Jump to content

Menu

Word of caution about Hillsdale College


Lyn
 Share

Recommended Posts

For many years we had great admiration for Hillsdale college and what they were all about...that is until we looked more closely. I thought I would share these thoughts since so many homeschool families consider Hillsdale.

 

My ds was accepted early app. he was pretty sure that was where he wanted to go (probably because he knew so many others there), but we placed deposits with other schools that he was accepted to just in case. In the end we are glad we did.

 

Our first visit (prior to acceptance) was for his interview. It was ok, but not impressive. The student that gave him the tour was a quite pompus theology major. The admissions officer we met with was equally unimpressive. He had graduated the June before and had an arrogant attitude. He was also very lazy when it came to following up on email questions over the next few months. Other parents I spoke to in our hs circles had issues with this guy as well. He lost one boy's letters of application twice. Maybe it's me, but I prefer dealing with a mature adult when exploring a college's offerings.

 

I figured that admittance officer had gotten his job because he had graduated and couldn't find anything else so the school, wanting to keep up its employment numbers up, gave him a job in admissions. However, a friend with a child who graduated last year told me that the admissions people are actually 'hand picked' from the graduating class. Apparently, the school feels that it is a duty and an honor for these graduates to serve the school in a low paying admissions job for a year after graduation. Sooo, this is one of their better students.

 

The other thing I have to mention here, which was rather funny, but in a bizarre kind of way. The admissions secretary had made herself up to look exactly like Sarah Palin. She had the glasses and the hair...obviously this was quite intentional.

 

The next time we went there it was for my son's overnight visit. I stayed in town at a bed & breakfast (because on our first visit we stayed on campus at the Dow and came home with bug bites). I spent some time in town talking with some of the business owners and just checking out the local offerings. What I gained from my conversations with some of the business people is that the students from Hillsdale treat the town's people rather rudely. Again, that pompous attitude. Apparently, the towns people are referred to as "Townies"by the students, and the locals find it rather derogatory. They also shared with me that Hillsdale's main goal is to produce a US president.

 

I also made inquires about cafeteria related issues because my son has food sensitivities. The first time I made inquires by email to the dining service manager (per instruction from the admissions officer). These went unanswered. Upon my second visit I spoke directly with him. He seemed evasive and not forthcoming. When we visited the school recently for an event I found that he had actually misrepresented some of the facts.

 

If you are interested in the food area, here are some of the facts I unearthed: The offerings for wheat/gluten sensitive students is limited to mostly stir-fry's. They are stingy as to who will qualify to receive that food. If you have an Rx from a chiropractor they will not accept that (only rx's form medical doctors). Apparently, they get angry because some students on the special diet have been seen eating wheat products. I guess they don't understand there are degrees of sensitivity. They also use vegetable cooking oils with trans-fats in almost everything and milk offered there includes Rbgh. I also noticed that the salad bar was mostly iceberg lettuce with a tiny bit of mixed greens scattered throughout. Oh, and I must say that my persistent inquiries were not well received.

 

Had this been the only college cafeteria I looked at in such great detail, I might have concluded that all college food would be similar, but that is not what I found from visiting other small liberal arts colleges.

 

As far as placement after graduation, the placement department is almost nonexistent. An acquaintance's daughter graduated last summer and she says that the placement department is just a couple of older ladies that don't do much. Her daughter ended up with a good job, but through no effort of the placement department.

 

In reviewing an on-line rating service for donors they seemed to be ranked lower than other similar institutions. One of the the things they lack is a whistle-blower policy. Not surprising. My impression is that they wouldn't want anyone around declaring that the "king has no clothes".

 

The curriculum is the most appealing thing about the school, but after looking at other conservative liberal arts school's curriculum, it dawned on me that you could put the same type of core curriculum together with classes from English and political science departments.

 

So overall, I was left with the impression that Hillsdale is a facade with not a lot of substance behind it. It does not seem to be an institution that promotes humility and independent thinking. Also, it seems that they cut corners wherever they can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 134
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Different folks can have VERY different experiences at the same college.

 

My older two went to the same college only one year apart and had wildly different experiences. I went to the same college as my SIL and a good friend -- I transferred out ASAP and still remember the college with a cringe, but my SIL and friend had great experiences there.

 

So we need to be careful to remember that our experience of a college, while worth sharing, will be different from everyone else's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ds is still trying to decide between three remaining schools. Hoping he does this on time because I don't want to lose deposits.

 

Yes, I was quite surprised by our experience too. I do know that they have been advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show and have had quite a response. After all, they only have approx. 300 openings.

 

We were told that they have become so selective that many of their top students from two or three years ago would not be admitted now. So perhaps they are starting to feel quite elite, but there is really no excuse for the attitudes displayed. We toured both University of Chicago and University of Michigan and the contacts we had at both of these seemed very intelligent, but not pretentious.

 

As far as the food, I don't think the students complain of it being bad. Those we know that attend there have said that after awhile they do tire of it because the selection is rather limited. As a parent, I have a problem with them cutting corners. Fast food restaurants have made more of an attempt to make their food healthy than Hillsdale's dining room This may be the result of them trying to keep tuition low in an economy of rising food prices, but if that is the case they should have been candid. The evasiveness was a real turn off.

 

One person I actually spoke with from town had worked at the school for over ten years. This person seemed to be of the same opinion (in regards to student attitudes towards towns people) even though they dealt with the students on a regular basis.

 

I think what really stuck me was the contrast between my interactions with Hillsdale and my interactions with other schools. Honestly, it was night and day. JMHO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admissions offices have notoriously high turnover. When I was in college the faces in admissions changed constantly other than the head, and she obviously didn't do much one-on-one. They lost my information multiple times, but I still love that school 30+ years later. It was worth dealing with them.

