support can be very helpful in the decision making process. All of the people I talked to about Hope – whether it was my admissions representative or a current student that had gone to my high school – were very kind and helpful. This helped me realize that a “person of Hope” is what I wanted to be. So-take advantage of the support you have, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

2. Attend Events if Possible

Hope has a number of events for prospective and admitted students. In my senior year, I came to Scholars’ Day. This was a good experience to be on campus and attend a student panel. Hope always does an Admitted Student Day every year, too, which I couldn’t make it to. I think going to as many events as possible, whether Anchor Days, overnight visits, or Admitted Student Day, is helpful as you consider how you’ll like Hope’s environment.

3. You’re Not Behind!

In my senior year, I think I really needed someone to tell me that I wasn’t behind. My other friends made college decisions earlier than me, and I continually stalked the incoming Hope Freshmen Instagram page. I was overwhelmed by the number of students who had already committed and found roommates. At this moment, you are not behind. Even if you don’t have a roommate or a major decided right now, there is space and time for you. You will find your people, your place, and a steady pace with time.

4. Enjoy Right Now

I’m sure that you’ve heard this advice by now, but I’ll say it again. Enjoy right now! Looking ahead to college is exciting, especially as the number of days left in your senior year start to shrink. But this is your last few weeks or months with your hometown friends, in the same place for hours a day, weeks on end. Savor it and capture your memories too. The end of my senior year and that final summer before college are sweet, sweet memories for me.

my high school graduation

and 5… God is with You.

Finally, I just want you to remember that God is with you. You can pray to Him and ask Him for wisdom in light of this upcoming decision. He will never leave you nor forsake you. No matter what college you end up choosing, He will walk with you every step of the way.

Wrapping it Up

All in all, I know that this decision making process can be all types of daunting. Please remember that God is with you and there are people rooting for you – including me. I can’t wait to meet you, Hope Class of 2028!

How Ghana Changed my Life

Let me take you tell you why studying abroad in Ghana has been nothing short of the best trip I have taken. Buckle up, because this journey is about to unfold into a tapestry of vibrant cultures, delectable cuisines and life-altering realizations.

Embracing the Culture: A Lesson in Rich Traditions

From the moment I set foot in Ghana, I was welcomed with open arms and warm smiles. The rich tapestry of Ghanaian culture unfolded before me, offering a unique blend of history, art and tradition. Accra, the bustling capital, became my canvas for cultural exploration. The National Museum, with its fascinating exhibits, provided a glimpse into the country’s history and heritage. I also lived with the Lamotey host family and, though I am back at Hope College, I still keep in touch with them through WhatsApp (which is a main messaging platform).

But it was not just about museums and historical sites. The bustling markets, such as Makola Market, where vibrant fabrics and traditional artifacts beckon, became my playground for understanding the heartbeat of Ghanaian life. Engaging with locals in traditional dance and music workshops allowed me to immerse myself fully in the rhythms of this beautiful nation. It made me realize how the beauty and tranquility of such places is truly amazing. 

A Culinary Adventure: Savoring the Flavors of Ghana

Ghanaian cuisine is a feast for the senses, and every meal is a celebration. My taste buds embarked on a rollercoaster journey through the diverse array of dishes, from the iconic jollof rice to the spicy waakye. Street food, an integral part of the local experience, introduced me to the irresistible aroma of kelewele (spicy fried plantains) and the mouthwatering goodness of waakye with shito (rice and beans with spicy pepper sauce). I even learned how to make shito here and have it with every meal now.

Cape Coast, a coastal city with a poignant history, offered me a chance to indulge in the freshest seafood. The local fish market was a sensory overload, with the catch of the day transforming into sumptuous meals prepared by skilled chefs. Dining with newfound friends, sharing laughter over a bowl of fufu and light soup, became a cherished ritual.

Realizations Along the Way: Growth Beyond the Classroom

Studying abroad is not just about textbooks and exams; it is about personal growth and self-discovery. Ghana provided me with a unique classroom – one that extended beyond the lecture halls. Interacting with locals, hearing their stories, and understanding the challenges they face broadened my perspective on life.

Visiting the Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle, both remnants of the transatlantic slave trade, was a powerful and somber experience. It sparked a realization of the resilience and strength of the Ghanaian people, and it deepened my understanding of the global impact of historical events.

