Enrollment at Hillsdale College Reportedly Surged During COVID Pandemic
“I’ve been at Hillsdale for three weeks, and life here is blissfully normal”
How fascinating. One of the only openly conservative schools in the country is defying the odds. How could this be?
While other schools struggle, Hillsdale College enrollment has surged during COVID-19. Here’s why
The first fall semester of the COVID-19 pandemic saw mixed enrollment results for Michigan liberal arts colleges.
Overall, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities schools saw a 4% decline from fall 2019 to 2020, according to vice president Colby Cesaro. At Hillsdale College, first-year enrollment very slightly decreased by less than 1% during that timespan, according to data provided by the college.
It was typical of the last decade, which has been up-and-down for the traditionally white, Christian college in rural Hillsdale County. First year enrollment never went above 391 students and bottomed out at 361 in 2020.
But that trend changed in a big way the next year, as enrollment surged by 16% in fall 2021 at the school of 1,500. That was buoyed by a 53% increase in applications during the same timeframe.
Students cite two reasons for their interest in Hillsdale College — less stringent COVID-19 policies and a classical education curriculum that sets the college apart from its peers.
Hillsdale College has a COVID-19 vaccination policy based on personal choice. Mask-wearing in classes is at the discretion of professors and has been recommended rather than required. The college ended the fall 2020 semester virtually, but has returned to in-person teaching ever since.
Support for these policies was reinforced in a January blog post by sophomore Jane Kitchen on former New York Times op-ed editor Bari Weiss’ platform Common Sense. She detailed her transfer to Hillsdale from the Pennsylvania-based all women’s Bryn Mawr College.
“I’ve been at Hillsdale for three weeks, and life here is blissfully normal,” Kitchen wrote. “I have sorority sisters. We get together and study and play board games. The student union and dining hall are packed. No one asks anyone else’s vaccine status. There are no mask mandates, and no mandatory COVID testing. You’ll see an occasional student in a mask but no one thinks anything of it.”
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Theory: In times of high stress, Conservative organizations, institutions and geographic areas, deal better than Liberal or neutral ones. This is probably because Conservatives value results over saying the “right” things.
Therefore, during an event like the covid pandemic, many people who normally would not prefer a Conservative alternative gravitate towards it anyway because of the urge to protect themselves and their families.
This means that as the crisis wanes, so should the tendency to move toward Conservatism. A few will stay behind, having learned an important life lesson (or simply from inertia). But many, perceiving themselves as now safe, will go back to accepting and even parroting whatever the popular winds blow their way.
“This is probably because Conservatives value results over saying the “right” things.”
Or maybe because people whose only touchstone of what is “right” is the ephemeral standard of what other people are saying, have a harder time making sure what that is, plus the fear of it arbitrarily changing afterward.
Yeah, Hillsdale! If I were younger, I would be clamoring to get in. The same for the Barney Charter schools. So much better than normal public school curriculums! (Curricula sounds too much like Funiculla, and starts me singing the old song!)
Hillsdale is a real college where students get a real education and emerge as American citizens with an appreciation of the greatness of the founding documents that protect all of us, and disdains the PC and woke world view that is pervading many other universities
It’s incredible what freedom can do. Copious amounts of knowledge, guided by Conservative principles will allow our country to flourish. Market forces, under the Constitution is unstoppable.