/ Phelps Scholars Program

Required Courses

Phelps Scholars grow academically as they explore together the diversity that shapes our world. 

Fall Course: First Year Seminar

All Hope College students enroll in a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during the fall semester of their freshman year. Phelps Scholars take a team-taught FYS where they explore the question, “How do we build community and practice justice in an intentionally diverse context of living and learning?” To guide their response to this question, students and faculty will together explore the intersecting topics of identity, culture, justice, social issues of our time, and the necessary skills for navigating these well.

Phelps Scholars laughing and talking outside Lubbers Hall

Community Placements

In conjunction with the FYS course, each Phelps Scholar spends 15 hours throughout the first semester serving in a local organization dedicated to creating community in the central city of Holland. Though not required, many students choose to continue volunteering throughout the second semester. Our community placement sites have included:


Hope students benefit from academic advising that begins as early as Orientation weekend and continues until graduation. First-year students are advised by their FYS professor; for Phelps Scholars, that means one of the five faculty members who team teach FYS. We take advising very seriously and spend a great deal of time talking with students about how to succeed in college and in life.

Spring Semester Course

Phelps Scholars also register for one of two additional courses in the spring semester of their freshman year: Encounter with Cultures or Introduction to American Ethnic Studies. These courses continue to promote a shared vocabulary and understanding as it relates to cultural diversity, with a focus on contemporary issues of race and culture in the United States. Both of these courses complete Hope’s Anchor Plan requirement for U.S. Diversities.