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.

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Once in Your Shoes: Reflections from the Carpenters 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.

Chris Carpenter ’90 and Panechanh Choummanivong ’93 Carpenter

Christopher and Panechanh Carpenter, from St. Louis, Missouri, reflect upon their family’s Hope admissions process. The Carpenters’ son, Cameron, is a member of Hope’s Class of 2022.

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

Did Cameron get into Hope College? Did we choose wisely with our selection of colleges to explore based on Cameron’s academic and career interests? Did Cameron spend enough time exploring Hope College, Holland and West Michigan? If Cameron selects Hope College, how will he cope with being eight hours away from home for the first time in his life without his parents and sister?  

As Hope alums, we had frequently shared memories of Hope College since Cameron was a small child. He had spent time touring the campus and listening to our stories many times as a teenager. While waiting for decision letters to arrive, we reminisced about our own college years, uncertainties, experiences, and lifelong friendships. We also reviewed the rationale for ranking Hope College Cameron’s #1 choice.

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

Cameron had toured schools in Indiana and Missouri (our home state for the last 15+ years), some of which were larger and some that were more expensive. Cameron wanted to compete in college athletics as had his father. He was also comfortable in West Michigan with all of his grandparents and cousins within a 30-minute drive.  

However, the most important qualities that distinguished Hope from other colleges and universities were the engagement of the professors and coaches and the camaraderie Cameron noted during the Fly-In Weekend. The student body made him feel comfortable, while the professors he met generated excitement at the academic opportunities ahead.

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

We were comfortable allowing Cameron to explore his spiritual growth in the open-minded atmosphere of Hope College.

Cameron and sister Kayla led a walk around campus.

How many times had you visited campus before the final decision to attend Hope was made?  

Cameron had been on Hope’s campus several times during summer vacations on Lake Michigan growing up. Since Holland is an eight-hour drive from St. Louis, he didn’t have the opportunity to visit Hope during the high school year because he was committed to cross country, basketball, and track. However, he did fly to West Michigan for the Fly-In Weekend in the fall of his senior year. The opportunity to live in the dorm for a couple of days, attend classes, and encounter actual students who were studious, sufficiently challenged by their academic workload and content seemed to seal the deal for Cameron. After that weekend, he never spoke of any other colleges and has never looked back.

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

The size of the student body, dorms and classrooms significantly contributed to Cameron’s level of comfort with Hope College. He went to a large urban high school but seemed to know almost everyone in his graduating class. His state champion high school cross country team remains extremely close knit, and he wanted to repeat that team experience with his college career. Hope’s Cross Country program was fantastic at explaining the world of Division III sports for the scholar-athlete, especially Coach Northuis.

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

Chris: Every semester of my four years at Hope College in the 1980s, my parents reminded me of how expensive the school was relative to state schools and how I probably wouldn’t be able to return the following semester. I had one or more jobs every semester at Hope College and was only able to afford the meal plan my freshman year. We have worked very hard for the last 30 years to ensure that our children would never feel those stressors or uncertainty about their college education — and fortunately, they have not.

Panechanh: I also worked one or more jobs throughout my four years at Hope College. Since elementary school, our children have been taught that their most important job is to be stewards of their education by participating in class, completing homework, and preparing for every exam (including ACT/SAT) to the best of their ability. They have had jobs to learn the value of earning money, but never as a necessity for affording their education. We appreciate Hope’s attention to the cost of a college education.

Any other thoughts or stories you would like to share?  

[Admissions representative] Nate Haveman played an indispensable role in maintaining Cameron’s interest in Hope College. From visiting our home to having dinner with Cameron to sending intermittent notes telling Cameron about “The Pull” or other Hope events and checking in by email to see how senior year was progressing, no other college matched this level of engagement or sincerity. Whereas other colleges made Cameron feel as if they were capable of providing a four-year college education, Nate’s approach combined with Hope’s professors and Coach Northuis made Cameron feel as if he was coming home.

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How To: Church Hopping in Holland

I’m not sure if “church hopping” is common language or Hope College lingo for “I’m trying to find a church that I really enjoy in the area.” This is the only place I’ve ever heard it, so I’m going to go with the latter.

The name is a little misleading, because to me it sounds like you go to a bunch of churches all in one day, but in fact you decide on various churches to visit each Sunday until you find a good fit. Regardless of the cheesy name, church hopping is cool.

First things first, you do a little research. What churches are in the area? What churches do your beliefs most identify with?

My friend Rachel and I took an online quiz to discover where in the world of churches our views fell. It turned out that we had some pretty similar results, so we looked up churches under those denominations.