The sense of community in Ghana is palpable, and it became evident that true wealth lies not in material possessions but in the richness of relationships and shared experiences. Whether volunteering in local communities or participating in cultural festivals, I found myself woven into the fabric of Ghanaian society.

As I pen down these reflections, I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life-changing adventure that studying abroad in Ghana has been. The places I’ve explored, the food I’ve savored, and the realizations I have gained have become threads in the tapestry of my personal growth.

So, to all the dreamers considering a study abroad experience – Ghana awaits you with open arms and a promise of transformative moments. This is not just a journey; it’s a revelation, an exploration of self and others that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Here’s to the beauty of Ghana – an unforgettable trip in my life!

What makes Hope College distinct?

According to Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of the word ‘distinct’ reads: “different in nature or quality.” As such, this word reflects a type of being that stands out among other natures. For me, Hope College embodies this definition. At its very core, Hope is distinct

But what makes Hope’s nature distinct from that of others you may ask? For me, I see Hope’s foundational distinctiveness deriving from its heritage as a Christian, liberal arts institution, with its mission statement reading: “The mission of Hope College is to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith.” This distinctive heritage as a Christian, liberal arts institution manifests across the College through the intentional integration of faith, the dedication of excellence and the beauty of community.

Photo credit: Nico Kazlauskas (’27)

At Hope College, the integration of the Christian faith serves as an invitation for students to grow closer to Christ and become formed in Him. The College offers multiple opportunities for this type of formation. For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there is the opportunity to gather as a community in Chapel Services at Dimnent Chapel. Though not required to attend, classes are intentionally not scheduled during the time of 10:30 am – 10:50 am on these days in order to make this experience possible for the student body. There is also the Gathering service every Sunday on campus at Dimnent, and Campus Ministry will also host events for deeper faith formation, including several Bible studies. Additionally, the St. Benedict Institute on campus offers Catholic mass every day and the sacrament of adoration every Tuesday in St. Anne’s Chapel of Graves. The organization also brings speakers to campus, and runs programs including Exodus 90 and Genesis. The incorporation of understanding the Christian perspective and virtues is also evident within the classroom. Hope offers an invitation for students to enter into the faith more deeply if they so choose. 

Another distinctive factor about Hope is that it seeks excellence. By serving as a liberal arts institution, the College enables students to study a variety of academic disciplines, while also seeking to form students holistically. For example, its general education requirements cover a breadth of subject areas, which helps form multi-dimensional thinkers. Guided by accomplished professors and faculty, students can participate in unique experiences. For example, Hope is nationally ranked for its extensive research program. This provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with professors in the field, offered both during the academic year and during the summer. Excellence also extends within Hope’s athletic teams, which consistently rank among the top in the conference along with several championship runs and wins. 

Furthermore, the beauty of Hope College reverberates throughout the campus. For example, there is a close-knit community found within the College. With smaller class sizes, students become more than just a number in a massive lecture hall. Professors intentionally seek to know their students, and they encourage office hours. With a student population size around 3,300, peers recognize familiar faces around campus, extending friendly smiles and waves throughout the Pine Grove, Student Center, and classroom buildings. Even beyond graduation, the Hope community gives back as alumni support students and the College. The beauty of the community is witnessed even in the landscape of Holland and Lake Michigan. 

From the intentional integration of faith, to the dedication of excellence, and to the beauty of community, the characteristics of Hope College exudes its Christian, liberal arts nature. And in doing so, Hope College is distinct

Three Underrated Things About Dorm Life

In my experience, living in dorms is better than most people make it out to be. While I certainly don’t mind having my own room when I go back home, there are a lot of positives about dorm life that tend to get overlooked. I especially realize this now that a lot of my friends are in apartments and cottages, and I can see what their experiences have been like. So, without further ado, let’s take a moment and appreciate all the great things that living in a dorm comes with. 

Being Closer to Everything

If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s convenience. I appreciate nothing more than having to take as little time as possible to get to my destination. This is one of the reasons why I love the dorms so much: they’re closer to everything. I’m a computer science major, and part of why I chose to live in Voorhees this year is that I wanted to be closer to Van Zoeren, which is home to the computer science department. I also have a dual major in philosophy, and Voorhees is also quite close to Lubbers, which is where the philosophy department resides. As someone who isn’t exactly a morning person, I’m grateful that the two buildings I’m in most are basically within arm’s reach. Especially with the cold winter weather, I want to be inside as quickly as possible, and being in a dorm allows me to do that. 

