Phelps Scholars: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Phelps Scholar?

Complete a short application form that emphasizes your interest in the program:

  • Which aspects of the Phelps Scholars Program most interest you and why?
  • What would you hope to learn as a result of being a Phelps Scholar?
  • What skills and experiences will you contribute to the program?
  • In what ways will your commitment to the program be evident?
  • What additional information would you like to have regarding the Phelps Scholars Program?

Who should apply to be Phelps Scholar?

Any first year student who is interested! We seek a diverse group of students, so we encourage applications from African-Americans, Asian-Americans, European-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Native Americans, as well as international students from around the world.

Is there a scholarship for students who become Phelps Scholars?

No. Students in the program are called scholars because of their commitment to high academic standards and to the exploration of an important social issue, not because they are receiving a special scholarship. We do encourage potential Phelps Scholars to apply for other scholarships for which they are eligible. The Financial Aid Office can provide you with more information.

Is the Phelps Scholars Program an Honors Program?

Yes and no. Phelps Scholars do participate in a special program, with special opportunities and high expectations for success. However, the Phelps Scholars Program is open to all students who meet the admissions criteria of Hope College, not just those with the very best academic records.

What are the expectations the college has of its Phelps Scholars?

  • To live in the residence hall where the program is housed
  • To take the designated Phelps Scholars First-Year Seminar course during the fall semester
  • To enroll in the college's Encounter with Cultures or Introduction to American Ethnic Studies class during the spring semester
  • To faithfully attend and participate actively in the regular meetings, workshops and seminars sponsored by the program
  • To attend a minimum of one program sponsored trip each semester
  • To meet once a semester with the program director to make sure that each student is on track for academic and professional success
  • To maintain an open, curious attitude about learning from people with various backgrounds
  • To do high-quality academic work
  • To enjoy the opportunity, and to have fun!

Why is this the Phelps Scholars Program? 

Philip Phelps was the first president of Hope College. More than 125 years ago, President Phelps knew that Hope would be a better college if students had an opportunity to meet a wide variety of different people. As a result, he took steps to diversify the student body in significant ways. His commitment lives on in the program that now bears his name.