Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, MI, USA

Reviews

Hillsdale College

4.39 Average Rating

Andrew from Madison, IN

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The opportunity to learn here is incredible! The diverse offerings in the curriculum makes it somewhat difficult to choose my electives. Good thing I have four years here to take as many courses as possible.
Am enjoying being here
This has proven to be a close-knit school. People from all backgrounds have enhanced my time at Hillsdale.
Bang for the buck
Most definitely the best education for the cost! Hillsdale College is least expensive college I looked at. The amount of personal time with professors is incredible, and the student to faculty ratio ensures that I get the most out of my time here.
Tips for prospective students
Spend a night here, go to classes that interest you and you will discover that although a smaller college, Hillsdale College is giant in education and a catalyst for personal growth.
Great for these types of students
Anyone who truly looks at education as an opportunity to grow both academically and personally. This school is for those who strive to educate not only themselves, but to go on to educate those around them by their words and actions.
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Alex from Wolverine Lake, MI

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale is a great place to get a classic liberal arts education. Students learn to think for themselves, become critical thinkers, and appreciate the free market system. The small student body - 1400 students - lends itself to one-on-one attention from an internationally recognized faculty.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus, meet the faculty, attend a game, stay overnight. You'll get a feel for the safe, close-knit friendly environment.
Academic Rigor
Hillsdale doesn't dole out A's. You really have to work to be successful here. But you will really know your subjects, and you'll learn them with a unique perspective.
Dorm Life
Friendly atmosphere, lively without being obnoxious. People have a good time without trashing their rooms. And no one ever locks their doors. It's that safe!
Food and Dining
The food here is pretty good. Lots of fresh food and a lot of variety. The common dining hall is brand new and beautiful with a great view of the outdoors.
What to do for fun
Hillsdale isn't some big metropolis, so sometimes you have drive a ways to find traditional night life. But there's always something to do on campus - theatre, music, sports, arts, lectures.
Bang for the buck
Since Hillsdale accepts no federal funds, the tuition and donations/fund-raising efforts pay for everything. Considering that, you get a great deal. Hillsdale is recognized around the world, and has a huge list of donors, many of the celebrities.
Great for these types of students
Hillsdale attracts lots of private school and home school students from around the United States. It attracts a really diverse group of students. Has an impressive student body - really attracts the cream of the crop, top performing high school students who are up for a challenge and who believe in preserving the freedoms that make the United States great.
Clubs and Activities
Lots! I'm a member of the baseball team, and it's a well-respected one. GINA track event brings in the best of the track teams from across the country.
Greek Life
Again, lots!
Campus Safety
No one locks doors here! Not your car, not your dorm, not your bike. From day 1, I learned that this is a very safe campus. This one is a no brainer.
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Joshua from Dorr, MI