Impromptu Hangouts

One of the awesome things about being in a building with a bunch of your friends is that it becomes really easy to hang out without much prior planning. Lately I’ve been watching a show with some friends, and since we all live in the same place, we can just swing by each other’s rooms and watch another episode. Sometimes I even get to spend time with my friends without intending to do so. If I do homework in the lobby, it’s very likely that at least one person will come and join me. With college being so busy, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to try to balance homework and maintaining friendships. I’m grateful for any chance I get to make the latter easier. 

Having Less to Clean

Besides friendships, another thing that’s hard to maintain while you’re in college is the cleanliness of your room. I’m already not the neatest of people (which my roommates know quite well), but it feels nearly impossible to stay organized with a million deadlines looming over your head. That’s why I deeply appreciate not having that much to clean in the first place. I can’t imagine having to take the time to maintain a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room on top of my personal space. I’m grateful that Hope has amazing custodial staff that take care of the residential hall common areas. 

Living in a dorm is a unique experience that many people only experience in college. While it will never be sunshine and roses one hundred percent of the time, I think there’s a lot of really great aspects to it that often don’t get talked about enough. So if you live in a dorm, savor it! Your time there is limited. And if you’re a prospective student worried about the transition to dorm life, take it from me: there’s a lot of things to love about the dorms.

The Arts at Hope

Hope College is a great place for the arts! Even if you’re not majoring or minoring in an arts field, there’s lots of opportunities to get involved. Whether it’s for a general education requirement or just for fun, there are many areas to try out, from theater to music to dance.

Theater

Regardless of your experience level, anyone can audition for a play at Hope. There are multiple each semester, so lots of people are needed to make them happen. If you can’t commit to doing a full length play, there are also 10 minute scenes you can audition for that are put on by the Directing I class. Is acting not your thing? No worries! The theater always needs people to run sound and lights, build props, usher, and more. No matter where your skill set lies, there is a place for you in Hope’s theater department. A lot of my friends have experiences in different areas of theater, and they have all spoken very highly of their time there. One person I know took Acting for the Non-Major, which fulfilled his fine arts credit and was great for him to get into acting for the first time.

Music

There are more than 20 different ensembles on campus that students can join. For voice, there are two choirs for all voice types, and one all-women’s choir. If you play an instrument, there is a concert band, a jazz band, an orchestra, and more! Instead of an ensemble (or in addition to), you can also take lessons. Right now I’m in piano lessons to fulfill part of my fine arts credit, and it’s great! I get to have a one-on-one lesson with my instructor once a week where we go over how my practice has been going and what I can do to further improve. In addition to this, we have a studio class once a week where all the piano students come together and play for each other. Everyone has great feedback, and they’re all super supportive!

Dance

Anyone can take a dance class at Hope. There are classes for tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and modern dance offered at all skill levels. Any one of these classes can count for a fine arts credit, so a dance class can be a great alternative to music. If you don’t want to commit to a semester-long class, you can also dance in one of Hope’s clubs. We have Swing Dance, Sacred Dance, Ballet Club, and Hip Hop Anonymous, so there’s something for everyone. I’ve only gotten the chance to go to Swing Dance, but everyone there was super welcoming. I could sit out or join a dance whenever I wanted, and sometimes they would do larger group dances. Even though I’m hardly a dancer, I found it super easy to join and I quickly became comfortable with the moves

Studio Arts

Whether you’re an art prodigy or unable to draw more than a stick figure, there’s a studio art class for you. It’s not just painting or drawing either. You can also explore ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and more! Regardless of which class you choose, studio art classes at Hope are a great way to fulfill your general education requirement and unleash your creativity.

At Hope College, the arts are for everyone. They’re a great way to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. No matter your interests, skill set, or commitment level, there is a place for you. Any campus group would love for you to be there!

Advice on Maximizing the Admissions Journey

Throughout high school and most especially during this time of year for senior students, high schoolers are asked the seemingly paramount question – where will you be attending college? From the academic advising office to the holiday dinner table to chatter among friends, this single question seems synonymous with high schoolers’ very own identity. For some, this question is welcomed with exciting anticipation for the college adventure to come while for others it serves as an endless reminder of the frightening unknown ahead. Whether the admissions process feels daunting or exciting, there are ways to optimize the experience, enabling you to shine throughout the application and ultimately gain insight throughout the journey! 