 

I was the head dormitory assistant there, and frequently went to admissions to get the names and phone numbers of parents and students who wanted to talk about dorms, the food service, picking roommates, etc. etc. I always did my best to answer their questions and address their concerns, but even working there, I didn't always know every detail about the campus, and sometimes I'd get information from a staffer than contradicted how it really was. And sometimes dorms would change because of who lived there, who the resident assistant was, etc. Or the cafeteria manager would quit, and it would be totally different behind the scenes.

 

And the town hated the college. Truly. Part of it was that the cultures of the two were miles apart, but part of it was deserved. Many college towns are not that fond of college students. That wouldn't bother me frankly.

 

First impressions are important and some of the things listed would give me pause, but others are pretty typical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is always good to read diverse opinions. Your experience points to three things 1. Visits are crucially important. 2. Don't be afraid to ask really specific questions. 3. Listen to your gut. If you have a bad feeling about it, that's important to listen to. The fact that a school that a school has prestige means nothing if your student isn't happy there.

 

Not that you owe it to them, but I bet the director of admissions would appreciate hearing about your experiences and the lack of responsiveness of various people on campus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many college towns are not that fond of college students. That wouldn't bother me frankly.

 

:iagree:

 

See, for example, the movie "Breaking Away" :001_smile:. And in Oxford (England) there was a two-day battle between town and gown in 1355. On a more relevant note, some 'town' resentment of the college kids would be normal; animosity, however, would be a red flag.

 

 

First impressions are important and some of the things listed would give me pause, but others are pretty typical.

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent some time in town talking with some of the business owners and just checking out the local offerings. What I gained from my conversations with some of the business people is that the students from Hillsdale treat the town's people rather rudely. Again, that pompous attitude. Apparently, the towns people are referred to as "Townies"by the students, and the locals find it rather derogatory.

 

I think you might find similar issues between 'town and gown' in many university towns.

 

Laura

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you a troll? I'm sorry, but you're a very new poster whom the rest of us don't "know." Most of your 16 posts have been extremely short. Then suddenly you write a long, long post bashing Hillsdale?

 

Even if everything you say is correct -- and I don't have a dog in this fight at all -- it's still a little weird that you would show up here and almost immediately slam a college that has always been fairly well-respected on these boards. Do you not have ANYTHING nice to say about the school?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you a troll? I'm sorry, but you're a very new poster whom the rest of us don't "know." Most of your 16 posts have been extremely short. Then suddenly you write a long, long post bashing Hillsdale?

 

Even if everything you say is correct -- and I don't have a dog in this fight at all -- it's still a little weird that you would show up here and almost immediately slam a college that has always been fairly well-respected on these boards. Do you not have ANYTHING nice to say about the school?

 

Would a troll really wait almost four years? She joined in Sept 2008.

 

My guess is that her post is genuine. I just wish the internet had been around years ago as it would have made college shopping so much easier than just looking through those volumes of one page blurbs. I'm sure that others have had wonderful experiences there - it really is helpful to hear about all types of experiences. I think it's human nature to talk more at length about the negative ones. :tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not only that, but Grosse Pointe (where you supposedly live) is within easy driving distance of Hillsdale. Why would you have needed to stay at a bed and breakfast?

 

A great deal of what you complain about in your post is so petty. You don't like someone's hair and eyeglasses. You want every food allergy and sensitivity to be catered to. (BTW, most schools can't do this. There are just too many allergies and sensitivities out there for a school to please everyone.) You don't approve of the salad bar. You don't like someone's attitude. You got bug bites. (Guess what -- every building and home in the world has bugs somewhere, and many people get some sort of insect bites when they sleep. It's very normal.) The curriculum isn't good enough for you. Hillsdale wants to produce a U.S. President -- how wrong of them!

 

Why on earth did your son apply early decision to this NEARBY school if you hate it so much?? Did you not investigate it before he applied? If I were the college administrator I would escort you off campus personally and ask you never to come back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sixteen posts, Teachin'Mine. And several of them were "bump" posts.

 

I have no affiliation with Hillsdale at all, but it is very clear that "Lyn" has an agenda. I appreciate well-thought-out reviews of places and events. Lyn had almost nothing of substance to say -- her remarks were just catty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sixteen posts, Teachin'Mine. And several of them were "bump" posts.

 

I have no affiliation with Hillsdale at all, but it is very clear that "Lyn" has an agenda. I appreciate well-thought-out reviews of places and events. Lyn had almost nothing of substance to say -- her remarks were just catty.

 

It just boggles the mind that someone would actually plan something like this three years in advance. :tongue_smilie: Definitely doesn't make sense why a b&b was needed as Grosse Point is within easy driving distance. And to think I'd never heard of Hillsdale until this post. The campus looks beautiful!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you click on the Imprimis link, they will send you a free monthly newsletter, usually the text of a speech given at the college or at a convention. Many of the readings in Notgrass's Exploring Government course are Imprimis articles.

 

I agree that many of the students who would have been accepted a number of years ago would now no longer be accepted. The college came to the realization that their retention was low. The students they were accepting were not capable of the high level of academic work. So, they made the concerted effort to raise their ACT scores by a huge jump. Just their Honors Program ACT score went from a 30 to a 32, with a corresponding raise for scholarships. Their retention numbers went from somewhere in the 70s to the 90s if my memory serves me well. As a sidenote, their swim team improved a great deal too... :D

 

I think the statement that previous students wouldn't be admitted now is possible at a wide range of colleges. As the supply of college students goes up, many colleges are able to become more selective.

 

I know that USNA is far more selective now than 20 or even 8 years ago.

 

If the college reps I've seen at college fairs are anything to go by, young recent grads are at many colleges. Much of what they say ought be taken with a grain of salt. As should the statements of older btdt admissions reps. It is as easy to lose sight of routine student life as it is to not understand the questions of applicants because of lack of context and experience.

