Hillsdale College received high marks from the Princeton Review in their 2020 college rankings.
Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said that while the college’s worth cannot be reduced to a singular numerical measure, there is value to the Review’s rankings and that it’s nice to be recognized.
“We like it, and then we get back to work,” Arnn said.
The Princeton Review also named the Hillsdale Collegian the third-best college newspaper nationally, an improvement on its fifth place ranking from the 2017 – 2018 school year.
“This national recognition is a wonderful tribute to our excellent and hardworking student journalists,” John Miller, director of the Dow Journalism Program, said in an email.
Hillsdale College professors ranked especially high. The college received a No. 12 ranking for Professors Get High Marks and for No. 13 Most Accessible Professors. Former Dean of Faculty Daniel Coupland said the high rankings of professors came as no surprise to him.
“The reason we scored so high is because of the quality of people we attract,” Coupland said. “The hiring process here is pretty rigorous. It’s a demanding process. We get a lot of good people who are attracted to a liberal arts institution and higher ed and students.”
Coupland attributed the high rankings for professor accessibility to the structure of the college.
“You don’t really have to preach it,” Coupland said. “I don’t ever recall over the last two years ever having to tell a faculty member, ‘You need to reach out to your students more, or you need to be more accessible to students.’”
Hillsdale’s student body also ranked on a number of different lists. Hillsdale was rated second in the nation for Most Conservative Students and fourth for Most Religious Students. Arnn said that while no questions are asked about politics or religion on the college’s application for admission, Hillsdale is open about the ideals and values of the college.
“We argue that you have to study God if you’re going to study nature,” Arnn said. “Whether you’re reading pagan philosophy or Jewish philosophy or Christian theology, God is at the top. You have to study that. And, then you have our commitment to the Christian faith. We require students to respect that they don’t have to share it.”
As for the political ranking, Arnn said there’s no denying that the college has a conservative reputation. He discourages, however, anyone from choosing Hillsdale solely on that basis.
“I always say you don’t even know what that word is,” Arnn said. “You should come to find out. Well, they find out and that produces something. I’ve read that students today, their time horizon goes back four years to when they got their first iphone or something. Our students don’t have that time horizon; they have a longer one, and we hope that they develop an eternal one.”
Various student organizations were recognized for their hard work. The college is fourth in the nation for Students Most Engaged in Community Service, the same ranking it received last year. GOAL Director junior Michaela Peine said that while the ranking is a nice confirmation of GOAL’s work in the community, it’s not the program’s main focus.
“If we can connect students to programs that can benefit the community, that’s what we focus on,” Peine said. “It’s nice to hear our work is being recognized, but we feel a lot of freedom to not chase that.”