Visiting Campus

When it came down to deciding what college to go to, I found visiting campus to be essential. It allowed me to truly imagine being a student here. There are many ways to visit campus, and Hope makes it easy to find a time that works for you. 

The two most popular ways to visit campus are individual visits and Anchor Days. I’ve done both, and I highly recommend both if you’re able. Individual visits are great for a slower, more relaxed experience, and there are many times available. Anchor Days are fast-paced and lively, and they have more ways to get to know campus. Whichever one you choose, here are a few things that you can do during a visit:

Guided Tour

This is an essential for your visit! Your tour guide will take you all over campus and answer any questions you may have. I did a tour both times I visited campus, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Both of my tour guides were incredibly friendly and had a lot of great information.

Department Visit

These are great both for those who are set on a major and those who are still thinking about it. You’ll meet with a faculty member in your chosen department. They will give you a rundown of what the department offers and the different opportunities. When I did the visit, I found it to be a great source of information.

Go to Chapel

Chapel is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30-10:52. It’s a great way to take some time and worship. Plus, it’s a great way to get a feel of campus culture, because chapel is one of the most popular events on campus. 

View a Residence Hall

A visit is a great time to check out the residence halls. Each hall has different perks, and visiting allows you to compare them. Depending on the day, you may even get to visit the room of a current Hope student.

Talk to Your Admissions Representative

Your admissions representative would love to meet with you! They’re a great source of information when you’re not on campus, but while you’re here, it’s a great time to ask any questions that have come up during your visit.

Although individual visits and Anchor Days are the most popular, they’re not the only way you can visit campus. More information can be found on Hope’s website. And if you can’t make it, no worries! Hope has a virtual tour available that you can watch any time. Regardless of what you do, make sure to contact your admissions representative with any questions. They’re here to help!

Academics at Hope

The academic structure at Hope allows students to immerse in multiple academic disciplines, engage with an array of people, and stretch their minds in new ways.

Here at Hope, I’m double majoring in Communications and Spanish with a minor in Social Witness Ministry.  I’m hoping to work in a nonprofit or ministry setting post grad.  The liberal arts structure of Hope stretches students in new ways through its requirement of General Education courses from various disciplines.  Because of this liberal arts set up, many students are also able to add an extra major or minor and still finish within four years.

Typically, a Hope student will take 15 credits a semester.  For me, that looks like five 3 credit classes.  My friends with majors such as music or nursing take the same amount of credits, but these split into a different amount of classes due to labs or other 1 or 2 credit classes that they have.

In high school, I completed the rigorous IB Diploma program.  I was nervous about how my college course load would measure up to what I had become used to in high school.  Would I be bored in my intro classes?  How would my workload compare to what I was used to in high school?

While experience certainly varies by academic discipline, over the past three semesters I have found that my classes stretch me in ways I’ve never experienced before.  I am learning, but not just in a manner that forces me to regurgitate information onto tests.  My classes push me to think critically and engage with perspectives different than my own in order to become a better person.  Last year, I had to write a reflection essay about how the Liberal Arts Education style was impacting me so far. I said:

I have found this version of education much more beneficial: I can remember countless hard days studying for my IB classes, but little to none of the content therein […] I was incentivized to memorize information rather than apply and learn it.  Now, my classes are designed in such a way that I am able to learn and apply what is taught.

I truly enjoy my classes and the liberal arts structure of academics at Hope.  This semester, I go to Statistics, Ministry, and Spanish Literature all over the course of a few hours.  Such a variety allows me to engage with diverse students of many different disciplines and pushes me to be better all around.

some of my best friends at Hope, pursuing all different majors

In high school, I dreaded going to class. I would count down the days until each upcoming break, keeping tallies in my planner. It’s such a blessing to be challenged and shaped by academics at Hope. I can honestly say I love going to class and feel I’m better because of it.

Can Students Balance a Job?

Well? Can they? Or more specifically; can you, as a student, balance work and school?

Yes. You can. It may seem overwhelming. Coming to college and not knowing a lot of people, you are already balancing a lot of stressors. How are you supposed to confidently balance a job?

