Hillsdale College 2018 applicants faced the lowest admittance rate in the college’s admissions records, according to preliminary data.
At 37 percent, this year’s enrollment rate is the lowest it has ever been, down from 41 percent last year and continuing a 4‑year downward trend. The school’s Admissions Office usually aims for a class size ranging from 350 to 380 students, and this year it enrolled 357 students, down from 391 last year.
Additionally, the class is 55 percent men and 45 percent women, a greater gender difference compared with last year’s 50 – 50 enrollment and the previous year’s 48 percent male and 52 percent female enrollment.
“We’re getting really good — and I think we’ve always been good — on the yield side,” Senior Director of Admissions Zach Miller ’11 said, referring to the admissions department’s ability to recruit applicants. “And the fact that Hillsdale is becoming a little more popular as an institution across the country — that helps us get the students we’re looking for.”
Miller said this year’s male-to-female ratio is unusual, especially given the national trends. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, females were expected to make up the majority of the nation’s college and university students in fall 2018, with 11.2 million total female enrollees and 8.7 million male enrollees.
“Usually the classes are larger for women, and that’s generally the way it’s been at Hillsdale the past couple years,” Miller said. “That’s not something we aim to do. It’s the way the applications kind of fleshed out at the end of the day.”
All the data is only preliminary and will not be officially confirmed until mid-September, but according to Miller, the preliminary data tends to be “on target” with the official records.
Additionally, the college drew only 25 percent of its students from Michigan, the smallest percentage in the college’s records to date. Records from the past seven years show the percentage of Michigan students in the low 30s.
Miller attributed the declining percentage of Michigan-native students to Hillsdale’s growing national reputation and to the fact that this is the second year the admissions department has had four regional admissions counselors who reside in their respective areas of recruitment: one in California, one in Texas, and two in Washington, D.C.
Freshman Jaime Boerema said having an admissions counselor was helpful during her transition to Hillsdale.
“I knew I wanted to be here, but certainly having support in admissions and having contact with people at the college makes me feel like I’m having an easier transition,” Boerema said. “I think having a good rapport with your admissions counselor is definitely an important part of going to the school you want to go to.”
Boerema is from Michigan and was put on the admissions waitlist after applying to Hillsdale.
“I know it was really hard to get in this past year, and I feel really blessed to have made it off the waitlist,” Boerema said. “I think that is encouragement and incentive for me to work that much harder.”
The class of 2022 also had a slightly lower average on the ACT, scoring 30.16 out of 36, down from 30.26 in 2017. But the freshman class did average slightly higher on high school GPAs with a 3.89 average, up from last year’s 3.87. Miller said the scores speak for a “very strong” academic class and that it is the goal of admissions to bring in the “best students in the country.”
“It’s an honor really to know I came out of that pool,” freshman Jack Coker said, “which is good because I only applied to Hillsdale and didn’t apply anywhere else. I put all the eggs in one basket.”
Miller added that the admissions department is excited about this year’s freshman class because bringing the students to campus is the result of over a year of hard work.
“Orientation Sunday is always like our Christmas,” he said, “because we get to welcome these kids that we’ve talked to and worked with, and we get to see their excitement of starting their journey at Hillsdale.”