 

But I'm glad for the op and her ds that they realized that Hillsdale wasn't a match before it was time to move in. That is a great goal for a visit. imho.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would a troll really wait almost four years? She joined in Sept 2008.

 

My guess is that her post is genuine.

 

Agree, and wish people wouldn't be so quick to accuse 'troll.' Some people do a lot more reading than posting, just as IRL some are more listeners than talkers.

 

Full Disclosure: Years ago (old board, different username) I was deeply hurt by the 'troll' accusation the one and only time I posted seeking help for a sensitive issue with one of my children. So frankly, I admit to getting angry when I see the accusation, especially when it's as ludicrous as this one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For many years we had great admiration for Hillsdale college and what they were all about...that is until we looked more closely. I thought I would share these thoughts since so many homeschool families consider Hillsdale.

 

My ds was accepted early app. he was pretty sure that was where he wanted to go (probably because he knew so many others there), but we placed deposits with other schools that he was accepted to just in case. In the end we are glad we did.

 

Our first visit (prior to acceptance) was for his interview. It was ok, but not impressive. The student that gave him the tour was a quite pompus theology major. The admissions officer we met with was equally unimpressive. He had graduated the June before and had an arrogant attitude. He was also very lazy when it came to following up on email questions over the next few months. Other parents I spoke to in our hs circles had issues with this guy as well. He lost one boy's letters of application twice. Maybe it's me, but I prefer dealing with a mature adult when exploring a college's offerings.

 

I figured that admittance officer had gotten his job because he had graduated and couldn't find anything else so the school, wanting to keep up its employment numbers up, gave him a job in admissions. However, a friend with a child who graduated last year told me that the admissions people are actually 'hand picked' from the graduating class. Apparently, the school feels that it is a duty and an honor for these graduates to serve the school in a low paying admissions job for a year after graduation. Sooo, this is one of their better students.

 

The other thing I have to mention here, which was rather funny, but in a bizarre kind of way. The admissions secretary had made herself up to look exactly like Sarah Palin. She had the glasses and the hair...obviously this was quite intentional.

 

The next time we went there it was for my son's overnight visit. I stayed in town at a bed & breakfast (because on our first visit we stayed on campus at the Dow and came home with bug bites). I spent some time in town talking with some of the business owners and just checking out the local offerings. What I gained from my conversations with some of the business people is that the students from Hillsdale treat the town's people rather rudely. Again, that pompous attitude. Apparently, the towns people are referred to as "Townies"by the students, and the locals find it rather derogatory. They also shared with me that Hillsdale's main goal is to produce a US president.

 

I also made inquires about cafeteria related issues because my son has food sensitivities. The first time I made inquires by email to the dining service manager (per instruction from the admissions officer). These went unanswered. Upon my second visit I spoke directly with him. He seemed evasive and not forthcoming. When we visited the school recently for an event I found that he had actually misrepresented some of the facts.

 

If you are interested in the food area, here are some of the facts I unearthed: The offerings for wheat/gluten sensitive students is limited to mostly stir-fry's. They are stingy as to who will qualify to receive that food. If you have an Rx from a chiropractor they will not accept that (only rx's form medical doctors). Apparently, they get angry because some students on the special diet have been seen eating wheat products. I guess they don't understand there are degrees of sensitivity. They also use vegetable cooking oils with trans-fats in almost everything and milk offered there includes Rbgh. I also noticed that the salad bar was mostly iceberg lettuce with a tiny bit of mixed greens scattered throughout. Oh, and I must say that my persistent inquiries were not well received.

 

Had this been the only college cafeteria I looked at in such great detail, I might have concluded that all college food would be similar, but that is not what I found from visiting other small liberal arts colleges.

 

As far as placement after graduation, the placement department is almost nonexistent. An acquaintance's daughter graduated last summer and she says that the placement department is just a couple of older ladies that don't do much. Her daughter ended up with a good job, but through no effort of the placement department.

 

In reviewing an on-line rating service for donors they seemed to be ranked lower than other similar institutions. One of the the things they lack is a whistle-blower policy. Not surprising. My impression is that they wouldn't want anyone around declaring that the "king has no clothes".

 

The curriculum is the most appealing thing about the school, but after looking at other conservative liberal arts school's curriculum, it dawned on me that you could put the same type of core curriculum together with classes from English and political science departments.

 

So overall, I was left with the impression that Hillsdale is a facade with not a lot of substance behind it. It does not seem to be an institution that promotes humility and independent thinking. Also, it seems that they cut corners wherever they can.

 

I appreciate your candor. It is not easy being able to see right through the rose colored glasses in order to call it as you saw it. I happen to share a different political and theological standpoint from you but that said we have had similar disappointments . St John's much??! We covered their dead white male curricula years ago and are certainly not paying for our daughter to learn the same thing again. But our friends, many of whom are among its graduates, sang its praises endlessly. You have to call it as you see it. Your goal is to find the best place for your young adult and Hillsdale did not fit. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate your candor. It is not easy being able to see right through the rose colored glasses in order to call it as you saw it. You have to call it as you see it. Your goal is to find the best place for your young adult and Hillsdale did not fit. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

 

:iagree: I hope others will not be intimidated into NOT sharing contrary opinions or bad experiences because of the reception your post has received.

Edited by Yolanda in Mass
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent some time in town talking with some of the business owners and just checking out the local offerings. What I gained from my conversations with some of the business people is that the students from Hillsdale treat the town's people rather rudely. Again, that pompous attitude. Apparently, the towns people are referred to as "Townies"by the students, and the locals find it rather derogatory.

 

I think you might find similar issues between 'town and gown' in many university towns.

 

Laura

 

I concur, most university/college towns have problems between the townies and the school kids. The first time I heard it was at Smith.