Know Yourself

The overall answer here is up to you. If it would be way too much for you to handle, then don’t. If you have time and know you can take extra expectations, then go for it! When I came into Hope I didn’t get a job my Freshman year. I knew that I couldn’t take the extra stress. But I know plenty of people who got jobs right when the applications opened, whether on campus or off-campus.

College can be stressful. There are a lot of expectations placed on students. You have to work hard and learn to manage your time. But don’t let it get you down. It’s entirely manageable and you can do so in ways that allow you to still enjoy campus life! A job during college also allows you to meet more people than just those in your classes.


Communication is key. What an overused statement, but it’s an important one. Your bosses understand that they are hiring a college student. Things are going to come up that you cannot miss; meetings for classes, required events for credit, family emergencies. You need to make sure that you communicate these things.

If you have notice of an event or meeting you are required to attend, then let your boss know as soon as possible. This will allow you to work with your boss easier and show them that you know how to manage your time. The benefit of on-campus jobs is that they are typically more than accommodating when it comes to extracurriculars or classroom requirements.

I have had several required events come up where I needed to miss work in order to get credit for a class. I simply sent my boss an email, or even stopped into their office, and we worked out my schedule and appointments. When it comes to a school-work balance, communication is key to preventing a stressful situation.


Keep a healthy balance of time for homework, time for work, and time to relax. Yes. Relax. As a college student you need time to breathe and process everything at your own pace. Don’t overwork yourself because “you need the money” or “you need the experience”. Yes, both of those are fair, but not worth your sanity. Trust me.

If you get a job on campus, or off campus, don’t get rid of a social life. But don’t forget to get things done. It’s a strange but stable balance that is very healthy.

If you are interested in an on campus job check out Human Resources for all the opportunities you can apply for!

A Buzzing Student Life

When you come to college you have high hopes. You want to go out and make new friends, meet people and explore what there is to offer. Where do you begin? Here at Hope there are so many options for engaging in the bustling student life.

Student Activities Committee

SAC is a student lead committee at Hope College. They generate copious amounts of activities for all students to engage in. From painting pottery, planting plants, and Spring Fling, they do it all!

I know I have checked their website many times to see what is coming next on their calendar. Their events go the entire academic year as well! It’s not seasonal.

I personally have attended a pottery painting night, the silent disco, Spring Fling, and Coffee House. Not once was I bored or felt as though I was alone. All you hear around you is the buzzing of excitement and conversation. I found myself making friends at some of these events as a Freshman. I was a very quiet Freshman who chose to keep to themselves. Going to events hosted by SAC, I was able to break out of this shell and find community!


There are so many clubs here at Hope to chose from, and you don’t have to pick just one! Each club is student led and they engage with different aspects of learning. From the Gardening club to Geek life there is something for everyone!

I am a part of Gardening club, the Outdoors Adventure club, and English Club. Yet, those are only the beginning to what is offered.

When I first came to Hope I thought clubs were “clicky.” I thought I wouldn’t make any friends because it would just be one large friend group already. How wrong I was. I was welcomed with open arms into each club and was given opportunities of fun and learning. I’ve taken trips to Fredrick Meijer Gardens and gone on hikes! The clubs here at Hope will allow you to grow as a student while having fun learning.


Even though I myself do not play sports competitively anymore I have attended more games here at Hope then I can count on all my fingers and toes. Hockey, Basketball, Football, Softball and Baseball, Track, Soccer, Lacrosse, Swimming, etc. Supporting your fellow students and representing your school are major parts of the sports here at Hope.

There is nothing like going with some friends to watch a game. Jumping around and cheering together as you chow down on some concession food. Watching the Student Life buzz together on crowded bleachers is such a unique experience. Also, sometimes there is free Hope College merch, like t-shirts. What could be better than a free t-shirt?


Do you like making music? Do you enjoy listening to music while you study? Are you interested in learning an instrument? Well, Hope offers a variety of options to complete those desires.

In the music department there are courses you can take to learn a new instrument. You can join the band or choir or dance team. There are also courses you can take that are purely for enjoyment and you can sit down with a group of students and have fun making music!

SAC also puts on Coffee House. A study night in the BSC Great Room where students or musicians come and play whilst you work on homework with some friends. I went to a couple of Coffee Houses and it was the most relaxing study session I’ve had in my 3 years here at Hope. So I highly recommend stopping by at least one before graduating.

