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Hillsdale has seen an influx of transfer appli­ca­tions from other edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions. Courtesy | Hillsdale College Mar­keting Department

This spring semester, Hillsdale College wel­comed a record number of new stu­dents, 23 in all. 

Sixteen of these stu­dents are transfers from around the country and across the ocean, including Ireland and Italy. 

Appli­ca­tions for the spring 2022 semester increased by 46% com­pared to the spring semester of 2021, said Zachary Miller, senior director of admissions. 

The number of admitted stu­dents depends on available housing for the spring semester, he said.

“We’ve seen more and more interest in Hillsdale over the last few years, and for many dif­ferent reasons,” Miller said.

Miller attributes the rise in interest to the college’s rare and unique qualities. 

“I think by and large, stu­dents are seeing that there aren’t many schools across the country like Hillsdale, specif­i­cally in the prin­ciples for which we stand and the offering of a clas­sical liberal arts edu­cation focused on the pursuit of truth,” he said. “That’s become evident even more in the last couple of years.”

Geert Ensing, a transfer student from Tuscany, Italy, enrolled at Hillsdale in January. It was his first time entering the United States. For the past year and a half, Ensing has studied Ludwig Von Mises’ eco­nomic thought, leading him to Hillsdale to study economics

“I had been looking for a place where I could study Aus­trian eco­nomics, and more specif­i­cally the works of Mises and Hayek,” Ensing said. “When I found out that Mises donated his library here, I had to check out the college. The eco­nomics cur­riculum at the college really intrigued me, and Hillsdale was one of the few col­leges where I felt I could study Aus­trian eco­nomic thought.”

Ensing said he found the appli­cation process to be enjoyable and inviting. 

“I felt that the Hillsdale appli­cation process was very easy and com­pre­hensive,” Ensing said. “Everyone I was in touch with or talked to was super helpful and friendly, and all the processes involved were simple and efficient.” 

He said he enjoys both the Hillsdale atmos­phere and the aca­demic challenge.

“I have found life here on campus, in the small time I have been here, really vibrant and lively. Safe to say, it never feels boring,” he said. “I feel that the workload at the college can be quite intense and chal­lenging, but the aca­demic rigor is one of the main reasons I signed up for the college, and I enjoy the challenge.”

On top of the aca­demic and location adjustment, Ensing said he has also had to adjust to the bitter Michigan weather. 

“Coming from Tuscany, the weather at first needed getting used to, but I like the cold and snow for a change,” he said. “Having been in Italy for 10 years, I have had enough blue skies and warm weather for half a lifetime, so I am happy about the change.”

Another transfer student, Stephen Brindle, left Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, to come to Hillsdale this spring. Brindle com­pared his edu­cation at Trinity to that of stu­dents he had met at a Hillsdale Schol­arship Weekend, so he decided to join them.

“I felt that the edu­cation I was receiving at Trinity was not suf­fi­cient,” he said. “I picked Hillsdale because I had always heard that it was a school that focused on giving a real and mean­ingful edu­cation. What my friends were telling me about Hillsdale simply con­firmed that, and I realized that I had to transfer.” 

Brindle said he appre­ciated the appli­cation process and the support he received throughout his tran­sition to Hillsdale.

“Everyone at Hillsdale has been extremely wel­coming and inviting and I could not have asked for a better cohort of stu­dents to transfer with,” he said. “Life at Hillsdale is obvi­ously dif­ferent from life in Dublin, yet dif­ferent in a good way. The quality of stu­dents and intensity of study here at Hillsdale is exactly what I was hoping for when I transferred.”

One transfer student, Nick­aylah Sampson, is a cadet from the United States Mil­itary Academy. Sampson trans­ferred as a sophomore from the Academy because of the vaccine mandate for all who serve. Unlike most of the other transfers, Sampson didn’t find Hillsdale – Hillsdale found her. After reading her story, Hillsdale Chief of Staff Michael Harner reached out to her.

“I didn’t choose Hillsdale,” Sampson said. “The oppor­tunity was by the grace of God to me when the Chief of Staff at Hillsdale read about me in an article and con­tacted me. I applied very quickly and effi­ciently, and the tran­sition was incredibly smooth.” 

Like the other transfers, the cold has been a bit of a shock to Sampson. 
“People here are incredibly nice and wel­coming, but I am from Texas, so I don’t think I will ever get used to the cold,” Sampson said.

At Hillsdale, Sampson is pur­suing her dream of becoming a teacher and one day starting her own school. 

“When I graduate,” Sampson said, “I aspire to be a math teacher, and then one day, fulfill my dream of starting my own Christ-cen­tered private school or orphanage where children can be raised with clas­sical, tra­di­tional, and upright morals.”