 

Having grown up as a "Townie", lived as a student in two different university towns and having lived as an adult near other institutions I have come to the conclusion that this is a universal feeling.

 

There is tension between locals and the student population nearly everywhere. While it can often be driven by the actions of the institution it can also be driven by the actions of the students. Living in a small(ish) town or city with a disproportionatly large, seasonal population of young adults is difficult. Sometimes the locals forget how much that population and that institution support their economy and create opportunities and only remember the last "riot" of over zealous fans after a sports event or noisy frat party/bar hop. I doubt you will find too many places where there isn't some tension-especially in places small enough that the university is the main local "industry".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow!! A lot has been said since my last post. First of all, for those who suggested others on campus to contact, thank you. However, we already went up the chain of command and did not get what we felt were appropriate responses.

 

Next, to those who think that my concerns are petty, that is your right. These things are important to me and perhaps because of my professional background (I routinely perform due diligence engagements for clients along with management consulting engagements) some of the things that I was seeing, along with the fashion in which my inquires were handled, raised red flags in my mind about the integrity of leadership at the college.

 

Also, the same questions were asked of all schools we looked at and the response at Hillsdale was very different.

 

For those who are suggesting that I am a troll, I have probably been on this board longer then many of you. I was a member of this board before it was changed over to this new format. Perhaps a moderator with access to Susan's site can verify this information.

 

Because I am a busy homeschool mom and a working professional, I rarely take time to post. I will do a search if I am looking for some particular info., but, in fact, do little posting. Actually, I posted much more on the old board because hs was new to me at the time.

 

I really felt compelled to post my experience because I was so disgusted and I was curious to see if anyone had similar experiences. Over the years I have known several families that sent their children to Hillsdale and it was only in the last year that I have heard some griping from families that I know.

 

Last, but not least, for those who must know why I would stay over when I lived only two hrs. from the college: First visit we had an early appt. with admissions. Second visit, my son was staying overnight so it saved me an extra trip and gave me time to look around in town.

 

To conclude, I hope this info. will be useful to others in their college search process whether or not you are considering Hillsdale. It has certainly taught me that just because you think you know an institution you should always do your own due diligence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never like to post on threads like these. However, just because Hillsdale has had a good reputation with this board it doesn't meant it is for everyone. AS Gwen in VA (I think it was her) said, college experiences are different for everyone.

 

I respect those of you who have had or are having good experiences with it and/or whose children will be attending.

I personally have friends that had to bring their student home after first year. I know of other families with similar stories. I will not go into detail. It was not about the college food.

This is not to bash Hillsdale. Simply a statement that we need to consider all opinions.

 

That is why college visits are necessary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's possible that the experiences of OP differed so much from others because she was focused on different things. When we look at colleges, the food, appearance of admissions staff, hotel accommodations, and opinion of local townsfolk don't figure very heavily (if at all.) The placement services and admissions department only come in at the middle of the list. We tend to look mostly at the strength of the curriculum, the credentials and availability of professors, the class sizes, the labs, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow!! A lot has been said since my last post. First of all, for those who suggested others on campus to contact, thank you. However, we already went up the chain of command and did not get what we felt were appropriate responses.

 

Next, to those who think that my concerns are petty, that is your right. These things are important to me and perhaps because of my professional background (I routinely perform due diligence engagements for clients along with management consulting engagements) some of the things that I was seeing, along with the fashion in which my inquires were handled, raised red flags in my mind about the integrity of leadership at the college.

 

Also, the same questions were asked of all schools we looked at and the response at Hillsdale was very different.

 

For those who are suggesting that I am a troll, I have probably been on this board longer then many of you. I was a member of this board before it was changed over to this new format. Perhaps a moderator with access to Susan's site can verify this information.

 

Because I am a busy homeschool mom and a working professional, I rarely take time to post. I will do a search if I am looking for some particular info., but, in fact, do little posting. Actually, I posted much more on the old board because hs was new to me at the time.

 

I really felt compelled to post my experience because I was so disgusted and I was curious to see if anyone had similar experiences. Over the years I have known several families that sent their children to Hillsdale and it was only in the last year that I have heard some griping from families that I know.

 

Last, but not least, for those who must know why I would stay over when I lived only two hrs. from the college: First visit we had an early appt. with admissions. Second visit, my son was staying overnight so it saved me an extra trip and gave me time to look around in town.

 

To conclude, I hope this info. will be useful to others in their college search process whether or not you are considering Hillsdale. It has certainly taught me that just because you think you know an institution you should always do your own due diligence.

 

Thank you for explaining what you never should have had to explain to begin with. :tongue_smilie: Sorry for my part in this. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. If you have time in the future, would love to see reviews on the other colleges. I find the reviews given here so helpful as I've never even heard of some of the colleges people have visited.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I gained from my conversations with some of the business people is that the students from Hillsdale treat the town's people rather rudely. Again, that pompous attitude. Apparently, the towns people are referred to as "Townies"by the students, and the locals find it rather derogatory.

 

I have never been to a private school or college where this wasn't the case. I attended two private high schools in different states (one a boarding school) and the locals were called townies and there was tension between the two groups.

 

In college it was the same-- the businesses surrounding the institution have a love hate relationship with the students because they depend on them for income but the same snobbish dynamic is present.

 

I've never visited a college that didn't have this tension to some degree.