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale College is academically rigorous, with a strong reliance on Core classes. It will challenge all of its students to be their best, not only in class, but in other aspects of life. However, it is a school that you will either love, or hate, depending on your beliefs.
Tips for prospective students
Get as many credits as you can in high school that cover core classes, or you will be taking quite difficult classes that are outside of your majors.
Academic Rigor
It earned the title of the toughest college in the country, and as a student, I can assure you: it lives up to it. But what you learn will stick with you, and it greatly prepares you for anything you may want to go into.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is great, and there is a strong devotion to the dorm you are placed in. A healthy rivalry-between the two mens' dorms-has existed for decades, and even after graduation, alumni will remember and visit their old dorms.
Food and Dining
Saga, the food company on campus, has a monopoly on the food service, and this greatly brings down quality of food. There are occasional quality choices, but they are few and far between.
What to do for fun
This is one of the problems if having a college in a small town. There are a few coffee shops, a bowling alley, and a theater within 3 miles of campus, but other than that, it can be hard to find off-campus fun. But who needs time for fun when you're spending all your time studying?
Bang for the buck
Great teachers who are willing to help you in your work, incredible connections after you graduate, and more.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The Heritage Room, in the library, houses incredible antique books and coins and other various artifacts. Also, a version of football called Thatcherball has been invented, which only men are allowed to play.
Great for these types of students
Politically-minded, logic-minded students will find good company here. It is a rare day that deep, intellectual conversation on any number of topics, from politics to religion to ethics, can't be heard emanating from a lunch table or a lounge couch.
Clubs and Activities
A wide variety of clubs are found on campus. Science clubs, political clubs, religious clubs, etc... Most of these are quite active on campus, and growing larger and more diverse every year.
Greek Life
Many people are involved in the Greek system. Three sororities and three fraternities are found at Hillsdale, all of which are active on campus with fundraisers, charity, volunteering, and student life in general.
Campus Safety
Imagine a place where you can leave your laptop in the middle of the student union, for three days, and not have any worry of coming back to have it wandered off any farther than the lost and found. That's Hillsdale.
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Margaret from WA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale is a community of faculty and students pursuing learning together. The professors love to teach and the students love to learn. Because the classes and the campus as a whole are small, students have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with faculty and students with diverse subject concentrations.
Tips for prospective students
Passionately pursue learning and character development. You won't get into Hillsdale just because you are a talented person but because you have potential to grow and excel.
Academic Rigor
Students at Hillsdale spend a lot of time studying, but there are numerous resources available to those who want to learn and succeed. Professors and classmates provide both accountability and support for class attendance and work completion.
Dorm Life
The community in the dorms is typical of the Hillsdale community: students living together become strong, life-long friends.
Food and Dining
The campus cafeteria is great as far as school cafeterias go. There are also good dining options in the surrounding towns.
What to do for fun
Hillsdale is a small town, but there are always more activities at the college than one student could possibly participate in: guest lecturers, movie nights, art shows, professional artist concerts, theater productions, clubs, volunteer opportunities, and much more. Bigger towns are not far away for those who feel lost without shopping malls and movie theaters.
Bang for the buck
Hillsdale may be expensive, but it is relatively affordable given the quality of education you receive. Don't forget to include the side benefits, like free access to the sports complex and all lectures, public seminars, and fine arts events.
Great for these types of students
Students who like to learn and have an inquiring mind will do well here.
Clubs and Activities
There are numerous and diverse clubs which put on a plethora of activities to suit a wide range of interests.
Greek Life
Sororities and fraternities here are not like they are at other schools - Hillsdale's Greek system is known for its tight-knit community, service, and scholarship, not for drunken parties or vicious in-fighting.
Campus Safety
The area is very safe and the college has an excellent security staff.
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Nicholas from Ottawa Lake, MI

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale College is small, academically rigorous, and conservative. The size makes the class discussions and campus life extremely vibrant, as you get to know your fellow students very well in and out of class. The academic level is as high as the faculty can set it, a mindset linked to the conservative, individualistic, spirit that animates the school.
Tips for prospective students
Apply early, it's the best way to ensure that you will get the maximum aid. Don't have high hopes for your first semester GPA, the first classes are a learning experience in navigating college life in general and the academic level in particular. Get to know the professors ASAP, they are really a wonderful bunch of people and it helps when it comes time for them to grade your work!
Academic Rigor
A's can be nearly impossible with certain profs, particularly in the core classes. Helpful in learning humility, and hey provide the pressure to turn your carbon scrawls into diamonds of literature.
Dorm Life
Each dorm has it's unique life, nearly obviating the need for Greek organizations in their closeness. Most students live in campus housing, so you can always find upperclassmen as well as peers to help you out with pretty much anything.
Food and Dining
Students are required to have a meal plan with the cafeteria, probably the biggest drawback to this school. The plans are not particularly cheap, and the food is adequate at best. The cafe, AJ's, is much better. Since everyone eats in the cafeteria pretty regularly, it does build student camaraderie by quite a bit. Be prepared to discuss anything and everything with your table-mates, a group that sometimes even includes the College President himself!
What to do for fun
Hillsdale is a pretty little town, but there is not really much to do there. Hayden Park is great for outdoor activities if the temperature permits, and there is a bowling alley and theater in town. Make some good friends, and enjoy the weekends with them. That's the best way to stay sane here.
Bang for the buck
Not super pricey for a private school, and an incredible value for the level of education they give you. Financial Aid is really generous,keep in contact with them and you'll be set.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Nearly every professor has their own legends surrounding them, from Jackson (Never given an A in his career) to President Arnn (Famously asks unanswerable questions at the most inopportune moments). The dorm raids go way beyond the dorms, culminating in the annual naval battle between Simpson and Galloway on the park pond.
Great for these types of students
You've gotta be smart, and willing to sacrifice a party life for the best education and companions out there.
Clubs and Activities
Tons of speakers and debates, as well as charitable organizations and dances put on by both the College and student clubs.
Greek Life
Several frats and sororities, each with their own reputation. The best part about seeing an incoming class is guessing which one each will end up in!
Campus Safety
Far from feeling any fear of personal harm, the students here don't even worry about theft. Macbooks and iPhones are used to save tables and benches by everyone, and there hasn't been a case of stealing that I've heard of.
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Maria from Glendale, AZ