The next thing is pretty simple. You go to one of the churches. Notice the people around you, how comfortable you feel and whether or not you feel community and a sense of faith here. You might get a good feeling, or a kind of bad one.

If it’s bad, don’t worry; there will be other churches to visit. If it’s good, don’t just jump right in; give some other churches a chance to be hopped to.

Rachel and I visited three or four churches before deciding on the one we liked the best, all were different denominations and not all were the one we were raised in.

Once you feel comfortable with the amount of churches you’ve experienced and feel like you have enough knowledge to make a decision, find a church and call it home.

My friend Rachel and I really enjoy the First United Methodist Church in Holland. We’ve decided to plant our roots there for a majority of our Sundays left at Hope.

The cool thing about Holland is that there are so many places of faith to check out. It can be almost overwhelming. I highly encourage anyone who wants to take the next step in their faith to church hop around. Finding community at Hope can be easy, especially with a chapel filled with 1,000 students. However, finding that faith community outside of Hope is not as easy.

It’s nice to know where to start.

Thanks for reading,

Pre-Dance Marathon Froyo #FTK

Dance Marathon is coming up this Friday. Last year, I participated as dancer for the full 24 hours. This year, I will be a “moraler” for an eight hour shift on Friday night.

Orange Leaf, a frozen yogurt shop downtown Holland, has been running a competition this year to see who can earn the most money in receipts for Dance Marathon. Part of the purchase goes to the fundraiser and the winner gets $500 donated to their team page at the end.

Some friends and I from last year's Dance Marathon!
Some friends and I from last year’s Dance Marathon!

The store set up a bracket with teams facing each other a few weeks ago. Now, the week of Dance Marathon, there are only two teams left for the final round. One of those teams is my sorority.

While we really want to win, we know that at the heart of this competition is the kids. No matter what sorority comes out on the winning side, we know that it all goes to the same place, to benefit the lives of the children suffering from diseases they cannot control.

If you’re in town this weekend, go check out Orange Leaf to help raise money. I’m not going to tell you to put your receipt in my sororities bucket, but at least put it somewhere so that the funding counts.

I really admire what the Holland community has been doing to support Dance Marathon. This week is also called Blitz Week, where various Holland chain restaurants donate a portion of  your sale to Dance Marathon.

It’s so cool to see the community coming together for such a good cause.

Thanks for reading,

Finding My Home Church

Having a church to go to every Sunday is a little bit like having a home team, I think. A church can be a community of love, support and faith outside of the college context.

Up until recently, I’ve only attended Hope’s Chapel and Gathering services. One of my best friends, Rachel, and I decided that we want to find a traditional church in the Holland area to attend.

There are a lot to choose from. In Downtown Holland there’s Pillar Church (Christian Reformed) and the First United Methodist Church. There are others, such as Third Reformed Church, St. Frances de Sales Church, and Engedi Church. If you know anything about Holland, you know the list doesn’t end there. Those are just a few that students attend on a weekly basis.

Dimnent Chapel around Christmastime
Dimnent Chapel around Christmastime

This past Sunday, Rachel and I went to Pillar Church. We figured it would be our first shot since it’s a close walk downtown.

The service was nice, but I’m not sure it’s what I’m looking for in my home church. At home, I’m a member of the First United Methodist Church. It’s a whole lot bigger than the tiny Pillar. Maybe I’m looking for something more like that, but I’m not sure.

I guess I’m just looking for what feels right. I don’t think I’ll have any problem knowing when I’ve found the right place to call home for worship every Sunday.

Building a community in faith is extremely important. It’s easy to have that community at Hope considering how central it is to our every day lives. However, once college is over, that support system won’t be as much in tact. It’s necessary from that point to go out and make your own community of the church.

I want to be able to create that community once I leave Hope, and an important step is finding my faith outside the college.

You can email me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, find me on Facebook, or check out my twitter @hopebrooke18!

The Pull.

This past Saturday, September 27, was The Pull. If you are a current or former Hope College student you exactly know what I mean. But for those of you who do not know about The Pull tradition, here is what is it from the international student perspective.

The Pull is an unbelievable tradition that started in 1898. This 115 years old tradition is made up of two teams. The ODD year team and the EVEN year team. For this year, the ODD year team are the freshmen and juniors because their year of graduation is odd (2019 and 2017). The EVEN team it is the sophomores and seniors (2018 and 2016). This is the difference between two teams, but the structure of the teams is the same. The younger students (freshmen and sophomores) are the pullers, and the upperclassmen are the coaches. Both teams train Monday through Friday for a tiring three hours and on Saturday the practice is for eight, yes eight, hours. The training process is about 3-4 weeks long. Anyway, now that you know what The Pull is, you will understand more what I am talking about.