 

I also would never judge an academic institution based so heavily on the food services.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did have to chuckle at Lyn's comments about the glasses and hairdo. The previous adcom (who was FANTASTIC--she got together with dd and found classes for her senior year that would transfer) had orange hair. Maybe it's something about Central Hall???? :lol:

 

<tongue in cheek> I wear glasses. I have shoulder length brown hair. The day I could get my mirror to report that I look as "put together" as SP would be a day of rejoicing. I can think of far worse things. : )

Edited by Valerie(TX)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little off topic but just gotta say we just finished the free Constitution 101 class offered by Hillsdale and it was fantastic! :thumbup: Maybe 'distance learning' is the way to go? :lol:

 

As far as the op's issues go, I probably would have omitted the bit about the Palin lookalike and the townie thing though because it detracts from some of the more important issues. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess is that her post is genuine. I just wish the internet had been around years ago as it would have made college shopping so much easier than just looking through those volumes of one page blurbs. I'm sure that others have had wonderful experiences there - it really is helpful to hear about all types of experiences. I think it's human nature to talk more at length about the negative ones. :tongue_smilie:

 

I too wish the internet had been around. I had the misfortune of visiting a college with a small classics department while the department head (big misogynist) was away and one post was held by a visiting professor. Additional information would have changed my decision about where to go, and I might have ended up in a school that wasn't still packed full of professors unhappy about the decision to admit women.

 

I'll confess that my longest reviews on Amazon are of products and books that have given me particularly bad experiences. I know it's a failing, but I'm still working on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never been to a private school or college where this wasn't the case. I attended two private high schools in different states (one a boarding school) and the locals were called townies and there was tension between the two groups.

 

In college it was the same-- the businesses surrounding the institution have a love hate relationship with the students because they depend on them for income but the same snobbish dynamic is present.

 

I've never visited a college that didn't have this tension to some degree.

 

I also would never judge an academic institution based so heavily on the food services.

 

Funny, I remember having the opposite town vs student dynamic in my undergraduate days. But said town was not only a waterfront community ouside DC, but was also the state capitol. There were some big movers and shakers in that city and many of them thought that the students were cute tourist attractions at best or low spenders taking up table space or heavy drinkers to milk as much cash from as quickly as possible or the source of front page scandal articles. All of which were slightly factual and none of which contained the whole truth. (I wonder if students at the other school had similar experiences.)

 

Oddly enough, the worst Town/Student relationship I experienced was in Newport RI. There were some fantastic shop owners off the beaten track. But it was also the only place where I ever felt that I was being actually insulted by a shop owner. In this case, the students were naval officers and the preferred customers were wealthy vacationers from NYC.

 

ETA: I've also read of some communities where the students' registering to vote locally (rather than absentee where they grew up) is not taken well by the residents. It can really sway an election and the tenor of the town. And I think there can be a perception in some areas that the town has to pay a lot for things that benefit students/the school but that may not be of much direct benefit to residents. Much depends on the locality.

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have three children and only my youngest has food allergies. (In fact, she is my most allergic child and the only one who has had repeated anaphalactic reactions or any anaphalactic reactions at all).

 

I am well aware that many colleges will not have appropriate food for my youngest. She has an allergy to a fairly common food preservative that is common in a lot of baked goods, vegetable oils, and various processed foods. In fact5 it is even more common in so-called health food or natural foods because is is a natural preservative. So we will have issues. Right now, her top choice is one of the few smaller schools that we know is able to handle her allergies. She is going to be attending a summer program there and before we gave them our money, we made sure they could handle her allergies. On the other hand, I would be thinking a college was stupid if it accepted chiropracter's notes about food allergies. Food allergies need to be handled by an allergist, either an MD or an OD but certainly someone who not only went to medical school but also got the further training in immunology. I would expext that celiac patients would have notes from gastroentereologists. It is the same thing as when you expect accommodations with other special needs. The college is well within its rights to ask for a specialist to make the report. FOr my other daughter's disabilities, we needed to have a neuro-psych report from the last three years. We didn't have to do it but without it she wouldn't have received the help she has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have three children and only my youngest has food allergies. (In fact, she is my most allergic child and the only one who has had repeated anaphalactic reactions or any anaphalactic reactions at all).

 

I am well aware that many colleges will not have appropriate food for my youngest. She has an allergy to a fairly common food preservative that is common in a lot of baked goods, vegetable oils, and various processed foods. In fact5 it is even more common in so-called health food or natural foods because is is a natural preservative. So we will have issues. Right now, her top choice is one of the few smaller schools that we know is able to handle her allergies. She is going to be attending a summer program there and before we gave them our money, we made sure they could handle her allergies. On the other hand, I would be thinking a college was stupid if it accepted chiropracter's notes about food allergies. Food allergies need to be handled by an allergist, either an MD or an OD but certainly someone who not only went to medical school but also got the further training in immunology. I would expext that celiac patients would have notes from gastroentereologists. It is the same thing as when you expect accommodations with other special needs. The college is well within its rights to ask for a specialist to make the report. FOr my other daughter's disabilities, we needed to have a neuro-psych report from the last three years. We didn't have to do it but without it she wouldn't have received the help she has.

 

 

Chris:

 

When it comes to wheat/gluten issues there are allergies and sensitivities. Both can have devastating effects. Below is a link to a Wall Street Journal article that discusses this issue. The original article in the paper had a very interesting chart that divided up the effects that wheat/gluten had on those sensitive. Some of these effects include neurological effects in one segment of individuals, intestinal in others, etc. Unfortunately, I think the on-line version isn't quite as informative as it might be had it included all this info.

 

As far as the rx goes we could supply one because we have an integrative dr. who is experienced in these issues. Unfortunately, there are those out there that may not have access to an integrative dr. and are diagnosed by a chiropractor who is knowledgeable. The bottom line is, as you will see in the article, that for some people simply eliminating it will make a big difference in their health.

 

Every school we looked at was equipped to handle many types of allergies, wheat/gluten, nut, etc. All also accommodated vegetarians. I think that Hillsdale is motivated by cost savings. In general gluten free products tend to be more expensive. At no other school did they have such stingy policies or attitudes.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200393522456636.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

many of them thought that the students were cute tourist attractions at best or low spenders taking up table space or heavy drinkers to milk as much cash from as quickly as possible or the source of front page scandal articles. All of which were slightly factual and none of which contained the whole truth. (I wonder if students at the other school had similar experiences.)