Enough for Everyone

There is so much at Hope for each student to get involved in their own ways. You will never be turned away or told you don’t belong. Students here accept each other and we grow in community by doing so. Growing together is stronger than growing apart. Student Life is never boring at Hope college as a student. Reach out! There are people just waiting to talk to you.

Life in Holland: My Top 5

This summer, I jumped at any chance to drive the hour and ten minutes to Holland from my hometown.

I love Holland.  I love the drive to get here, blasting Taylor Swift with the windows down. I love the glistening lake, the picturesque downtown, and of course the campus nestled nearby.

Here are five of my favorite things about this place I’m blessed to call home: 

1. Downtown

I’ve been a fan of the tv show Gilmore Girls since middle school.  Downtown Holland so perfectly matches the things I always envied about the small town Stars Hollow in the show. There’s a bookstore, ice cream places, and wonderful coffee shops.  People are always out and about shopping, with their friends, or playing music on the street corners. During Christmas-time, it’s wonderfully decorated and lit up with glistening lights.  In spring, tulips bloom up and down the main street.  Downtown truly is a wonderful place to be. 

2. Farmers Market

A popular walking-distance destination from Hope is the Holland farmers market on 8th Street.  The market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. It’s a place to find produce, flowers, and even cotton candy! The Farmers Market also changes seasonally, with pumpkins and cider in the fall and Christmas lights and hot chocolate in December.

3. Churches

Holland is home to well over 150 churches.  These vary in tradition and style, which allows students to find a church family that suits them.  A number of churches are walking distance from campus or offer free shuttles to Hope students, making them accessible to students without cars on campus. 

Last year, my friends and I tried many churches before settling on the ones we now attend. I am so glad we walked through this process.  It is such a blessing to attend church in Holland, engaging in worship intergenerationally. 

4. Coffee Shops

During my college decision-making process, I visited local coffee shops at each school.  I simply love coffee, and wanted to be sure my college would have a variety of places I could frequent.  Luckily, Holland excels in this department.  

This semester, I’ve studied at Lemonjello’s (LJ’s!) almost every day.  Other wonderful places like Ferris and 205 are a walking distance from Hope’s campus as well. I love doing homework at any of these places, never knowing who I’ll run into.

My all-time favorite coffee shop in Holland is KIN Coffee and Craft House.  It’s on Ottawa Beach Road near Lake Michigan (about 10 minutes off campus).  This precious coffee shop is tucked away in a farmhouse style building.  My friends and I discovered it by accident on a beach trip, and we’ve been obsessed ever since. If you visit, make sure to color your own postcard and they’ll mail it for you!

5. Lake Michigan

The lake is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite things about life in Holland.  When I committed to Hope, I had no idea how often I would go to the beach throughout the year.  Even in the dead of winter, my friends and I try to prioritize catching one sunset a week.  From Polar Plunging in March to swimming the first few weekends of the school year, I adore the lake. I can’t imagine my college experience any other way.

Wrapping it Up:

I truly love Holland.  It is comfortable and familiar, but the vast expanse of water keeps it from ever feeling too small.  I love going to church in Holland, being downtown, drinking coffee and going to the beach.  I believe it is the perfect place to do college and I’m so grateful for the life I have here.

The Traditions of Hope College

Beginning first with its establishment of the Holland colony’s Pioneer School in 1851 and then later gaining its official charter in 1866, Hope College holds ages of timeless tradition. This is manifested in a variety of ways throughout the College. From the College’s historic architecture to its pursuit of its Christian identity and the liberal arts, Hope College is steeped in tradition. 

This tradition is not limited to the library archives as students themselves are invited to directly partake in the College’s distinctive tradition. For instance, students across campus enjoy entering into numerous festivities, unique to the College. Two of these festivities include the iconic traditions of Hope College known as The Pull and Nykerk

