Should I Go to Hillsdale College?

Carrie earned her bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from Hillsdale College. She specializes in French tutoring, reading tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at Hillsdale College:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Carrie: Hillsdale College is a rural campus, a little over an hour drive from Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a quiet residential area, the campus is small, neat, and orderly, and most of the buildings are close to one another. There are plenty of trees to provide shade for studying outside during the early fall and late spring months. The campus is small enough to make walking the usual form of transportation, although many students also enjoy having a bike on campus. I had a car with me, with the exception of my freshman year, which I found helpful for drives to Ann Arbor. On campus I felt completely safe, as I would regularly see campus security patrolling the streets.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Carrie: As a school of 1,300 students, classes are small and professors take an interest in their students’ achievements, both in the classroom and beyond. I was always able to meet with my professors during office hours. When I was unable to come during their normal times, my professors would schedule appointments with me on an individual basis.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Carrie: There are numerous activities to participate in on campus. I was a French language and literature major and a member of a number of clubs and organizations.

My freshman year in Olds Dormitory was particularly memorable, as only freshman girls can live in this small residence. I really enjoyed our dorm dances and our get-to-know-campus scavenger hunt. The furniture was also bright and new, which made it fun to make the space your own.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Carrie: The political science, economics, and history majors seem to be among the greatest in number. The biology program is very strong as well. I studied French language and literature and was well supported by my professors.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Carrie: Living in Olds Dormitory, an all-girls freshman dorm, was a wonderful way to make friends. With only 20 girls to a hall and community bathrooms, you can’t help but meet and get to know everyone you’re living with. The Greek system has a strong presence on campus and several of my close friends joined a house and loved the experience. Though I considered rushing, I ultimately remained an independent and still felt included in campus life.

How helpful are the Career Center and other student support services? 

Carrie: I took advantage of the Career Center during my time and received much help with developing and refining my resume. Hillsdale College does host a number of companies, like Stryker and Enterprise, to recruit graduates. The school also hosts a successful job fair on campus exclusively for independent elementary and high schools looking for highly qualified teachers.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Carrie: The student union is a relatively new building with AJ’s Café for coffee and quick meals, the dining room, and a big-screen TV to host movie and game nights. Saga, the only dining room on campus, was designed specifically so that students would come together during meals to meet and discuss ideas, creating a close-knit and thoughtful community culture. The library, while not new, has three levels and plenty of space for individuals and groups to work.

Describe the surrounding town.

Carrie: The town of Hillsdale is small, but the downtown area becomes more modern each year. I also enjoyed taking the drive to Ann Arbor on the weekends, especially to grab lunch at Zingerman’s Deli. Hillsdale is small and out of the way, so you will need to get creative on weekends to stay entertained when you’re not hard at work.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Carrie: The student body was roughly 1,300 students while I was attending and I enjoyed my class sizes. For the required courses, I was in classes of 30 students. For my major, however, my classes were rarely more than 15 students. There were enough of us for interesting discussions and few enough to give each of us plenty of opportunity to participate.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Carrie: One of my most memorable classes was German 101. As a French major, I took this class because I was interested in learning another language that I had never studied before. Dr. Yaniga treated us beginners with respect and instilled in me a love of the German language. He was clearly passionate about the subject and this showed in his teaching. Dr. Yaniga also kept the class fun and encouraged us to come to the weekly German conversation table. Students at the college are expected to rise to the challenge of thinking independently and deeply about their studies, regardless of whether a course is part of your major or not. It makes for a college filled with interesting and friendly people all seeking to learn more and to have fun while doing it.  


Check out Carrie’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.