 

Ditto. Except it wasn't a quaint, waterfront town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lyn, I would be extremely interested to know which school(s) meet with your total approval. Where will your son be attending next year?

 

Here are links to the dining service sites of some of the schools we considered that did an excellent job of providing for a gluten free diet and consistently offered foods that were free of trans-fats and rBGH free milk.

 

http://www.housing.umich.edu/dining/nutrition#livechat

 

http://www.cafebonappetit.com/our-approach/kitchen-principles

 

http://hope.edu/dining/

 

http://www.calvin.edu/admin/food/nutrition.html

 

Also on touring these facilities I didn't have the feeling they were cutting corners...the salad bars were full of green leafy lettuce, not iceberg lettuce and the chefs were proud of their offerings and interested in meeting our needs.

 

So for those of you who are concerned about what your child is being fed while away at school, there are a number of options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, but how about your other concerns? You seem to have issues with the conservative/political bent of Hillsdale, which is widely known and should have been known to you long before your son applied early decision. You also complained about sundry other petty things.

 

Was there any school that met your approval in *every* respect?

 

Once again, I don't have any affiliation with Hillsdale personally. A student in our church goes there, but I barely know him. However, his parents, who are quite savvy and knowledgeable and also able to afford any school's tuition, are very glad that he's going there. I know another family whose daughter went there, and they were extremely pleased. I cannot imagine that these lovely families would allow their children to go to a substandard institution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Was there any school that met your approval in *every* respect?

 

 

Frankly, I couldn't care less about Hillsdale... but Rebecca, you are getting ridiculous. "Met her approval in *every* respect?" Really?

 

I gather that, having failed in your attempt to characterize Lyn as a troll, you are now trying to convey that she is impossible to please and has unrealistic expectations... Fine.

 

Let it rest, already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Under the rules of ADA and colleges, colleges can accommodate anyone but do not have to accommodate preferences or desires. Under federal law, they do have to accommodate actual medical disabilities and to have one of those, you need to fulfill specific requirements. I went through this last year with my dd who did need accommodations and will have to go through with it in a few years with my next one who will need special diet - and one that is much harder to accommodate than even gluten. Anyone who has a child with any special needs- be it learning disability, food allergy, various illnesses or whatever, needs to start checking early for requirements of the school. Schools will often tell you what they can accommodate and what they will have trouble with. Then it is up to you. Under ADA, they all have to accommodate if they admit your student. But that doesn't mean that anyone should be choosing a school without checking the requirements and the proposed plan for your student.

 

Schools don't have to have your ideas about healthcare to comply with the law. They have to obey the ADA statutes and those say a college can require certain documentation which can include a medical degree of MD or DO. I checked at least 15 schools and none said that the documentation can be from a chiropractor. Chiropracty is also not considered dependable by the social security administration and you can't get disability with just that kind of documentation.

 

So send your student to what ever school fits him best. But we all should be visiting schools our students are interested in and you really can say the same thing about caution with all of them. Nothing you said was so remarkable. Town/college relations are an issue with many colleges. Admission personnel who aren't as helpful as you may want are also evident in many schools. I had three schools lose my dd's application materials for at least some of the time including one you lauded- University of Chicago. And talk about not having good relations with the surrounding area- U of C is a big example of that- I know since both my dh and I are graduates. Also, their food may have improved but in our day, it was horrible. I lost ten pounds in one year and became dangerously thin because I would hardly eat anything. But I don't sit here warning everyone how the neighborhoods surrounding it are downright dangerous.

 

My dd last year was accepted to many schools. SHe visited all but two. Obviously there were things about the schools she decided not to attend that made them less desirable for her. But unless some school did something drastically wrong, I wouldn't think to word a post the way you did. That is why your post was not very helpful unlike some of the other reports of colleges that I have read.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And actually I agree with Rebecca. There is no college that will meet with all of our approval and without any flaws. After all these are human institutions and humans are flawed creatures. But I think most of us can understand that something that may be important to one of us may be less important to another. So while dd and I considered her dining to be important (d weighs little and I didn't want her to be in a situation like I had been in where I lost weight in college), some people know they have less picky kids and food choices will matter less to those people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, but how about your other concerns? You seem to have issues with the conservative/political bent of Hillsdale, which is widely known and should have been known to you long before your son applied early decision. You also complained about sundry other petty things.

 

Was there any school that met your approval in *every* respect?

 

Once again, I don't have any affiliation with Hillsdale personally. A student in our church goes there, but I barely know him. However, his parents, who are quite savvy and knowledgeable and also able to afford any school's tuition, are very glad that he's going there. I know another family whose daughter went there, and they were extremely pleased. I cannot imagine that these lovely families would allow their children to go to a substandard institution.

 

School choice is a very personal decision and what is right for one family, or child, may not be right for another. I can't imagine any school will meet all the criteria for anyone. It's an issue of what is most important in the decision and which schools meet most of the criteria. As for lovely, savvy families going to Hillsdale, clearly their criteria is different than the OP's. Doesn't mean there's anything at all wrong with Hillsdale, or that it's substandard, just that this school meets their needs while it did not meet the OP's.

 

I'm just grateful that we have so many choices. Just one more factor to consider - when a school doesn't take federal monies, like Hillsdale and Grove City, they don't have to comply with certain federal requirements such as providing services for disabled students. Neither school has an office of disabilities.

 

Yolanda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, but how about your other concerns? You seem to have issues with the conservative/political bent of Hillsdale, which is widely known and should have been known to you long before your son applied early decision. You also complained about sundry other petty things.