The Pull 

Starting more than 120 years ago, The Pull is one of the oldest college traditions in the nation. Occurring every fall, the three hour long event attracts students, staff, alumni, families, community members, and more. Gathered together, spectators watch as two opposing teams pull a 600 ft long rope. While this may sound simply like a friendly, typical game of tug-of-war, it is anything but ordinary. Competitors of up to 18 members per team are divided into two sides by a large sheet, either wearing an even year graduation number or an odd year graduation number. This separates the two teams by “Odd Years” and “Even Years.” As such, the freshman team is coached by juniors while the sophomore year team is coached by seniors. Each competitor, known as a ‘puller,’ lays in a horizontal position within an earthen dug-out box as an accompanying team member, called a ‘moraler,’ cheers loudly in the ear of the respective teammate. Not only are the graduation numbers imprinted on the individuals’ shirt from each team, but the back of the shirt also includes a corresponding name for that pit. These names provide motivation and representation for the respective individuals of that pit and throughout their entire 3-week training. By the end of the three hours, the pulling has ceased and measurements on each side are recorded. As the results are announced, the teammates gather in either celebration or in sorrow. Regardless of the motion experienced, both sides reflect deep fellowship. 


While similar to The Pull in that the competition is divided by the odd and even graduation years of freshmen students versus sophomore students, Nykerk leans into the arts rather than sports. Beginning more than 80 years ago, the event is broken up into three sections: song, play, and oration. While only females participate in each of these activities, males can participate as ‘morale boys’ helping to support the women through stage managing, gift giving, and more. Each of the sections of the overall performance are intended to be highly passionate, energetic, exaggerated, dramatic, and humorous. It was established in 1935 by Dr. John Nykerk, who founded the College’s music department. Dr. Nykerk sought to uplift female representation and expression on campus through this competition. Interestingly, the event has never had to have been canceled during its more than 80 year history. After the deliberation of nine judges, the winning class is awarded with the Nykerk Cup.  

Tradition is central to Hope College. It builds a culture that honors the College’s ancestry while fostering the contributions of those in the present and building foundations for future ones to come. For me, this grounding in tradition enables the growth of virtue. It develops communion with others, care through stewardship, and the pursuit toward excellence. Though The Pull and Nykerk initially may seem simply like forms of entertainment on campus, I believe traditions like these help drive the very vision of Hope College in remaining rooted in the liberal arts and the historic Christian faith. 

Living the Residential Life

Living away from home can be terrifying. But, living in a building with a bunch of strangers can be worse. That’s what I thought. When I moved into Dykstra Hall back in the Fall of 2020 I was scared. I was going in blind and I was going to be with a cluster of girls I didn’t know. Being an introverted person all I wanted to do was move back home.

Actual Experience

It was not that bad. I enjoyed it, actually. If only COVID hadn’t been a thing and kept everyone in the cluster separated by masks. I met new people, and am still best friends with my Freshman year roommate.

Sitting in the doorway of my room I would listen to conversations being had around the room. Some of my cluster mates were rushing. Others had lots of homework. Some of them were in a few of my classes.

Getting Past the Awkward

When you don’t know people but are forced to walk past them to take a shower, it’s awkward. When they can hear you talking through your room door, it’s awkward. How do you get past that?

I took deep breaths and walked quickly. Sounds cowardly I know. But that’s what helped me. I could pretend they weren’t there if I focused on the end goal. Eventually, I got to know the girls more. Sometimes we would chat while walking to the bathroom door. Or chat while brushing our teeth.

Even when I moved into Gilmore my Sophomore year this awkwardness crept back. But, same as before, I got past it and made friends. Or, I would focus on the fact that one of my friends might be in the bathroom and I can make small talk with them instead of a stranger.

You’re Not Alone

I know, cheesy. Everyone tells you this. But they aren’t wrong. You are not alone in your concerns and fears. I promise you that there are other people moving into residential living spaces who feel the same. They are also worried and nervous, unless they came in knowing everyone (which is unlikely).

No one wants to walk that long hallway to the bathroom in a towel or a robe. But no one has the place to judge someone who is. There is always someone else thinking the same thoughts you are. Someone who knows no one. So never think it’s just you who feels overwhelmed, because you aren’t alone.

But if you are really worried, try and meet someone outside of your residential hall or floor. Make friends on other floors or other buildings. One of my closest friends I met in a Bible Study Freshman year because I didn’t want to see the same people everyday. I loved my cluster but I wasn’t making new friends in my online classes.

This friend was the reason I chose to live in Gilmore my Sophomore year. Through them I had met a bunch of other people and we now have a little friend group. They all lived in Gilmore Freshman year, but me and my Freshman year roomie moved to Gilmore Sophomore year to join them all.

