Hills­dale’s Central Hall at dusk. (Regan Meyer/Collegian)


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.