I came there with a no idea of what should I expect from it, but I left The Pull with a great impression about the students at Hope College and its spirit. The pull itself was breathtaking. I have not seen a people in general who would went through so much pain and struggle by their own choice. For those who have not seen it, The Pull is not life dangerous event. It just the students push themselves to their absolute limit, so they are very exhausted and in a lot of pain. Just wanted make sure that you do not think that the Pull is something that is life dangerous to the student body! It is not.

The Even Year Pull team

The Pull illustrates a great image about the Hope College´s spirit. The spirit of pushing your classmate, friend or teammate shows that students are not selfish and students want Hope College to succeed. Also, it shows the willingness of Hope College be part of the school, traditions and campus life overall. I mean, I can not just from top of my head name people who would voluntarily would be pulling for three hours in a pain and dirt.

Spectators look on

This year´s Pull, the winners were the EVEN team, so class of 2018 and 2016. Personally, I am extremely competitive and I hate losing, so I truly dislike to use the sentence; “Everyone is a winner”, but after what I saw this past Saturday, I gotta say: everyone who participated in the Pull is a winner.

Reasons Why You Should Go To Admitted Students Day

April 18th is approaching, and there are questions out there about Admitted Student Day, so I thought I would answer them for everyone! If you can’t make it, just remember that it’s completely OK! You won’t lose priority in choosing your roommates and it won’t put you “behind” by any means. What this day is intended for is to give you a taste of what happens at Hope, and it also provides you opportunities to take care of some business!

If you can’t decide whether or not you should come, let this blog post convince you to come. Here are reasons as to why you should come:

1. If you’re committed to coming to Hope, it’s a wonderful excuse to come and explore campus again (or for the first time!) It’s pretty during all seasons, so you might as well get a little taste of what Hope is like in the spring! Exploring Holland can also be advantageous. i mean, you will be living here shortly, so why not explore the town?

2. So many students will be here! It is a wonderful opportunity to meet those who you’ve been in contact with on Hope on Facebook, or just to meet fellow Dutchmen! Maybe you can get your roommate situation settled, or just meet other with your same interests. In addition to other students, important faculty will also be here. President Knapp will be there, and other key Hope faculty that will definitely be an integral part of your Hope College experience!

3. Other than students and faculty, organizations and clubs will also be present during Admitted Student Day! You can meet with clubs you may be potentially interested in joining. And those weirdos whose blogs you have been reading all year will be there, too (myself included!). It’s a great time to ask any questions you have about Hope, transitioning from post-high school life to college, and just any other general questions. (By the way, us student bloggers are AMPED to meet you)!

4. Admitted Student Day is another chance to convene with other with your similar interests, including fields of study. I definitely think this is something to take advantage of. Experts from various disciplines will be present to answer any questions you have, and they also want to meet you!

Here's a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you're here!
Here’s a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you’re here!

Hopefully, this is enough to convince you! Admitted Student Day is truly a blast. You will be able to get all of questions answered, hopefully making you less nervous! Us student bloggers as well as the entire Hope community are very excited to see you and meet some of you! If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! If you haven’t already, make sure to follow me on both Twitter and Instagram!

P.S., I dare you to take picture with anything Hope and post it on the Hope on Facebook page!

Winter Break Adventures: Hanging Around Hope

This past weekend was Winter Break at Hope College, and it was the best weekend ever.

My friend Ashley and I remained on campus for the break so we made a list of all that we wanted to accomplish over the four day period. Here are the highlights of our adventures.

Friday afternoon the campus population decreased as we pulled out the baking supplies and made cupcakes.

Later that night our friend Ellie came over to Van Vleck and we had Lilo & Stitch Movie Night. We watched Lilo & Stitch, Stitch Has a Glitch, and we decorated cupcakes!
Disney + cupcake decorating + friends = a Fabulous Friday Night.

On Saturday we moved our adventuring off campus to Grand Haven, Ashley’s hometown. I got my dog fix for the weekend when I got to meet Kalvin, her adorable dog who liked me even though he apparently is never a fan of strangers. (maybe I’m part dog whisperer.)

After lunch we walked the boardwalk out to the beach. Ashley enlightened me on the awesome beauty that is frozen Lake Michigan. We walked on the frozen waves and made our way down the ice covered pier as I took way too many pictures because everything just looked way too cool not to photograph. If you have never seen frozen Lake Michigan I highly recommend making it happen some day because I am still amazed by the forces of nature that created such a landscape.