Tackle the application in phases  

Similar to any other major assignment, project, or event, it’s important to give yourself and your application the necessary time and space. The best way to do so is through breaking down the parts of the process into different stages. For example, start with a planning phase where you are able to create an organizational system for yourself. Begin with writing down the various deadlines. As a sucker for color coding, I suggest finding your favorite colored gel pens that will be there alongside you on your journey. It is also helpful to write down other commitments outside of the application process that may be occurring around the same time, allowing you to plan accordingly. During this initial planning phase, I see it as laying the blueprint for the process. With a sufficient amount of time before the application deadline, it can be helpful to categorize what you would like to achieve each month, week, and/or day that will ultimately assist you in achieving your goals. Perhaps starting with dedicating a few weeks to gather information both on potential colleges to apply to (while reminding yourself that you don’t have to have it figured out!) as well as information on yourself. Creating spreadsheets and lists allows you to categorize external research on colleges and requirements, as well as internal information pertaining to yourself throughout your entire high school career. This will greatly benefit you during the essay writing process. Other steps of the incremental process could include setting aside a specific amount of time for the background information section of the essay and obtaining letters of recommendation. Additionally, this incremental approach tends to be even more important during the essay writing phase. You want to leave time to receive several cycles of feedback from counselors or family as well as enable yourself to shape and mold each essay into what you hope to best convey, ultimately allowing you to hit that submit button with confidence and gratification. 

Connect with a high school and college counselors 

One of the most helpful pieces of advice is meeting regularly with high school counselors as well as reaching out to college counselors. If you don’t have access to a high school counselor, finding a teacher or administrator steeped in the knowledge and intricacies of the process – or can connect you with such an individual – is greatly beneficial. An advisor can assist you throughout the journey, serving both as a source of encouragement and accountability. Though sometimes missed, I found it to be very helpful to foster a relationship with your college admissions rep. This allows you to provide updates on achievements, gain a better sense of the institution, and feel known amid thousands of applications. Even if the school you are applying to doesn’t require interviews, I suggest inquiring about setting up a meeting or call with your college counselor. For me, I’ve found that more often than not, your high school and college counselors want to help you – don’t be afraid to use them as a valuable resource! 

Foster self-awareness

Though the process can feel overwhelming and time-sensitive, it’s important to remember that you are in the driver seat! Take time for yourself to intentionally take account of your goals, progress, and how you are personally doing. What do you want from this experience and how do you want it to unfold? As crazy as it sounds, the process can serve you beyond just your college application. Amid the experience, you can learn much about yourself, and you want to be able to have the space to recognize this development. Allow yourself the ability to maximize this time as an enlightening, engaging, and even, dare I say fun experience. With this renewed lens, you’ll be able to proceed with greater enrichment, fulfillment, and gratitude.   

Visiting Hope College

I toured Hope in August 2021, right before I started my senior year of high school.  I had been on plenty of college tours before, and kept visiting schools after my trip to Hope.  Still, this certain visit stood out in my mind through my college decision process.  In fact, the nature of my visit to Hope was fundamental to my choice to come to school here.

Prospective students can sign up for individual tours, which is what I did alongside my mom.  Admissions works to match students with tour guides that are studying or involved in what visitors are interested in.  My tour guide was a Communications major, helping me learn a little more about the field through our conversation.  He also personally introduced me to a Communication department professor, who ended up sending me a handwritten note in the mail following our conversation.  The personal nature of my tour and the way that even faculty were inclined to engage with me was very impactful.  My visit at Hope felt entirely different than any other school I visited.  I felt welcomed and wanted.

Dimnent Chapel is one of my favorite spots on campus!

There are many options for prospective tours to come visit Hope.  Like me, they can do a personal summer visit.  Students can also sign up for a personal visit during the week.  Another popular way to visit Hope is Anchor Days or Junior Days.  These happen many Fridays throughout the school year for senior and junior students, respectively.  Visiting students have the opportunity to be at Hope for a number of hours.  During this time, students and parents can attend different panels, go on a tour, eat lunch in the dining hall, and come to chapel if they would like.  I never came to an Anchor Day as a prospective student, but I wish I had. It would have only helped my decision-making process.  One of my friends, a sophomore now, actually came on three separate Anchor Days during her senior year of high school before ultimately committing to Hope. Besides opportunities like Anchor Days or summer visits, students can take a virtual tour of campus or come on an overnight visit to Hope.  All of these are great opportunities to get a better idea of what life at Hope is like.

