Hillsdale College rejected me

This was my first choice school, I really fell in love with Hillsdale when I visited. I applied early action and got my rejection letter really early Nov. 30th. I am honestly perplexed.
I am what is considered a highly desirable applicant. My in person interview even went over 40 minutes because my admissions counselor loved me so much. There is great diversity within conservatism I just don’t think Hillsdale is embracing that. I honestly think it might be a money thing and not so much my credentials. If anyone can recommend another Christian/ conservative college in Michigan please let me know. I was looking forward to going to college in the country. I’m sick of the city.

I’m sorry you didn’t get into your first choice school. My kid is a sophomore at Hope College in Holland, MI, near Grand Rapids. It’s a Christian college and on the conservative side. If you have any questions I can try to answer them. Holland is a very lovely small town. I also have been pleased with how they handled Fall semester with Covid-19 mitigation strategies.

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Thanks for the recommendation. Normally I wouldn’t apply to a college I haven’t visited.I may look into it and apply just to be on the safe side. Im in a time crunch and probably missed their deadline.I’m just sick of hiding my thoughts and ideas. I had a teacher try to sabotage my grades because she didn’t like my conservative ideas. I rather not do that in college. Everyone says " lets have a discussion" till it’s time to have a discussion. :rofl:

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@NatInTheHatt, sorry to hear that. But there are many colleges out there. I think with some web searching you can probably find colleges that Hillsdale applicants also looked at. Have you considered Pepperdine or some of the colleges recommended at Top Conservative Colleges (yaf.org)?

In general it’s best to apply to several different schools so that if you don’t get into your first choice there are other options you can live with.

Best wishes to you!

Thank you for this. I already have college scholarship money that will cover about 80% of the first 4 years, unfortunately, It keeps me in Michigan so I’m rather limited. It’s a blessing nonetheless.

Agree with Hope and you might look at Calvin College. Is there anything in your application that needs improving? Perhaps your school counselor can meet with you to discuss next steps.

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You can’t read too much into the interview. 40mn isn’t that long and you don’t know what the interviewer got from it - usually, they have little impact on the decision, unless the interviewer had a strongly negative reaction (ie., it’d mean it went on longer than most because the interviewer thought you were being terrible and was looking for a redeeming quality for his/her report, and passed that on and not because the interviewer thought you were terrific and loved talking with you. It happens.)
What are your stats?
If you have a scholarship that covers 80% costs in Michigan, I don’t think your financial situation is the reason for your rejection, so you need to look carefully at your entire application: grades, curriculum rigor, essays… looking for things to improve for the next round.

Have you applied to safeties?

If you have high grades in 11-12th, you could apply to Canada, where it’s almost entirely grades+scores. However it’d mean losing your scholarship.

Just be aware that if by “conservative” you mean racist/supremacist/antisemitic, you’ll encounter the issue everywhere as those are usually not seen as politically “conservative” (on the reactionary-conservative- liberal- progressive- revolutionary spectrum).
If you mean a variety of ideologies such as big/little government v. constitutionalist conservative v. Evangelical Christian, I would look into Hope and Calvin, too.


I agree with the recommendation to check out Calvin as well. I’m sure you haven’t missed Hope’s deadline. They do rolling admissions after 11/1, so I think you’re still good. Congratulations on the Michigan scholarship.

@NatInTheHatt - I’m so sorry about your rejection. That’s such a bummer and especially coming to it as a highly desirable applicant. Others have mentioned Hope, and I agree. Although I don’t have first hand experience, a very good friend has a son who graduated and a daughter there now and both have loved it. Hang in there. It can feel like we’re being blindsided when our solid plans get derailed. I believe there is another school that is meant for you! Don’t lose heart! (((hugs)))

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@NatInTheHatt Since this got moved to the Hillsdale forum, fewer people will probably see it. I suggest that you post a new thread in the Christian College forum without specifically referencing Hillsdale in the title. Maybe something like “Looking for conservative Christian colleges in Michigan.” Please update us on your search as you go forward. I agree with @Channing09 that there’s another college out there that is meant for you.

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“Just be aware that if by “conservative” you mean racist/supremacist/antisemitic”

@MYOS1634, I think that’s a pretty insulting thing to say to a student who is looking for a college with a conservative leaning. I would also point out that some of the most egregious antisemitic and intolerant environments are in so-called liberal/progressive colleges. If somebody on this site says they are looking for a conservative or liberal college, we should take them in good faith.


