Questions a prospective science student should ask….

…..and the answers for the Natural Science Division at Hope College


At Hope College, learning science is doing science.  Compare this to what you find at other schools by asking:


  • How are your introductory science courses taught?
    • Who teaches the labs?   Who grades the lab books?

At Hope College, faculty teach all of our courses AND all of our labs.  Labs are investigative rather than canned procedures.  Faculty, rather than student teaching assistants, personally grade all lab notebooks, giving each student valuable feedback.

o       How is technology used?

At Hope College, computer labs are an integral part of all of our introductory courses in mathematics and science.  A chemistry professor and a student at Hope College developed DISCUS, an electronic discussion board currently used by over 50,000 customers worldwide, including many professors at Hope College.  Two more computer science students developed a web site named Slashdot “News for Nerds. Stuff that matters” which provide articles and blogs on technology issues. 

o       Is your institution recognized nationally for your science and mathematics curriculum?

At Hope College, several of our faculty has received funds from the National Science Foundation to support the development of innovative courses and cutting edge equipment.  One of our biology professors received a national teaching award presented at the White House.  Every month, there is someone giving a talk or poster presentation at a national conference about courses that we teach at Hope College.



  • What opportunities do science and math students have for doing research?

o       What percent of the faculty in the science division are doing research with students during the academic year? During the summer?

o       What percent of the students, particularly those interested in going to graduate school, do research during their college career?

At Hope College, we typically have over 100 students doing research in the Natural Sciences Division.  During the academic year many of these students continue to do research with their faculty mentor.  Over 70% of our science faculty is research active in both the academic year and the summer.  85% of our graduating seniors have done research with a professor, including 30% of those that go to graduate school, and 35% professional school.

o       Are Students paid for doing research during the summer?  Are students paid to attend national conferences where they present their work?

Our summer research students receive a stipend comparable to what students often make in a summer job.   In addition to getting paid, students receive reduced-cost housing on campus and free travel to national conferences to present the results of their work.  About 20% students from other colleges do summer research here with our faculty-an opportunity that is readily available to Hope College students.

o       What percentage of the students doing research becomes a co-author on a paper while they are an undergraduate?

Doing research at Hope College means finding unknown answers to significant questions, frequently resulting in publishable work and making direct contributions to science.  In fact, more than 20% of our students author at least one publication based on research performed before they graduate.

o       Is your institution nationally recognized for doing research with undergraduates?

Hope College was ranked 4th in the nation for undergraduate research by the U.S. News and World Report in 2003.  Hope College is also the only liberal arts institution in the nation to have six Research Experiences for Undergraduates grants from the National Science Foundation.  Hope College is one of only ten liberal art institutions to receive the Award for the Integration of Research and Education presented from the National Science Foundation.  The College has received three grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary student-faculty research and learning.


  • What internship and off-campus opportunities are available?

o       What percentage of the students do an internship with a company or study off-campus while they are an undergraduate?

At Hope College, typically 15% of our science and math majors do an internship sometime during their college career.  This includes a number of the students who go directly into the workforce upon graduation.  While at Hope, students have done internships at Pfizer, Pharmacia-Upjohn, Johnson Controls, Magna Donnelly,  Gentex, Environmental Resources Management, Amway,  Innotec, Zeeland Chemical, among others.  Several of our students study off-campus either during the academic year or the summer.  For our science students over the past few years, these opportunities have included Spain, Scotland, Australia, and even Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. 


  • What experiences are available for students interested in teaching?

      At Hope College, all of our education courses include a field placement.  From the very first education course, students are in the elementary or secondary classroom observing, aiding, and learning.  We also have designated summer research positions supported by the College and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for students interested in teaching.  These research positions include an additional component requiring students to reflect on how the research experience is connected to their future classroom teaching.  Education summer research students may learn how to develop a course, how to structure materials for the appropriate level, how to create educational materials, or how to create investigative labs.  Normally, several high school teachers are involved in Hope’s  summer research program and this gives our education students an opportunity to interact and work with current teachers.  Each summer, we hire two to four Hope College education students to help run 11 or more workshops for kids age 6 to 16 on topics ranging from chemistry to mathematics to physics. 


  • What experiences are available for students interested in the health professions?

o       What percentage of the students that apply to medical school actually get in?

At Hope College, typically 25% of our graduating seniors apply to medical school.  Our acceptance rate over a 10 year period is 85% and our majors go on to study medicine at Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, and a variety of out-of-state medical schools.

o       What other types of opportunities are available in the health professions for Hope Students?

We have recently revised our Nursing Program, creating a hands-on, investigative, field-based curriculum that is unique in Michigan.  Nursing students have opportunities to collaborate with faculty on ongoing research projects.  Students do community based field assignments beginning their junior year. 


  • What awards do your current students or recent graduates receive?
          At Hope College, since 2000 we have 2 students who have received a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship and one honorable mention.  This scholarship is awarded to 323 students nationally each year.  We have 6 students who received a National Science Foundation fellowship over the same period which are awarded to 900 students nationally each year. 


Hope College is an institution where learning science is doing science.  While a few institutions can answer some of the above questions in a comparable fashion, there is no other school as rich in integrating student investigative experiences in general education courses as well as majors courses; off-campus opportunities as well as on-campus labs; research experiences for the graduate school bound student as well as research experiences for the student planning on teaching.