Despite what you’ve heard, not every Hillsdale College student ended up here because their father listens to Rush Limbaugh.
One of the most frequent questions that can be heard while walking through the throngs of wide-eyed freshman during orientation is the classic “why did YOU choose Hillsdale College?” This inquiry is often followed by one of three answers: 1) My family subscribes to Imprimis, 2) My dad listens to talk radio, or 3) I wanted to attend a more conservative school. Sheer numbers would suggest that these cannot be the only reasons students choose Hillsdale.
A big factor for freshmen Emma Shea was the superior quality of Hillsdale’s track and field program. Shea felt that programs at other schools didn’t have her best interests in mind.
“You can start to feel like just a number,” Shea said.
That feeling of being a number caused Shea to look elsewhere. She was attracted to Hillsdale’s program because “they are concerned with how you feel,” she said.
Freshman Michaela Burkhauser’s experience was similar to Shea’s. Burkhauser explained that Hillsdale’s program makes her feel comfortable in the transition from high school to collegiate athletics.
“At another college, I might have been afraid to speak up about problems to my coaches,” Burkhauser said.
Her worth at a different college may have been based entirely on her athletic performance she said. At Hillsdale, however, her coaches and teammates care about more than just her athletic ability, and she feels she can voice her concerns freely.
Other students attend Hillsdale because their parents are faculty members. For freshman Ruth Moreno, becoming a Charger always seemed inevitable. Her father is Hillsdale history professor and Dean of Social Sciences, Dr. Paul Moreno.
To Ruth, Hillsdale College “just seemed like the most logical choice”.
Growing up, Ruth spent a large part of her childhood around the college. She took the occasional Hillsdale course, went on Easter egg hunts in Delp Hall with the other faculty members’ kids, and spent plenty of time on campus.
This constant exposure to Hillsdale dampened her excitement for her college years. She did little in the way of college research and admitted to just “going through the motions” with the whole process.
It wasn’t until admitted students day this past April that her opinion began to shift. Once she met with other potential students, Moreno began to envision herself as a Hillsdalian. She researched everything the college had to offer with growing excitement and realized that she wanted to take ownership of her college experience.
For others, the deciding factor isn’t as easy to pinpoint. Such was the case for freshman Greta Dornbirer. For Dornbirer, stepping foot on Hillsdale’s campus was enough to convince her.
“I just had this feeling come over me,” Dornbirer said, “I knew this is exactly what I want and where God was calling me to be.”
While she was at first attracted to the values that the college promotes and the reputation of a hardworking student body, neither of these things could compare to the overwhelming sense of purpose she felt on her visit.
“I got in the car and told my mom I didn’t need to look anywhere else,” Dornbirer recalled.