When a chance to speak at the Dressage 4 Kids Midwest event took me to Michigan’s “Upper West Side,” I seized the opportunity to squeeze in a couple of campus visits while I was in the area. The first was to Holland’s liberal arts gem, Hope College, home to the Flying Dutchmen and approximately 3,400 undergraduate students.
(I should probably disclose before I proceed that Hope was – and is – one of the biggest rival schools for my alma mater, so it felt a little bit like stepping into enemy territory when I first drove onto campus, but since my best friend and the wonderful husband of one of my college roommates are both Hope alumni and fantastic people and this was a summer Friday instead of a football Saturday, I quickly got over the rivalry and very much enjoyed my visit.)
Hope boasts several unique programs that aren’t often found at traditional liberal arts colleges, including an engineering program (with its own state of the art lab space) and nursing program (with plenty of hands on experiences for enrolled students). Business is also a very big program (the third largest major and growing) and the liberal arts are well covered in the areas of the fine arts and humanities, with opportunities for all students (regardless of major) to participate in dance, the theatre, and musical ensembles.
The college also has a longstanding athletic tradition and plays in NCAA Division III as part of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the nation’s oldest athletic conference. The small student body lends itself well to students who want to go to sporting events to support their roommates, classmates, and friends and the campus is nearly divided into two distinctive parts by the arrangement of all of the facilities (academic buildings and residence halls are situated together and athletic buildings and playing fields are all clustered together at one end of campus).
Spiritual life is also a major part of campus life at Hope and, though chapel services aren’t mandatory, they’re held three times per week during a period when no classes are scheduled and the majority of campus turns out to worship together. There are also Sunday evening services held in a more formal manner.
Hope doesn’t host an equestrian club or team on its roster of student organizations and activities, but the west side of Michigan is home to a variety of farms that participate in a wealth of disciplines, so students who wish to find an equestrian home away from home should be able to find their needs met. (Freshman can bring cars to campus so this can help aid with that process.)
Curious about whether Hope might be a good fit for your academic goals? Contact me.