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Freshman classes at Hillsdale make you think about the human condition on a deeper scale. The Western Heritage and Intro to Western Religion classes particularly cause some rearrangement in the students' manner of thinking about the world. Some of the classes that I have taken make me wish there were more hours in the day for me to study!
Am enjoying being here
Hillsdale College has the best community out of every school that I considered. The students care about one another and look out for each other. Due to the small size and fairly isolated campus, you become very close to the other students, whether you are hanging out at the union, studying in the library, or sharing a meal in the dining room.
Bang for the buck
Hillsdale has an incredible scholarship program, and the financial aid people are great to work with. The experiences on campus are worth every penny that you will pay.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely visit the campus. The community and the overall atmosphere is such that no one can properly describe it to you...you have to feel for yourself if it's the right fit for you. An overnight visit where you can stay in the dorms is best. Talk to the students, sit in on classes, and eat in the dining hall. People will be more than happy to talk to you about their experiences at the school.
Great for these types of students
Hillsdale is definitely a challenging school with a tough grading scale, but it is perfect for those seeking a challenging, yet unbelievably fun environment. The Hillsdale student maintains a certain level of conduct and honor that serves to raise the bar for the entire campus. If you want a school where you can leave your laptop in the library for hours on end and find it just how you left it (with the addition of a few ridiculous notes from your friends), then Hillsdale is the place for you.
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Sharon from TX

a current student here
9 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Certainly. I have learned not just about my chosen fields, but about myself and what I have to contribute to the world--and also how I need to continue to grow in order to make that contribution. The one thing I would change is the way some professors seem to assume all students come in with certain knowledge and so they don't cover it in class, even in introductory classes. For instance, my professor for freshman English was a wonderful lecturer, but he asked us to write college-level literary analysis papers without actually explaining what literary analysis is. Not every high school teaches this, and unless you're taking AP courses or something, certainly doesn't teach it at the college level. Perhaps with the transition into the revised core curriculum over the next few years, this problem will be minimized.
Am enjoying being here
Absolutely! I would only wish for less winter and more sunlight.
Bang for the buck
Overall it's been a great experience and one I wouldn't trade for any other college or degree plan. No college is perfect, and Hillsdale is no exception; but as they say, It's the people. Throughout the ups and downs of academic and emotional life, I have found friends at Hillsdale who will stick by me for life--and that's the best part.
Tips for prospective students
Visit campus if at all possible. I knew I wanted to attend Hillsdale, but setting foot on campus and breathing the atmosphere, so to speak, was what convinced me I could not be happy anywhere else.
Great for these types of students
Bookworms who are willing to be pushed out of their comfort zone. If you love learning and came to college for that purpose, you will find plenty of professors and peers here who will encourage you in it; but don't make learning a burden--for instance, by cloistering yourself away to study ALL the time. Trust me. College is a formative experience for the whole you, not just your mind, and forming friendships with likeminded folks will shape you in ways that books never can. Also, you have no excuse not to learn new, non-bookish skills--swing dancing, knitting, juggling, you name it. There's a club for just about every activity, or you can start one yourself. Some of my friends freshman year did just that. What started as a cadre of Jane Austen fans grew into a full-scale Regency Era club, the Cravats and Bluestockings, which hosts a weekly student-professor tea as well as a Regency Ball each spring.
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Natalie from Plymouth, MA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale is a liberal arts education with a rigorous core curriculum and brilliant, devoted professors and administration. The small campus provides access to personnel who can help students to achieve their goals. Any student seeking a personal, conservative liberal arts education will find a home at Hillsdale.
Tips for prospective students
Make certain you ask current students about their experiences and come visit the campus. It is difficult to know if you belong at a school without seeing it for yourself. Ask your admissions counselor to let you sit in on the classes of the most difficult professors. Ask, ask, ask - the more questions you ask, the more answers you will receive that will enable you to make an informed decision.
Academic Rigor
Be prepared to be challenged. The core will take up the majority of your freshman and sophomore year and you will likely have to work harder than you ever have and receive lower grades. Most students at Hillsdale graduated at the top of their class and the faculty is determined to knock freshman off their pedestals. They expect far more than your high school teachers did. Remember, Hillsdale's motto is Strength rejoices with the challenge.
Dorm Life
In some ways, it depends on where you live, but for the most part, the dorms are average. Spend a year with community bathrooms and you are sure to make lasting friendships. You may become irritated with the posted visiting hours and the strictness of the RA's in Olds Dormitory, but thankfully the Student Union is open until 3 a.m. For guys, the dorm camaraderie is fantastic. Girls certainly stay up screaming and giggling and become best of friends.
Food and Dining
Hate to break it to you, but do not expect fine dining from SAGA (the school's cafeteria). Reality is, the cooks are cooking in bulk, so flavor and originality are lacking. However, AJ's Cafe has some tastier treats and a hefty supply of ice cream. There are a few good restaurants around town and classic fast food such as McDonalds. We are all poor college students anyway, what do we expect?
What to do for fun
Get to know your classmates. Hillsdale is a small town. Other than bowling, roller skating, and a movie theatre you will not find many off-campus activities. However, this encourages close friendships and creativity. Games in the Union, movies at the dorm, and events offered by the campus' Students Activities Board offer entertainment. Students tend to complain about having nothing to do, but let us be honest, most of us would choose study over play regardless.
Bang for the buck
Hillsdale is worth every penny. They are extremely generous with financial aid, so few students end up paying the entire $30,000 a year. Even if you do, that is substantially cheaper than most universities. Hillsdale offers a unique education you cannot get anywhere else. Make the investment in your future.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There are statues of Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Margaret Thatcher dotting the campus' landscape. Poor Margaret has become a target for oranges, pizza boxes, apples, and Christmas hats. For some reason, decorating and throwing things at her has become a campus tradition.
Great for these types of students
Homeschooler, private-schooler, awkward/nerdy/academically obsessed students from any background who loves conservative values. If you have a high moral compass or enjoy Lord of the Rings, you will find yourself at home. If you ever felt out of place anywhere else, come to Hillsdale where you will have a brotherhood of like-minded misfits.
Clubs and Activities
There is a club for everything, and if there isn't one, making your own is fairly simple. Activities are sometimes lacking, but we try.
Greek Life
Greeks make up 40% of the campus.
Campus Safety
Very safe. It is a small campus with plenty of personnel monitoring our safety.
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Alexandria from Naples, FL

