Why I Chose Hillsdale – Crystal Schupbach
I applied to eleven schools before settling on Hillsdale. Despite the harsh connotation, “settling” is actually the word I would use to describe how I felt about choosing Hillsdale leading up to the May 1 deadline. I was not settling because I could do better, but because I felt like I was compromising myself. I later found I was sorely wrong.
I wanted to play tennis in college. I probably didn’t approach the recruiting situation properly and found that I was not able to play at Hillsdale, my number one school up until that point. I did not want to give up that piece of my life; I lived for playing tennis competitively, so I looked elsewhere to fulfill my dreams.
I received emails from a few schools inquiring about my interest to play there; I sent a few emails out to colleges, and I applied to a couple of them. I think I applied to a few of the other eleven schools simply out of spite. I wouldn’t even be able to play tennis there, but they seemed much more exciting than Hillsdale, Michigan. The scenes in Tampa, Syracuse, Ann Arbor, and Nashville piqued my interest, but the farms and abandoned mill in Hillsdale did not.
However, as the day to make a decision encroached upon me, something about my three visits to Hillsdale stood out to me. Something that made me look past the fact that I’d no longer play on a tennis team, or that I might not be able to relax by palm trees while studying for finals.
I remembered that in ninth grade when we were sharing the latest fashion and advice blogs in group chats, I still found time to read Hillsdale’s Imprimis, which my dad always left on my desk. I looked forward to watching recordings of the Glenn Beck program after getting out of tennis practice.
I was a smart aleck who once ordered a Latin workbook on Amazon to attempt teaching herself another language in the middle of Spanish class because she didn’t find coloring in a high-school class to be an efficient use of time.
On my visits to Hillsdale, it was never about focusing on just the scenery or social atmosphere. I noticed that people seemed happy to be in class. Heads were nodding, not only because they understood the material, but because some were clearly sleep deprived—which was to be expected; after all, they were real eighteen, nineteen, twenty-somethings. They were also having good discussion, and some even seemed annoyingly smart. The professors knew every student by name.
The students knew how to have fun even in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, which showed significant character to me. Each of the three student ambassadors who hosted me led colorful lives at Hillsdale. Some were in sororities; others led clubs and intramural teams.
I had a realization on April 30 that I would actually be compromising myself if I didn’t make a holistic choice. Other colleges had a lot to offer, but I was finding them attractive because of one specific factor: either their location, their social appeal, or tennis. I wasn’t looking at their true character. And once I finally did, I knew I had to go to Hillsdale College.
Crystal Schupbach, ’20, is a Michigan native studying psychology and journalism. A few of her favorite things include dogs, summertime concerts, and garage sales–in that order.