I’m not trying to be insulting. I’m not discussing whether the student wants a liberal or conservative college, but why a conservative college might have rejected a conservative student when it doesn’t make sense.
This student is a very strong student who applied early to their first choice college, for which they’d seemingly be a great fit.
I’m trying to help the student see what might have gone wrong:
curriculum rigor/grades (probably not based on what OP said)
so, then…?
negative interview review?
problems with essays?
and, since the student said she’s tired of not being able to say what she wants and has been docked before for some opinions, whether it might come from these opinions, as they are voiced or as they come across?
I’m not talking about college environments - by all accounts, Hillsdale would be a great environment for a conservative student (and I’ve been recommending conservative colleges for a long time).
However, OP was rejected from a college that should have been a shoo-in in terms of academics and fit: I’m trying to help OP figure out where the problem may be so that she can get into her #2 college, be it Hope or Calvin or another conservative/Christian college.
(Keep in mind that the way a 17-year old defines their conservatism or liberalism is, by definition, just starting to be nurtured, and as such likely has lots of rough edges. Understanding how they come across is difficult for ALL teens. A lot of growth happens in college, between 17 and 22.)


Sorry, that is really disappointing. My older son was rejected to his first choice, but it ended up being the best thing, as the college he ended up in is such a perfect fit and he would have never found it without the initial ED rejection.

I agree with what others have said. I took my boys to visit both Hope and Calvin and they are amazing choices. Hope has a very joyous feel. The students were just different and exuded happiness for where they were. They approached us several times to give directions or just answer questions. We spent the day there and really think it is an amazing Christian option.

We didn’t get to see Calvin as much as it was late on a Friday. The campus was very nice and their academics are good.

Both of these schools are still accepting applications and I think you will still be eligible for scholarship money. Out of the two, I would say Hope had such a spectacular vibe that I would lean that way, but apply to both and see what you think!


Out of curiosity, may I ask if you applied Early Decision? Do you mind sharing your stats for others looking at how hillsdale makes their decisions? Finally, have you thought of contacting your counselor and asking if there is anything you can do to be reconsidered? If it is something like raising your test scores, or GPA, you could make some progress and check back in a couple of months. With persistence, Nos can always be made into yeses!!

@MYOS1634 is not trying to be insulting. The concerns are legitimate. OP should have been accepted and wasn’t just deferred, but rejected. Something is going on and it might mean the OP has to consider some hard truths.

I am sorry OP that you didn’t get into your top choice. But as I read your posts, I found myself wondering if you gave your interviewer a reason to be wary, or if maybe your teacher recs weren’t what you hoped they would be. Ask yourself if perhaps those factors, or your essays, gave them a reason to be concerned that you can succeed at their college.

What I noticed were these comments:
I’m just sick of hiding my thoughts and ideas. I had a teacher try to sabotage my grades because she didn’t like my conservative ideas. I rather not do that in college.

FWIW, teachers honestly don’t sabotage grades, or at least rarely. It reflects poorly on teachers when their students don’t do well. High schools aren’t exactly thrilled when students aren’t accepted to the colleges they apply to. Teachers and their high schools want their students to succeed. When I hear a student say “the teacher doesn’t like me,” and similar, the problem usually lies with the student and not the teacher.

I’m very much wondering if perhaps you are coming across a little too strongly. If you still have apps and essays to submit, I suggest asking an impartial person to read them and give an honest opinion. Best of luck.


Your post struck a chord with me because of your remark that Hope has a “joyous” feel. I totally agree. I have another kid who went to an elite West Coast ultra-liberal LAC. She got a great education but for all 4 years I was struck by how angry the students seemed to always be. At Hope, the students care but in a positive, hopeful way.


Yes it was ED

Sounds awesome. I was in the Michigan State honors choir for two years as a first soprano. So it would be cool to be in a church/ college choir again. I miss it a ton.

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I agree with Lindagaf that something might be amiss in either your application or your interview. Being overly critical of teachers isn’t good because professors are teachers, too.

That wasn’t mentioned. Don’t confuse my candor on here for what I would put in my app. I answered the App questions which were very specific to that school. Talking about Liberty, classical learning etc.

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