Having friends in my residential hall was such a relief. There were always people I could talk to in the hall. I could walk with them to buildings, even if we weren’t in the same classes. It also relieved some anxiety. Now, there weren’t as many strangers on the building floor I had to worry about making small talk with. I felt more confident knowing people. But I never would have gained that confidence if I hadn’t put myself out there and made friends.


Yes. The Residential Life Experience is a very valuable one. While some may argue that living away from home and surviving without your parents is hard: I won’t disagree. I’m not going to say I didn’t gain experiences from it. I made life-long friends and was able to grow within a community of people going through similar events. We were able to grow together.

Faith Life at Hope: My Experience on an Immersion Trip

Hope’s Campus Ministries team organizes corporate worship (chapel and the Gathering), small group Bible studies, campus events, and an annual tradition called Immersion Trips.  On these trips, groups of students travel across the globe to serve God and be immersed in new cultures over spring break. 

Last year, my friend Millie and I signed up for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.  We didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, but hoped that traveling and serving would bring us new friendships.

We had no idea that some of our closest friends today would come from the group of about 20 Hope students we grew to know and love over the trip.

our team in Nashville!

In Nashville, we worked with different nonprofits every day, primarily serving people experiencing homelessness.  As we cleaned soup kitchen shelves or picked up trash in public parks, we learned how to better love our neighbors.  This experience taught me that my neighbor isn’t just my sibling or roommate.  It was all 20 of us on the trip, even when we were crabby and had been in the car for hours.  It was the long-term mission workers we interacted with at different sites.  And, of course, it was each person we encountered who was experiencing homelessness. Even when we weren’t sure what to say or how to act, we learned to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Coming home, I carried these lessons and experiences with me.  I came back different.

at one of the serving sites, The Branch (a food pantry)

Our team stayed in an old church called Mckendree for the week.  All the girls slept in one big room, and the boys in another.  We lined up our mattresses and treated it like a week-long sleepover.  Every night when we got back from serving, we would have a time of worship.  It was simple– we would circle up on the floor, sitting on the edge of our mattresses in the girls’ room.  Through the week we listened to each other’s testimonies, watched one another serve and grow, and learned to love our neighbor a little better.

the girls’ room!

Since spring break, these bonds have endured.  Over the summer, we drove to meet up, and streamed Lemonade Mouth together on Disney Plus.  We watched fireworks together on the fourth of July, and sent snail mail to one another.

Immersion trips are an amazing opportunity at Hope. They allow students like me to deepen their faith, strengthen their relationships, and learn more about the world around them. My trip to Nashville taught me how to love my neighbor, no matter who that neighbor might be.  It also taught me the joys of living in community with others.  I am so thankful for this opportunity and for the people I was blessed to meet along the way.

members of our team reunited at the last Gathering of spring semester

Student Organizations at Hope!

The August heat swirls in the air as students across all grade levels stroll through the Pine Grove, stuffing their backpacks with all kinds of swag including stickers, candy, and bracelets. Tables line the pathway each with their own respective trifold posters decorated in anything from glitter to flags to bold lettering and everything in between, each reflecting a distinct personality, brand, and mission. Student leaders, wearing shirts with logos matching that of their table swag and promotional posters, standby as they hold out printed QR codes while exclaiming, “Sign-up today!”  

The annual Student Involvement Fair electrifies an energy throughout campus that reverberates into each student organization during the year. As a freshman, this experience greatly exhilarated me, and it still continues to do so each year. Coming in as a new student, I felt as if I were trick-or-treating on Halloween, yet there were only treats and no tricks! I was mesmerized by the breadth of student organizations available. From Garden Club to Student Activities Committee to Habitat for Humanity and anything else you can imagine, I wanted to be involved in it all! I signed up for practically every club whose table I had visited. After trekking back to my res hall with an acquired drawstring bag from the fair, full of pamphlets and goodies, I had not realized the enormity of organizations I had signed up for until I opened my email inbox, finding numerous Google Form confirmation emails, verifying my membership. 