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On Sunday we built a snow goat. His name is Gilbert. He lives outside of Van Vleck.

Gilbert, the snow goat of Van Vleck
Gilbert, the snow goat of Van Vleck

Sunday night we again visited with Ellie, this time at her house, to play Mario Kart, watch even more Lilo & Stitch and then we made a puzzle.

Our pro puzzle skills created this work of art. Looks just like NYC, right?
Our pro puzzle skills created this work of art. Looks just like NYC, right?

Monday night we discovered the real reason most college dorms have bunk beds: Blanket Forts. We built our fort then watched Frozen and my favorite movie, Miracle, from within its cozy shelter.

Our magnificent blanket fort
Our magnificent blanket fort

Also, the ceilings in Van Vleck are perfect for finding animal shapes in if you ever happen to be lying on the floor of a room and need something to do. Here are a few of our favorite animal finds in Ashley’s room.

Snapchat outlines of all the ceiling animals we spotted in Ashley's room.
Snapchat outlines of all the ceiling animals we spotted in Ashley’s room.

Tuesday, our final day of Winter Break, brought blue skies and sunshine so what would be better to do than pull out the hammock and head out to the Pine Grove? We had our first experience of putting up a hammock and it didn’t crash to the ground so the experience was a success.

We followed up hammocking with a Downtown Holland date. First stop: JP’s
We bought tea, were asked if we wanted the big cups, and agreed cause why not, right?
I’ve never been given that large of a styrofoam cup before.

JP's and Ashley and I with our giant cupsof tea.
JP’s and Ashley and I with our giant cups of tea.

20 oz. of tea later we headed outside and ambled down 8th Street stopping in a shop here and there to explore. Holland has really cute shops, but our only disappointment was that none of them sold Slinkys.

Not even Sandcastle, the cute toy shop on 8th street, had sliknys. Nevertheless, we had fun looking around it anyways.
Not even Sandcastle, the cute toy shop on 8th street, had sliknys. Nevertheless, we had fun looking around it anyways.

Tuesday night came and the campus population began to rise once again and we said so long to choice seating in Phelps and days spent adventuring without a care towards homework. Our Winter Break Adventures were a success.

I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

You can follow me on Twitter (@HopeErin18) and Instagram (@e_delaney333) for more little updates on life at Hope through my experience.

Coffeewatch 2K15

This week, Marvin and I have united our powers to find the best coffee in town, just for you. As you might have seen some similar videos on the web, because this “challenge” was held in Holland, Michigan we can assure you that you will not see anything like this. All the caffeine addicts out there; we got you. As someone who is very particular with their coffee (extra hot, skim milk, double shot latte) I can assure you that the results were not biased and were definitely on point.

Enough said about the video; check it out to see who won two upperclassmen’s hearts who basically have more coffee than blood in their veins…

So if you liked that video (we’re sure you found that entertaining at least), you should check out the coffeeshop’s website. Our favorite (personal opinions) Lemonjello’s has so many great options. From teas, to pastries, what else could you want? And to mention that they were recently mentioned in a Buzzed article titled, “24 U.S. Coffee Shops To Visit Before You Die.” If it’s Buzzed mentioned, it’s definitely worth the visit!

The next coffeeshop to visit is JP’s Coffee. There is just so much recognition in Holland’s coffeeshops. They were mentioned as one of America’s top 10 coffeeshops according to the USA Today. So in other words, come to Hope. Not only do we have spectacular academics and community, but we have great coffee affirmed by the great nation of America.

Up next is Alpenrose Restaurant. What a great place. It’s Holland’s personal European style delicatessen and café. Definitely worth the visit with great coffee, pastries, and FOOD! Lastly, we have Hope College’s own coffee from Simpatico Coffee. Simpatico has coffee joints in both Holland and Grand Rapids. They offer a true café-esque atmosphere. Another place to visit!

Make sure you share our video and share this post with you friends. They’ll probably want to come to Hope College afterwards! Thanks for reading and the support!

Housing & Meet and Greet VLOG!

Hey friends! We know it’s been a while since we posted a vlog, but today is your lucky day! Leslie and I made a very special one, one that focuses on an example of Hope housing (Cook Village), as well as some information about us as your student bloggers! This is a video you DON’T want to miss out reading on!!

If you want us to talk about any other topics regarding all things Hope College, make sure to follow us on twitter at @HopeMarvin15 and @HopeLeslie15 and tweet at us! If you would rather, shoot us an email and MarvAndLeslie@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you! Make sure you share the video with your friends! Thanks for all the continued support!