We’ve all heard of the phrase, “one size fits all.” Especially for you high school seniors, let’s take that phrase to the next level, “one college fits all.” I was there with you, I wanted to go to a college where it had everything for me: perfect class size, outstanding academics, vibrant social atmosphere, opportunities to grow, intentional relationships, and so much more. After visiting many many colleges, from big public universities to small liberal arts colleges, I landed on Hope College.
I’ve had family members come to Hope, so that is the true reason why I applied. I always had the thought in my head that Hope was the last place I’d go because I wanted to do something different with my life, I didn’t want to follow any certain “footsteps.” Look at me know, I am a senior and loving life at the school that was my last choice. Do I regret anything? Absolutely NOT.
In working for admissions, it is not my goal to advertise Hope College to you, but to rather share my experiences with you to show you how I live my life and how I grew as a person here at Hope College. Any other school, including Hope will answer all of your questions and tell you what you want to hear, but let’s be real, “college shopping” is beyond that. You have to look at both sides of the story, not just the pretty side.
Let’s dive in to see how I’ve grown as an individual here at Hope for the past 4 years. Yikes, that seems like a long time ago!
- Faith. I was always a believer. I knew God was always there. My only problem was being intentional and growing in my faith. What is faith if it’s not challenged, right? The great thing about Hope was that no certain religion was constantly being shoved down your throat. To be honest, that was one of my biggest fears coming to any Christian school. If religion was shoved down my throat, I would simply walk away. But the very fact that practicing your faith by choice was just splendid. It showed me that it should be up to me, not the church to pursue my faith. To see that other students also did it by choice made me want to pursue my own. No pressure at all. I am forever thankful for this because now, all of my academics and relationships are faith based. I would have NEVER gotten that a big school.
- Academics. Challenges are great, everyone wants a good challenge. Hope provided me with challenges, especially in the academics. I’m not going to lie to you, or sugar coat anything. School is hard, and Hope’s caliber regarding academia has a high standard. But knowing this, there is so much support available for students if they are struggling with any class. I definitely took this as an advantage. Freshman and sophomore years, I had tutors in various classes to help me succeed. They worked around my schedule and tailored the tutoring session to me and my learning styles. Without my tutors, I would not be where I am today. Do yourself a favor, if you end up at Hope, don’t be ashamed to get academic support. Hope wants to see you succeed, so take that as an advantage!
- Social. The last facet of my “big 3” (faith, academics, and social) aspects on life was dramatically changed. I was that kid in high school that said, “when we go to college, let’s keep in touch!” Yeah, that rarely happened. What I found was that I only kept in communication with a few friends. That really showed me that people change, and my relationships were not deeply rooted. My relationships at Hope College on the other hand are OUT OF THIS WORLD. When people say your college friends are your lifelong friends, believe it. All of my relationships here at Hope are ones I cherish. They are all centered on faith, and my connections are just so deep that it would take so much to break those apart. All of my best friends (with an exception for a few from home!) were synthesized at Hope College. And for that, I am forever grateful.
If that’s not telling you enough, I don’t know what else is. Colleges are supposed to change your life. Hope didn’t change my life though, it transformed it. Because of this institution, I would not be the person I am today.