Hillsdale College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College is a small, private, nationally-recognized liberal arts college in south-central Michigan with...

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, Michigan

Developing Minds, Improving Hearts


Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 by men and women who described themselves as “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” of civil and religious liberty, “believing that the diffusion of sound learning is essential to the perpetuity of those blessings.” The College has maintained institutional independence since its founding, having refused to accept aid from or control by federal authorities. Its far-reaching private support from a national constituency has enabled Hillsdale to continue its trusteeship of the intellectual and spiritual inheritance derived from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture.


The College maintains its defense of the traditional liberal arts curriculum, convinced that it provides the best tools and preparation to meet the challenges of modern life. The liberal arts are dedicated to stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity, to encouraging the critical, well-disciplined mind, and to fostering personal growth through academic challenge.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,482 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
50% male — 50% female
65% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
127 full-time faculty
46 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
99% of first year students live on campus
69% of all students live on campus

School Location

Hillsdale College is located amid the hills, dales, and lakes of south-central Michigan. The Indiana and Ohio turnpikes are each 30 minutes away, and the College is within close reach of such metropolitan areas as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Toledo, Ft. Wayne, and Indianapolis. The town of Hillsdale is a county seat with a population of 10,000. Stores, churches, restaurants, and movie theaters are all within walking distance of the campus.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning  
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning  
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

94% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

83% of students graduated in 6 years


NCAA Division II, GLIAC Conference (G-MAC Great Midwest Athletic Conference, effective July 2017)

Men’s Varsity Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Football, Tennis, and Track & Field
Women’s Varsity Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball

Academic Programs

Accounting, American Studies, Applied Mathematics, Art, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Christian Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, Economics, Education, English, European Studies, Exercise Science, Financial Management, French, German, Greek, History, International Studies in Business and Foreign Language, Latin, Marketing/Management, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Political Economy, Politics, Pre-Allied Health Sciences, Pre-Dental, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Environmental Sciences, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine and Osteopathy, Pre-Theology/Ministry, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Psychology, Religion, Sociology and Social Thought, Spanish, Speech, Sport Management, Sport Psychology, Theatre

More Distinctions

  • Hillsdale College is consistently ranked a top liberal arts and “Best Value” institution by national college guides. The College’s national reputation is attributed not only to the strength of its classical liberal arts core curriculum, its independent operations from government aid, and the success and maturity of its graduates, but also to its outreach efforts, which connect millions to ideas that are ingrained in the Hillsdale Mission.

  • Recent recognition from Colleges That Change Lives

  • Recent recognition from Forbes Magazine

  • Recent recognition from Kiplinger’s

  • Recent recognition from Peterson’s Guide

  • Recent recognition from Princeton Review

  • Recent recognition from U.S. News & World Report

The Liberal Arts Core

A sound liberal arts education includes study in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. There are eight specific courses that every Hillsdale student must complete: Physical Science; Core Principles in Biology; Great Books in the Western Tradition; Great Books in the British and American Traditions; The Western Heritage to 1600; The American Heritage; The U.S. Constitution; and Physical Wellness Dynamics. In addition, students are to complete at least one course from each offered group in the humanities, one in the social sciences, and one “Center for Constructive Alternatives” seminar. Students pursuing Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees have an additional requirement in foreign language, while those pursuing Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees place an extra emphasis on laboratory science and mathematics courses.

Learn more about the Hillsdale College core here.

Off-Campus Study Opportunities

In addition to a wealth of academic opportunities available on the Hillsdale College campus in Michigan, students also have a number of off-campus opportunities available to them. For example, students in the natural sciences can explore their interests at the College’s G.H. Gordon Biological Station, a 685-acre field research laboratory located in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The James C. Quayle Journalism Intern Program places students from Hillsdale’s Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism in summer internships with a stipend provided by the College.

Serious academic study through practical, professional experience is available to students of all majors as part of the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program, which takes advantage of the Hillsdale College Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. Study abroad options are offered in Seville, Spain; Córdoba, Argentina; Saarbrücken, Germany; Tours, France; Würzburg, Germany; and at Oxford University; Regent’s College, London; and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Learn more about off-campus study opportunities here.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station  
Yearbook X

The College Faculty

The Hillsdale College faculty consists of 135 full-time members. No classes are taught by graduate students, allowing the closeness of the College community to facilitate worthwhile faculty mentorship both inside the classroom and during office visits after class. Each student has a faculty advisor who provides them academic and career counseling catered to their specific field of study. Hillsdale’s faculty considers teaching their first priority, but many also work on compelling research and scholarly writing, Because they are able to explore and deepen their involvement within their fields, they often share valuable information on the national scene, in lecture programs, and in various media outlets.

Hillsdale College classes average around 15 students, with an overall student-to-faculty ratio of ten-to-one. Nearly 90 percent of Hillsdale faculty members hold terminal degrees in their field.

Academic Programs

Hillsdale College offers traditional majors in the following areas: Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Art, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, English, Exercise Science, Financial Management, French, German, Greek, History, Latin, Marketing/Management, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Rhetoric, Spanish, Sport Management, Sport Psychology, and Theatre.

Interdisciplinary majors are offered in: American Studies, Christian Studies, Comparative Literature, European Studies, International Studies in Business and Foreign Language, Political Economy, and Sociology and Social Thought.