Hope is made up of special types of people.  People that love, challenge, welcome, and make space for others.  I’m so glad I chose these to be my people.  Visiting students have the opportunity, through many avenues, to explore what being a person of Hope is all about. 

some of the people of Hope I’ve come to know and love!

Living in Holland

When you move to a town you aren’t accustomed to you might be wondering what there is to do. Well, have no fear! As someone who was living in Holland before attending Hope I am here to offer some ideas.

Downtown

This one is obvious. Since Hope is located right next to Downtown Holland you can easily walk there! Spend an afternoon browsing the small local shops and splurge on yourself.

Get some chocolate, or any kind of candy, at the Peanut Store. Browse books at Readers World. Update your wardrobe at the numerous clothing stores. You could even get coffee, breakfast, lunch, or dinner at any of the restaurants downtown.

You could even spend some time at the Farmer’s Market when it’s open! Get fresh produce, flowers, honey, coffee, jerky, wall decorations, etc. Support your local small businesses! It’s also a great way to get a walk in that is also entertaining.

Bowling

BAM! is an amazing place to send time with friends and family. You will probably have to drive to this one but it’s not too far. Go bowling, enjoy the arcade, eat food, play laser tag, go mini bowling! There is so much to do there.

Take a step back into childhood and let your inner child run free at BAM! There is so much to do that you can never be bored. Do make sure to make reservations though so you can ensure you get a spot in whichever activity you are after, they are often busy.

Rock Climbing

Scrapyard Climbing Collective is a rock climbing center and gym. They welcome beginners and will help you find your footing. But they also have challenges for more experienced climbers.

Spend an afternoon with your friends learning how to rock climb or challenging your friends to races up the walls! A great way to workout while still having fun and enjoying how you spend your time.

Walking

This one may seem boring, or extremely obvious, but the joys of a smaller town is the option to simply walk. Go to Window on the Waterfront. Walk to Kollen Park. Just walk around campus and experience the glorious Michigan seasons!

Walk around with some friends, or walk by yourself. There are so many things to look at and lot’s of older buildings. Maybe take a walk down to Windmill Island, and if it’s open, walk through it and visit De Zwaan, the windmill.

Seasonal

Depending on the season there could be several different events going on in Holland. Maybe there is a civil war reenactment, or when there is a celebration based around lots of flowers that are super popular around Holland (Tulip Time), there might even be a parade. Oftentimes Holland has different events going on, take a look at the Holland Sentinel if you are interested in participating in any of the events.

Museum

If you enjoy history then the Holland Museum might be the place for you to spend some time. Packed with Dutch artifacts, Holland artifacts, and exhibits that are often rotating you can rely on there being different exhibits every couple of months.

Spend time learning about Holland’s history, the history of immigration, and more! The artifacts displayed are very interesting and oftentimes things you have never seen before. Even if you don’t like history, there is always something interesting for everyone at a museum.

There is so much to do in Holland. Don’t waste time just sitting in your dorm; go out and enjoy the different seasons when you can! Find things to do! Make new friends and learn new things!

Transformed by Hope

Just a few hours ago, I took my last exam and wrapped up my third semester at Hope. Three down, five to go. I’m almost halfway through my time here, which blows my mind! The majority of my college experience still lies ahead but I can confidently say that thus far, I’ve been transformed in my time at Hope. As I learn to navigate life and balance responsibilities away from home, Hope has specifically helped to transform and develop my faith, my friendships and my academic experience.

Growing in Faith

I’ve grown in my faith significantly since coming to Hope in fall 2022. I went to a big public high school where I only knew a few other Christians. It’s been such a blessing to step into the abundant community of faith here at Hope. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of going to chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and being able to worship alongside my peers and professors. This is such a unique experience that my friends at larger public schools don’t get. Chapel, the Gathering and everything Campus Ministries offers is completely optional for students. To me, this heightens its impact. If a student wants to attend chapel, they must prioritize it themselves. This has been a fruitful and transformational commitment for me as I surrender and allow the Lord to transform my life and heart through the daily rhythms I participate in here at Hope.