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The best liberal arts college in the United States. The education and people are what make this college so great and unique.
Tips for prospective students
This college is fantastic at getting freshmen to feel welcome. Do not worry if you do not know anyone before you get there.
Academic Rigor
All classes are designed for majors. That means a disappointing GPA, but it gives you a better education.
Dorm Life
Most dorms are new and spacious but the furniture is rather awkward in the rooms. There are a lot of inter and inner dorm activities which are lots of fun and a great way to meet people. Visitation hours are a bit annoying as well.
Food and Dining
The one dining hall on campus provides good cafeteria food with special health options for allergies or other needs. There is a coffee stand in one classroom building which is very handy. The cafe in the student union also serves excellent food, snacks, and special coffee.
What to do for fun
The town is small but offers plenty to do if needed. Large cities and towns are relatively nearby for a get-a-way shopping trip. Most students are kept plenty busy by the work load provided by difficult classes.
Bang for the buck
Financial aid helps pay for most of the student bill, relieving the burden. The value of the education is $54,000 but the college fund raises every year to knock down tuition to $30,000 for each student. Very reasonable for the quality.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Each friend group has something they do, but there is nothing very well known. The SAB (student activities board) does host a couple fun activities per semester.
Great for these types of students
Athletes, intellectuals, interested in politics or economics, home schooled students, and any looking for a great education.
Clubs and Activities
Something for everyone!
Greek Life
One of a kind system. Not the typical Greek system, but rather how all systems should be run. Upstanding people (with a little bit of crazy typical Greek life mixed in).
Campus Safety
Campus security is always cruising or walking around watching out for the students. Willing to pick up those in need without bias. They are a very helpful bunch.
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Dana from Carey, OH

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hillsdale College is a unique experience for any up-and-coming student, especially those interested in politics. The school is small, but the atmosphere is like none you will ever experience. This school has something about it that makes it different and makes you want to know what is the good.
Tips for prospective students
Always fill out your paperwork on time, or better yet the earlier the better. Be prepared to study a lot even if you were a 4.0 student in high school.
Academic Rigor
The system is tough but fair. Because it is a liberal arts college, expect to take classes in fields you may not be as interested or as well versed in.
Dorm Life
I highly recommend living in the dorms at least one semester. You will be suprised by the people you will meet and the ones that will become your best friends. Rember to bring extra towels.
Food and Dining
SAGA is food service on campus. The food is really good and we are a little spoiled with it, but it can be a little repetitive. Never miss Sunday brunch, because it is the best meal served every week.
What to do for fun
You can always visit Slayton Arboretum for a nice nature feel or even Hayden park down the road. Downtown has plenty of unique shops to explore and the local resturants are a great treat.
Greek Life
Greek life on campus is different than any other college. For the women there is delayed recruitment for one semester so as to give the girls time to get to know the girls. Formal Recruitment occurs in the winter before everyone is back from break and ends with the new pledges running down the steps of central hall with their bid cards.
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