Pre-professional programs are available in: Allied Health Sciences, Dental, Education, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Journalism, Law, Medicine and Osteopathy, Theology/Ministry, and Veterinary Medicine.

Learn more about academic programs here.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 171 206 105 18 2 3 0 505

Student Life

Four national fraternities, three national sororities, and scores of social, academic, spiritual, and service organizations provide Hillsdale students with a diverse array of co-curricular opportunities. A resident drama troupe, a dance company, a concert and chamber choir, and a number of musical ensembles for a range of instrumentalists constitute the College’s amazing performing arts organizations. The Student Activities Board and Campus Recreation Board also sponsor all-College events like Homecoming, the annual Garden Party and President’s Ball, the Centralhallapalooza year-end celebration, Color Run, and more.


Hillsdale’s Charger athletes compete in 14 intercollegiate NCAA Division II varsity sports as part of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Hillsdale College sponsors varsity basketball, cross-country, swimming and diving, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball for women, and varsity baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, football, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field for men. Since 1998, the College has produced 107 athletic All-Americans and 28 conference champions, and Hillsdale teams have qualified for national tournaments nineteen times. Thirty-four athletes have earned national academic honors in their respective sports as well.

Hillsdale also enthusiastically supports men’s and women’s intramural sports programs, which include flag football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, racquetball, dodgeball, sand volleyball, and special events like Intramural Games. Hillsdale encourages and supports club sports, too, and currently has 11 recognized groups—rugby, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, firearms club, men’s golf, women’s volleyball, men’s volleyball, crew, equestrian club, cheerleading, and co-ed tennis. The College also sponsors a competitive shotgun team.

The Honor Code

All students at Hillsdale College sign an Honor Code that animates student life: “A Hillsdale College student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service, and respectful of the rights of others. Through education the student rises to self-government.” Self-government is a challenge with the promise of a rich reward: liberty of the soul. A soul enjoys liberty when it is ordered—when its passions are ruled by reason and its habit is virtue.

Virtus tentamine gaudet. Strength rejoices in the challenge. This truth, the motto of Hillsdale College, means that to be strong in virtue, one must welcome a challenge. In offering its students the challenge of self-government, Hillsdale College asks its students to act at all times worthy of the blessings of liberty.


Coed dorms  
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing X
Cooperative housing X
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Preparation for a Life Well-Lived

Far-ranging by design and incisive by method, study at Hillsdale College is intellectually demanding. Students work closely with faculty who guide them in their studies and prepare them for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and success. Hillsdale College alumni, parents of current and former students, and even friends of and benefactors to the College’s Mission are devoted supporters of Hillsdale and its students. Many are actively involved in the recruitment of new students in the Admissions process and later in their recruitment to graduate and professional undertakings.

According to recent surveys, 98 percent of graduated students are employed, enrolled in graduate or professional schools, obtaining advanced certification, or otherwise meaningfully occupied within six months of graduation. Graduates consistently leave Hillsdale to study in prestigious graduate programs and to work for Fortune 500 companies; they become artists, scientists, lawyers, journalists, doctors, military officers, teachers, ministers, and more. “Students go into all walks of life,” remarks College President Dr. Larry P. Arnn: “What’s important is that they all have something in common—that they have learned how to live.”

Student Services

Special student services provided by the College include career planning and placement counseling, academic advising and tutoring, and a health service staffed by a physician and a resident nurse.


Admissions Fall 2016

1,934 Total Applicants 
874 Total Admissions 
377 Total Freshmen Enrollment

45.19% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing Date: April 1 
Priority Date: January 1 

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Level of applicant’s interest

Volunteer work
Work experience

Alumni/ae relation

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 620 750
SAT Math 570 690
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 28 32
ACT Math 26 31
ACT English 28 35
ACT Writing    


Students may apply to Hillsdale College after completing their junior year of high school. The College offers Early Decision (November 1) and Regular Decision (April 1) plans. January 1 serves as the priority application date for academic scholarship consideration. Applications on the Hillsdale College website or via The Common Application are available free of charge. Paper applications are available for a $35 processing fee.

A formal application to Hillsdale College includes: (1) a completed application form, (2) the scores from either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT), (3) an official transcript of high school grades (and post-secondary grades, if available), (4) thoughtful essay and short answer responses, (5) two academic letters of recommendation, (6) a résumé of extracurricular activities, volunteerism, leadership, and work experience, and (7) an optional current photograph. An interview is recommended, but not required.

Learn more about admission and aid here.


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $25,540
Fees $1,202
Total $26,742
Room and Board (on campus) $10,610
Estimated Total On Campus $37,352


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-17 Estimated

$15,323 First year students
$7,275 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-17 Estimated

65% on average, the percentage of need that was met
43% of financial need students that had need fully met

$7,275 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$5,701 Average need-based loan

Important Financial Aid Information

Hillsdale College is an institution of national prominence, a reputation due in large part to its complete independence from government funds. Hillsdale College does not accept, nor are its students permitted to receive, any federal or state financial aid, either directly or indirectly. Through the support of generous donors, Hillsdale provides alternative, privately-funded aid sources. 90% of new Hillsdale College students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and employment, with average aid packages around $18,000. An application for admission to Hillsdale College serves, too, as an application for scholarship; need-based aid consideration requires the Confidential Family Financial Statement (available online). The FAFSA is non-applicable.

Tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year is $24,670; room $5,040; board $5,160; and required fees $852.