While I have cut back on the amount of organizations I am participating in since my freshman year, I continue to feel energized and amazed at the wide-array of the College’s student organizations. The College currently has over 70 student organizations. Here is just a sample of a few: Chess Club, Hope Taekwondo, Hope College Formula Racing, Multicultural Student Organizations, Lego Club, Pre-Health Professionals Club, Sailing Club, WTHS Radio, and so much more! There is truly a club for any student. A student can even start their own club, too! 

So far in my three years at Hope, I have been a part of a variety of student organizations. During my freshman year, I participated in the decorations committee of Dance Marathon, which is an organization that raises money for a local children’s hospital through a variety of fundraisers throughout the year that culminates in a 24-hour dance-a-thon event. As part of the decorations committee, I helped to transform the gymnasium for the event into an inviting space for the Miracle Children, streaming the area with astronauts, planets, and stars to reflect the outer space theme of that year’s marathon. In attending the 24-hour dance marathon, I witnessed the radiant joy of the children despite their unimaginable hardships. Additionally, last year, I served as the student lead of Hope College’s Economics and Business club. In this role, I helped create events aimed most especially at facilitating engagement with first and second year students. Events included local and national company visits to cities such as Holland, Detroit, and Atlanta, along with fellowship opportunities to build greater community within the department’s student body. Since last semester and continuing this year, I am the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the College’s student newspaper – The Anchor. As an organization, we produce weekly electronic stories along with two print editions each semester. The Anchor seeks to foster campus-wide awareness of student and faculty stories as well as societal news.

Each of these experiences have shaped my college experience and my formation. To me, Hope College student organizations are foundational to the College. Each organization cultivates the community, culture, and camaraderie of Hope College, of which I am grateful to join in.

My Summer Research Experience

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed myself up for summer research at Hope. I thought it would just be something to put on my resume, but it ended up being so much more. By the time research ended, I found myself with new friends, an app on the app store, and a vision of what my future could look like. 

Going back to Holland

After one week at home after exams, I was back in Holland. Although Holland wasn’t new to me, my life looked vastly different compared to the school year. Instead of the familiarity of the on campus dorms, I was in a cottage on 14th Street, which I certainly wasn’t complaining about, especially since it was air conditioned. I also had a car, which allowed me to go to places in Holland that I wasn’t able to before. These changes made it feel like I was in a new world, and in this unfamiliar environment, I found myself growing anxious. What would research be like? Could I handle such a different schedule from the school year?


Although I was nervous going into research, that feeling quickly went away. I discovered that I got along well with everyone else in the computer lab. In addition to this, learning a new programming language wasn’t nearly as difficult as I anticipated. We were given a week to get familiar with it before we were expected to start working on our project, so I felt prepared when it came time to put what we learned into practice.

Once we got into the swing of things, time flew by. My partner and I got in contact with Kids Hope USA, the organization we were working for, to get an idea of what they needed. While we were coding, we did both front end and back end development for the app. This included designing the app layout, making connections to Kids Hope USA’s WordPress website, enabling users to send messages and reports to the organization, creating app-specific features, and more. We worked in two week periods, and at the end of each we released what we had developed.

Although we accomplished a lot over nine weeks, it wasn’t all work. We enjoyed lunch from the computer science department once a week, which gave us a chance to talk to each other and the professors that led our projects. Also, when we found ourselves in need of a brain break, we played one or two (or more) rounds of hangman. This routine continued throughout the summer, until we found ourselves at the end.

Before I knew it, summer research was over. As one last hurrah, the computer science lab went to eat breakfast at the Windmill in our pajamas. After getting our stuff out of the lab, I began my drive home. Although I would miss the life I had while doing research, I was excited to see what the future had in store for me. This experience affirmed that app development is something I would like to go into as a career, and I was (and still am) looking forward to when my next app development experience will be.

Want to apply?

If you want to apply for summer research, I highly recommend it! If you’re interested, her are a few things I did that made the process a lot easier. First, I went to the Klooster center. Despite what you may think, the Klooster center isn’t just for classes. I took my application essay there and the mentor I was paired with helped me make it the best it could be. Besides going to the Klooster center, I also set up a meeting with the professor whose project I was most interested in. The idea of doing so didn’t even cross my mind until a friend with more research experience encouraged me to do so. I was nervous, but meeting with the professor helped me get a better idea of what the summer would look like. So if you want to apply, go for it! It’s worth it!