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Col­le­giate Scholars meet Morgan Brown­field | Courtesy

Hillsdale College’s one-year-old Col­le­giate Scholars Program is seeking appli­cants for its second class of stu­dents.

The program, for­merly known as the Hillsdale Honors Program, offers sem­inars, campus lec­tures and dis­cus­sions, retreats, trips abroad, and a senior thesis oppor­tunity to accepted stu­dents. The program received a makeover in March 2016, changing its name, admis­sions policies, and aca­demic require­ments but retaining its purpose: to enrich stu­dents’ aca­demic expe­rience.

“The program is ideal for anyone who wishes to dig more deeply into the kinds of readings, ideas, and problems exem­plified in the college’s core cur­riculum,” Program Director and Assistant Pro­fessor of Clas­sical Studies Eric Hutchinson said. “In joining the program, you will be joining a group of highly moti­vated, inquis­itive stu­dents and ongoing dia­logue about the arts and sci­ences in the Western tra­dition.”

Unlike the Honors Program — which invited incoming freshmen to apply based on their stan­dardized test scores, their resume, and three essays — the Col­le­giate Scholars Program con­siders stu­dents’ per­for­mance during their first two semesters at Hillsdale before admitting them.

As a result of waiting to admit freshmen, the Col­le­giate Scholars Program elim­i­nated honors coursework. For­merly, honors stu­dents took honors sec­tions of the Western and American her­itages, Great Books I and II, and the U.S. Con­sti­tution.

Nev­er­theless, Col­le­giate Scholars Co-Pres­ident junior Noah Weinrich said the program’s emphasis on learning, growth, and inter­dis­ci­plinary study has remained strong.

“Freshmen should know that the program is not some massive time sink but is some­thing that has really affected the course of study for many Col­le­giate Scholars,” Weinrich said. “We are a com­munity above all else, and that is more important than the events and the sem­inars we sign up for. It has probably been the best use of my time at Hillsdale.”

The honors classwork had developed a close-knit com­munity that defined the Honors Program, junior Anna Meckel said, expressing con­cerns that those bonds are weak­ening.

“Honors upper­classmen befriended me, offered advice, and passed down tra­di­tions and legends from pre­vious years in the program,” Meckel said. “I took my core human­ities classes with the same group of 30 honors stu­dents. Spending two years studying great books and her­itage with a cohort of fellow stu­dents was an incredible oppor­tunity and a great bonding expe­rience.”

Senior Luke Zahari, former co-pres­ident of the Honors Program, agreed: “Our dis­cus­sions went a little dif­fer­ently than a normal class of stu­dents, because we knew each other so well. We knew what everyone else was thinking whenever any issue came up in class.”

Sophomore Co-Pres­ident Gill West, however, said the program pro­vides him with the oppor­tunity to get out of the busy schedule of a college student and focus on con­ver­sa­tions within a serious intel­lectual com­munity.

“I have a very strong group of friends within the program,” West said. “I have met some of the most thoughtful, serious, and intel­ligent people within this group, which makes me all the happier that I applied.”

Although West said it might be nice to take three-credit classes with his col­leagues, he said he likes the freedom of planning his own schedule and thought that the Col­le­giate Scholars sem­inars provide the group with plenty of classes together.

Inter­ested stu­dents with a GPA of 3.4 or higher may apply to Col­le­giate Scholars by sub­mitting a resume, three faculty rec­om­men­da­tions, and an essay answering the application’s question to Hutchinson by March 20.