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Hillsdale College
Since 1844, Hillsdale College’s small, private, nationally recognized liberal arts college has enacted a...

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 2017 Enrollment
1,502 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
51% male — 49% female
65% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2017-2018 Academic Year
137 full-time faculty
62 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2017
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.

“Hillsdale has given me an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of masters, to formulate my own conclusions, and to learn how to think… I know now that I came here to explore the unknown and to find out who I truly am.” – Aaron Andrews, ‘19

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 2017

92% of students began in Fall 2016 and returned in Fall 2017 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2017

85% of students graduated in 6 years

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

The Liberal Arts Core

A sound liberal arts education includes study in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. Because of this, every Hillsdale student stimulates the mind in eight core courses: 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, those 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. And 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. Such are just a couple of the many offerings across many disciplines.

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.

Learn more about off-campus study opportunities here.

Study Abroad

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.

“I really liked the fact that we were all immersed in a wide variety of disciplines, that we all came together as a unified community of scholars. And I’ve found a strong foundation in writing, history, and philosophy has practical value, especially for scientists.” – Heidi Hendrickson ‘09, is pursuing postdoctoral research in chemistry at Yale University.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theatre X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theatre 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 consist of 137 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 as well as during office visits after class.

Each student has a faculty advisor who meets with personally to provide academic and career counseling that is catered to their specific field of study. Individual, thoughtful attention is a given at Hillsdale!

Hillsdale’s faculty consider teaching their first priority, but many also work on their own compelling research and scholarly writing. And because they are able to explore and deepen their involvement within their fields, they often share valuable, up-to-date 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.

“There’s a responsibility placed on you as a student at Hillsdale College. You can’t afford a bad month where you are just a slug in the classroom. Maybe a bad day… but really any more than that and you will find that professors and students begin to notice. Then you will start to see that what you bring to the table on a day-to-day basis is important and meaningful. It has an effect on everyone around you.” – Dr. Lorraine Murphy, English professor

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 151 187 120 25 3 1 0 487

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. Women have their own varsity volleyball team, and men participate in varsity baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, football, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field.

Since 1998, the College has produced 107 athletic All-Americans, 28 conference champions, and 34 athletic recipients of national academic honors. And in that time, Hillsdale teams have qualified for national tournaments nineteen times.

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. The College also thrives with club sports, bustling with 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 Honor Code

All students at Hillsdale College are to sign an Honor Code that animates their lives throughout their four years: “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 habits are rooted in 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.

“I love the community here. You really get the sense that we’re all in this together. My roommate and I were in the same philosophy class, so we’d stay up late discussing what we were reading. Friends would pop in, and the discussion moved to how philosophy relates to organic chemistry, or music, or whatever they were studying. My room got crowded. But it was a lot of fun.” – Kristina Mork, ‘17


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 all devoted supporters of Hillsdale and its students. Many are actively involved in the recruitment of new students as well as 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

Reading great literature at Hillsdale gave me the desire to learn how the world works. That sort of curiosity and the ability to master complex ideas—whether it’s gerunds and participles or different types of modulation for satellite transmissions—has proven useful for me in working in media production.” – Michael Kreuz, ‘14. Broadcast technician and photojournalist for WTVG 13abc, Toledo, OH


Admissions Fall 2017

 2,080 total applicants
863 total admissions
372 total freshman enrollment

41.49% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 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

Freshman Profile Fall 2017

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 660 730
SAT Math 620 710
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 28 32
ACT Math 26 31
ACT English 30 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.



Tuition $26,300
Fees $1,278
Total $27,578
Room and Board (on campus) $11,000
Estimated Total On Campus $38,578


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.