 

.

 

I don't know the original poster but I think you may be reading something that isn't there. Two of the other schools she posted were Calvin and Hope - Calvin is more conservative than Hope, but both would accurately be characterized as Christian schools with a high percentage of political conservatives.

 

Food services may seem like a petty issue to some, but for people with kids with food intolerance or life threatening allergies it should be a major consideration.

 

I guess I'm not really understanding the direction this thread seems to have taken. Different students and different families look for different things in colleges and that is as it should be. If your student is interested in studying lab sciences the research facilities may be the most important factor you consider, where they may not even be a blip on the radar of the future history major. That's why there are thousands of colleges and we all need to make individual decisions. However, when there are so many colleges out there it helps to be able to read reviews and gain insights into what to look for at different schools. Some reviews are going to be more relevant to a particular family than others and that's as it should be, but I hate for people to feel like if they post a strong opinion that they will be attacked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Under the rules of ADA and colleges, colleges can accommodate anyone but do not have to accommodate preferences or desires. Under federal law, they do have to accommodate actual medical disabilities and to have one of those, you need to fulfill specific requirements.

 

I'm still really new to the world of accomodations, since we're just now dealing with it with our oldest (dyslexia), so I could be way off-base on this, but the way I read the ADA I'm not sure Hillsdale would be required to accommodate a student since they receive no federal funding. It's one of my big concerns regarding Hillsdale and something we'll be looking into very closely when we visit this summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still really new to the world of accomodations, since we're just now dealing with it with our oldest (dyslexia), so I could be way off-base on this, but the way I read the ADA I'm not sure Hillsdale would be required to accommodate a student since they receive no federal funding. It's one of my big concerns regarding Hillsdale and something we'll be looking into very closely when we visit this summer.

 

The way I understand it the answer is: no. Although Grove City is an excellent school, I realized that it would not be a good choice for my son who has ADHD when I called them to inquire about their disabilities services. The very nice person at the switchboard said a Mrs. Whatever handles that but they do not have a disabilities services office. Sometimes schools without experienced professionals have a very simplistic, uniformed understanding of the different disabilities students have and what services they need. Simply having a lower teacher to student ratio is not necessarily the answer.

 

Yolanda

 

PS -I took a look at Hillsdale's website and couldn't find any mention either. Interestingly, when I searched the website I found that their high school doesn't either. Their approach to learning disabilities is: lower teacher to student ratio using "traditional teaching methods".

Edited by Yolanda in Mass
additional information
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the original poster but I think you may be reading something that isn't there. Two of the other schools she posted were Calvin and Hope - Calvin is more conservative than Hope, but both would accurately be characterized as Christian schools with a high percentage of political conservatives.

 

Food services may seem like a petty issue to some, but for people with kids with food intolerance or life threatening allergies it should be a major consideration.

 

I guess I'm not really understanding the direction this thread seems to have taken. Different students and different families look for different things in colleges and that is as it should be. If your student is interested in studying lab sciences the research facilities may be the most important factor you consider, where they may not even be a blip on the radar of the future history major. That's why there are thousands of colleges and we all need to make individual decisions. However, when there are so many colleges out there it helps to be able to read reviews and gain insights into what to look for at different schools. Some reviews are going to be more relevant to a particular family than others and that's as it should be, but I hate for people to feel like if they post a strong opinion that they will be attacked.

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way I understand it the answer is: no. Although Grove City is an excellent school, I realized that it would not be a good choice for my son who has ADHD when I called them to inquire about their disabilities services. The very nice person at the switchboard said a Mrs. Whatever handles that but they do not have a disabilities services office. Sometimes schools without experienced professionals have a very simplistic, uniformed understanding of the different disabilities students have and what services they need. Simply having a lower teacher to student ratio is not necessarily the answer.

 

Yolanda

 

PS -I took a look at Hillsdale's website and couldn't find any mention either. Interestingly, when I searched the website I found that their high school doesn't either. Their approach to learning disabilities is: lower teacher to student ratio using "traditional teaching methods".

 

Yes, I agree that people who aren't experienced with LD's don't often understand what those kids go through. I feel like I am still really learning about what dd needs and appreciating how her dyslexia impacts different areas of her life, especially this year as she's transitioned from homeschool to a bricks & mortar school.

 

I found the same thing when I looked at Hillsdale's website, and it's one of my bigger concerns. A lower student to teacher ratio is a good start, but not the end of the discussion. Well, that's what the visit is for!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it is important to find the right fit in a college. My daughter was accepted at Hope but found the visit to be quite a turn off (tour guide, classroom visit, lunch in cafe.).

 

On the other hand, her visit to Hillsdale was great. The Palin look alike receptionist was nice and the look was very flattering on her. The interview with admissions was wonderful ( a year later the interviewer still had her hand-painted thankyou card on his desk) and the cafeteria visit was nicer than the other colleges we visited (Wheaton and Hope among others). When we have stayed at the conference center we have never had bug bites.

 

DD is just finishing her first year at Hillsdale and LOVES it, Hillsdale was the perfect fit for her. She has been visiting a church in town and she called me yesterday to say that even though she has only visited there 3 -4 times, they brought all the visiting students a gift bag of snacks and items for finals week. At the beginning of the year she was "Adopted" by a local grandmother who has had college students for dinner, for tea, she has offered her house for our family when visiting, she brings cookies and treats to my daughter. This woman has been doing this for years and some of her "adoptees" are now second generation. My daughter volunteers at a local non-profit in town and has spoke of how appreciative the employees have been.

The professors we have met at conferences have been easy to talk to and my daughter has found them very approachable for help.

DD's roommate is gluten-free and she and her parents have expressed to us how wonderfully accomodating Saga has been with her special requests.

