Semester in the City Program Attracts Hillsdale Student


NEW YORK- Hillsdale College sophomore Deb Howe is one of a few students to participate in TKC’s Semester in the City program, an opportunity to spend a semester at King’s while still earning credits at a separate school.

"The program is designed to be a study abroad program without going abroad," Luke Smith, TKC Admissions Counselor, said. "It gives other institutions the chance to experience what exactly King’s does.”

Howe described this as a perfect fit.

Originally from the San Francisco area in California, Howe considered King’s as a freshman but decided to attend Hillsdale, an independent liberal arts college located in Michigan. Majoring in English and minoring in both Philosophy and Spanish, Howe realized King’s could not offer her the major she wanted to pursue. But she still intended to return.  She found an opportunity to do so through the Semester in the City program.

Since King’s has a common core curriculum with specific prerequisites, Howe worked with admissions to choose classes that would transfer back to Hillsdale. They reviewed the class descriptions and were able to plan a semester that was “tailor-made.”

Howe said she would love for there to be a partnership between the colleges so more students could take advantage of the program.

King’s Philosophy Professor David Talcott also attended Hillsdale College for his undergraduate degree and finds the academics similar to those at King's. Hillsdale has a more classical liberal arts common core, requiring science classes and, according to Talcott, is “less ‘PPE’-driven.” The dedication to academics is compatible with that of King’s, and both colleges strive to push students to their fullest potential.

Semester in the City is still in the development stage. As of now, only a handful of students participate each year. But King’s is looking to expand the program by sending representatives across the country to develop relationships with other schools so they can “cash in on the opportunity,” Smith said.

King’s hopes to reciprocate and by sending King’s students to other schools for a semester, taking all their financial aid and support with them.

Both King’s and Hillsdale boast of vigorous academics and a focused mission statement. Howe finds that the colleges are especially similar because they are both based on an honor code system that speaks of moral conduct: “A Hillsdale College student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service and respectful of the rights of others,” and, “A student of The King's College will not lie, cheat, steal, or turn a blind eye to those who do.”

While Hillsdale does not have a doctrine of faith, the majority of students claim a Christian faith and the campus culture is conservative. They both are based on a “series of historic Christianity willing to fight the cultural implications of Christianity,” Talcott said. Independent from any religious affiliation, Hillsdale seeks to promote Christianity by example and to be a place where Catholics and Protestants can work together.

Talcott began teaching at King's last fall. “I was pleasantly surprised about how serious students are about integrating Christianity with academics,” Talcott said of the King’s community.

Talcott recognizes the different aspects of the colleges. The experience in the city is completely different, and it faces unique challenges that other schools do not. Finding community is a lot harder at King’s than on a rural campus with nothing to interfere.

According to Talcott, Hillsdale students looking to participate in the Semester in the City program would find King’s comparable to their own school and would not “have their boat flipped outside down.” It is important to see if the ethics and ideas that work in Michigan work in Manhattan, and to discover that principles remain true no matter the location, Talcott explained.

Howe, like many other King’s students, was attracted to the urban location of the college.  There’s an extremely intense professional side of New York,” she says. “I am a city person through-and through.” In contrast of the countryside location of Hillsdale, Howe says, “I love the energy. I love looking out my window at two in the morning and there’s people walking. It’s always moving, and I thrive on it. And I love a Starbucks on every corner.”

Howe also welcomes the independence that King’s offers. “College is a time to mature, and King’s allows that more than other schools,” she said. Without college dorms and food plans, Howe said the King's experience provides “bigger opportunities to grow.”  She appreciates the responsibility the students have for themselves and their actions.

As a new member of ten Boom, Howe has been received into the community of the House System, which was important to Howe, because “you could easily miss the community at King’s without a campus.”

Howe said she’s been impressed with the House system and considers it essential to the college.

Howe also pointed out some of King's disadvantages. Hillsdale provides cafes, gyms and “Slounges” on a mass-scale. “You do everything together, and I miss that aspect of community that King’s can’t quite reach,” she said.

Howe looks forward to the opportunities King’s can offer her this semester. One useful facet of the program is that it gives students from other colleges the chance to look for work or possible internships. Howe hopes to use her opportunity to obtain contacts for a summer internship and wants to attend law school after graduating. She plans to return to New York City for her future career.