You Know You Go To Hillsdale When . . .


At Hillsdale, we have some quirks and traditions we’re proud to say characterize our campus. Here are just a few.

Written by Emily Marsh

When I decided to come to Hillsdale, I already expected the tight-knit community, but so much of the culture I didn’t expect at all. You might have heard about the small town, the liberal arts, and yellow-brick campus, but there’s so much more to experience as a Hillsdale student. You know you go to Hillsdale when. . .

1. You’ve choreographed a dance number with your dorm.

During Homecoming week, all the dorms participate in a dance competition we call Mock Rock. What better way to bond than performing in front of the rest of the student body?

2. Dr. Arnn has asked you about “the good.”

The president of the College, Dr. Larry Arnn, makes a point of frequenting the student union and dining hall to talk with students. He often asks how your studies have informed your conception of “the good.” You might want to brainstorm a couple of answers in advance.

3. You’ve weathered a Michigan winter.

Making it through your first winter in Michigan is a kind of rite-of-passage. If you’ve never experienced a real winter (blizzards and all), I promise you can do it! Anywhere from November to sometimes March, Hillsdale students bundle up and go sledding.

4. All your professors know you personally.

With most classes below thirty students, by the second week, your professors will know your name and recognize your face. Some of the brightest moments of my last semester have been visiting my professors’ office hours and chatting with them about student life, future plans, and sometimes about class.

5. You’ve visited Hell.

I don’t mean finals week. With a nod toward Dante’s Divine Comedy, the bottom floor of Mossey library is called Hell, and as the quietest floor, it’s the best place to knock out a long paper. (The other two floors are Purgatory and Heaven.)

6. Everyone wants to take the hardest professors’ classes.

On registration day, it’s always a competition to sign up for the hardest professors’ classes before your classmates. Hillsdale students love learning from teachers who will push them. Strength rejoices in the challenge, am I right?

7. You’ve signed the Honor Code.

Every incoming freshman signs the Honor Code, pledging self-discipline, honesty, and perseverance. It creates an atmosphere of trust and respect on campus. You’ll never need to ask someone to watch your things.

8. You’ve read The Collegian.

And you’ve participated in campus-wide debates about the journalists’ articles. At Hillsdale, we take our campus newspaper seriously. With articles ranging from campus news to op-eds about current events, it deserves the read.

9. You pass Maggie Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Abe Lincoln on the way to class.

Hillsdale College’s campus is home to a number of statues of historic figures who embody liberty and justice. Look for Frederick Douglas, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and George Washington, too.

10. You’ve posted a picture of Central Hall on your social media.

We’re proud of our beautiful campus, and we like to give it the media attention it deserves. On a snowy afternoon or a sunny morning, Central Hall demands a photo shoot. The massive clock face has graced countless students’ Instagram pages.

At some point during your freshman year, you’ll look at yourself and your friends and realize that you really are Hillsdale students. You love the traditions, and you’ve embraced the culture of learning in community. In your four years here, you’ll keep learning about our quirks and traditions, and you’ll come to appreciate Hillsdale even more than you did in the beginning.


Emily Marsh, ’23, studies Economics and Mathematics. She is a self-diagnosed coffee addict and she loves the water, meeting new people, and writing (on the good days). Her favorite part of being on campus is people watching when she’s supposed to be doing homework.


Published in May 2020



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