No college is perfect, but we have had a WONDERFUL experience with Hillsdale.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything about this Hillsdale college, but I've lived in a university town for 30 years. We are considered "townies" and I've never met anyone who thought that was a derogatory term. Community and student conflicts are pretty common and our city just spent $26,000 for police and SWAT to break up an out of control drunken party thrown by college students. I would never judge a college by the way a few people in town talked about it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest DrMichaelDAD
Hidden

Firstly, it's obviously very important to make the college visit. Secondly, just as Lyn has mentioned I encourage all of you reading not to take her "cautionary tale" as fact and visit just as she did. I sent two of my kids to Hillsdale. We've visited multiple times. My kids have been treated like gold from the beginning. We met the entire staff on campus during visit weekends, met professors and were very pleased with the caliber of students--both in character and intelligence. Our admissions counselor was prompt and caring. Hillsdale is very student centered--it's all about cultivating a well rounded, high-minded adult who knows how to think critically. They also just created two new positions and hired two full-time, well qualified staff to bolster and grow their career planning department.

 

Certainly the purpose and benefit of these sites is to broaden our knowledge and minds a bit more through other people's experiences, but I must say--this poster's credibility went right out the window when she took it upon herself to mock a lovely woman's hair and style. I know exactly who she is talking about, and this woman is nothing less than completely herself--definitely not trying to be Sarah Palin. And, even if that were true, why in the world would it matter? I found your post ineffective, immature and If I were a betting man I'd put money on you and your student being pretty darn tough to please.

 

Also, I know in the Admissions process that Hillsdale has more applications visits and inquiries than it can probably handle. Unfortunately, this means they have to focus their time and attention on their top students, and they rely on their interviews to define those students. Perhaps your student just wasn't the best fit for Hillsdale--sounds like it was mutual.

Link to comment

Certainly, every family is different and will select a college based on their own priorities. It would be a problem if we all liked the same college.:001_smile:

 

It is obvious that we have some pretty staunch Hillsdale defenders on this board. Before visiting, I probably would have thought that there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with this institution. In fact, we have been donors. Received their lovely mailing with the $2 bill a couple days ago soliciting funds for their new on-line constitution program.

 

Anyway, I am no longer impressed.

 

Some pointed out that the town/gown issue is not all that uncommon. However, you need to realize it does make a difference to some families. Some college ranking services even break out schools by whether there is tension between the college and the town.

 

From my perspective this was just another sign that arrogance, rather than humility, was promoted at this institution. We saw arrogance in the attitudes of almost everyone we dealt with at Hilldale. The comments from the towns people supported what we were seeing ourselves. The people did not seem genuine and honest. We prefer to have our child in an environment that will promote humility not arrogance.

 

Don't forget that this institution does not have a whistle blower policy. This is certainly unusual and not very reassuring.

 

The issue we had with the food service was multifaceted. Our initial inquires were ignored. Then our questions were not answered honestly. Basically, they did not want to admit that they were cutting corners.

 

Regardless, of the fact that my ds has a food allergy, I would not have been comfortable sending him away to a school that uses oils with trans-fats to prepare their foods and serves milk with rbgh. As you can see from links in my earlier post, it is not common practice in the college dining industry to use these types of things...they are unhealthy. They are also cutting corners on the salad bar as I mentioned above. This is the info. I was able to obtain in a couple of visits so there are probably other ways that they are cutting corners that I did not see. While this will be of concern to some of the 3,000+ viewers of this thread, to others it will not. We happen to be health conscious.

 

Someone brought up ADA issues in response to my mention of them requiring Drs. notes for food allergies. Well, I am not sure that a food allergy is a disability. Disability is defined differently under different statues. However, no other school we visited required any kind of rx in order for a student to avail themselves of a special diet. Special diets seem to be no problem whatsoever at the majority of schools. This again is a reflection of the attitude at Hillsdale.

 

Again my overall impression is that there is a undercurrent falseness at this institution. Why mention the Sarah Palin double? Perhaps she is just a visual that underscores the overall feeling of a facade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no dog in this race, but one thing I've found in my two college searches so far is that one can find staunch supporters and detractors from every single college out there. It's important to read pros and cons, then consider what is important to the individual. It's also important to visit places and get your own feel. Colleges my guys have chosen have people who feel pretty negatively toward them too, but my oldest is 100% happy with his choice and I expect middle son will be too.

 

Fit is equally important to content IMO. No one college meets the fit need for all students.

 

I would not hesitate to consider Hillsdale for my guys if it met their needs in other ways.

 

If in doubt, contact recent alumni and see what they have to say and whether they feel it was worth their 4 years or if they'd have chosen elsewhere if they had it to do again. That will show a better overall view than a prospective touring the place (any place).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hidden

Once again, I'm amazed at how this poster went from (supposedly) being a donor and having her son apply early decision to not having *one good word* to say about Hillsdale. Not one.

 

It's unusual on these boards for someone -- especially someone with a tiny handful of previous posts -- to come on and bad-mouth an institution as rabidly as Lyn has done here. She is being downright spiteful about this college.

 

I don't think this thread has anything to do with "giving us information so we can make up our own minds." I think Lyn is doing a hatchet job on Hillsdale for reasons she has not revealed to us. An honest poster who wanted to share her college visit experiences would carefully tell us good points and bad points, trying hard to stay polite and fair. Lyn's blatant malice toward Hillsdale makes it hard to take anything she says seriously.

Link to comment
Hidden

Why are so many posters feeling so defensive about Hillsdale?? I know absolutely zero about this school. But obviously there is something about it that has made people very emotional about it. How different is it for Lyn to make her statements than it is for a totally new poster, someone who knows NOTHING about these boards or this community, show up to tell us how wonderful Hillsdale is??

 

I'm headed now to Hillsdale's site to find out what the "issue" is.

Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...