The act of moving to school away from home was a transformational act of faith for me. I’ve had to learn how to depend on God in new ways as I navigate this stage of my life at Hope. The support in faith and life that Campus Ministries chaplains and Bible Study leaders offer has been absolutely transformational in my journey here at Hope.

Growing in Friendship

Hope has given me the community that I’d always dreamed about, but never thought possible. It’s been beautiful to engage in deep and fruitful relationships with people from all over the country and world. The variety of organizations or groups on campus has allowed me to engage with students of all different majors and ages. Some of my close friends are a year or two years above me, which is not something that I could have said in high school. My closest friends are all studying a variety of disciplines from music to nursing, which has been a beautiful dynamic.

Navigating life alongside the friends I’ve found at Hope has been a blessing. Through the highs and lows of each semester, I am so grateful I’ve found a community and support system that truly wants the best for me. I’ve learned about what it means to be a real friend, and how to let someone be a real friend to me. These lessons have been transformational.

some of the deep friendships I am so grateful for!

Growing in Academics

I have not had a class at Hope so far that I didn’t enjoy or get something valuable out of. Time and time again, I go back to old notes from semesters past because the information I’ve learned in classes ranging from psychology to First Year Seminar was just so valuable.

While exam week has been exhausting, this week I found myself gratefully reflecting that I enjoy the content I’m studying and the projects I’m completing. My Hope experience has transformed the way I view academics. Rather than memorizing content to receive a certain grade, I’m challenged to let the content shape and even transform me. I’ve been able to build relationships with a number of amazing professors that acknowledge my potential and help me push myself in the classroom. I love school and learning, and that is something I’ve grown in through my time at Hope.

Overall, my time at Hope has truly challenged and transformed me. I’ve grown in my faith, my friendships, and my relationship with school. I’m so grateful for the way that I have been changed over the past three semesters, and expectant that the next five semesters will also hold their fair share of transformation. So here’s to the journey, transforming in Hope!

Hope’s Collaborative Culture Across Campus

One of my favorite aspects about Hope College is that I am more than just a number on campus – professors and faculty know, value, and care about the students. From the dining hall staff that greet me enthusiastically each morning to the classroom where my professors ask about how my cross country race went to faculty of the Boerigter Center who will send me job opportunities that they think I would be interested in and every interaction in between, Hope fosters an environment that cultivates meaningful relationships across campus. 

I am grateful for the opportunities that the College has made available for me to engage and collaborate with Hope professors, faculty, and staff. For example, I have worked as a student consultant through Hope’s Center for Leadership for two semesters so far. In this role, I have received deep mentorship and training from faculty and professors. By participating in this smaller group setting, I have been able to gain invaluable experience and hone my leadership abilities. Directly learning from subject matter experts and professionals in the industry has bolstered my skills, and I have been able to employ my learnings within the classroom as well as in my internships. Additionally, hearing their personal and professional journeys has provided me with perspective on my own career and calling journey. As each project assigns new coaches, I am able to learn from a diverse set of leaders while also maintain support and connections with past coaching mentors. 

With national rankings in its undergraduate research, Hope College offers a plethora of opportunities and resources for students to connect with professors and faculty for research experiences. Many students even stay in Holland over the summer to conduct research with professors from all different departments. I am grateful to participate in research through the biology department. As a student majoring in biology, I see my research as enlivening my course content. I am able to directly apply my acquired knowledge in a hands-on setting. In the lab, student development and growth as a scientist is prioritized. As such, each lab experience is a learning opportunity that allows me to directly collaborate with the professor and my lab group peers. Together, we work to design experiments, solve problems, and analyze results. I enjoy attending the College’s annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity (CURCA) at the end of the academic year, where I am amazed at the immense variety of fascinating research projects. From STEM to the humanities, these student research collaborations with faculty and professors drive inquiry and provide a holistic formation for students. 

For me, the intentional interactions and collaborations with Hope’s professors, faculty and staff have been one of my favorite aspects about the College. The vision of its Christian, liberal arts foundation is directly lived out at Hope in this way. As a result, my educational experience encompasses so much more than simply a degree – it cultivates character. I am able to learn from those around me and receive personal mentorship that helps me flourish and reach my fullest potential both as a student and as an individual. I will forever be grateful for the deep, synergetic community that Hope College cultivates between students, professors, faculty, and staff.