/ Admissions Office

Hope Forward

The beginning of a life-long journey with a learning community, grounded in faith, working to bring Hope to the world. 

Hope Forward Hero ImageThe Big Idea

College has gotten too expensive. Hope College is doing something about it. Our long-term ambition is that every single student who comes through Hope receives tuition fully-funded up front. Graduates will then pay it forward: commit to donating to Hope College so future students can have the same transformational experience.

This is an entirely new way of thinking about funding college.

It transforms:

  • Your college education into preparation to pursue impact, not income to pay off student debt
  • Your college experience into a relationship based on gratitude and generosity, not a transaction between an organization and its customers
  • Your college costs from bill-paying into generous giving


In 2021–2022, twenty students with big hearts, open minds and a God-given passion to bring Hope to the world will: 

  • Receive a Hope College education with tuition fully-funded by the generous gifts of others
  • Participate in Hope Forward programming — to prepare yourself and other Hope Forward students to pursue lives of impact in the world
  • As alumni, graduates of this program will commit to paying it forward — donating to Hope College so that future students can have the same transformational experience

Application Process

Phase one of the applications for the Hope Forward program will include an essay response to the prompt below and a letter of recommendation. Applications can be submitted between now and February 1, 2022.


First-time college students entering in Fall 2022 with the following criteria are invited to apply for the Hope Forward Program:

  • Out of Region: students with a permanent address or who are attending school outside of MI, IL, IN, OH and WI
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
Phase One

Essay Prompt

hope /hōp/ noun: a confident and joyful expectation that something good is going to happen.

We at Hope believe that the biggest problem in the world isn’t that there are problems, but that there is no hope in our ability to solve those problems. Identify a role model of yours, whether historical, fictional, or someone you know personally, who brought hope to an area of hopelessness in their life, their community, or the world. What have you learned from them? How have they influenced who you are today? How does their example motivate you to spread hope to the world? (Essays should be 700–1,200 words)

Letter of Recommendation

Applicants will need to obtain at least one letter of recommendation. This letter should be from someone in their school, church or community that is not a relative and who can speak to the applicant's passion to spread hope to the world.

Phase Two

A selected group of applicants will be invited to interview with members of the Hope community. Applicants will know if they have been invited to interview within two to three weeks of submitting both a completed (1) Application for Admission and (2) Hope Forward Application. On-campus interviews begin October 1 and run through the middle of February.

As a part of their interview, applicants will be asked to present for 4-6 minutes on the following prompt:

Describe an area of hopelessness that you see in your life, your community, or the world, and how you would bring it Hope.

Program Details

The Hope Forward Program equips students to bring hope to the world by pursuing a life of positive impact. The program will provide experiences for learning, reflection, and growth focused on the three pillars of Hope Forward - community, accessibility, and generosity. As a community of learners, the cohort will attend seminars, take a course together, and participate in retreats and service-learning.
Students can expect to commit 5-10 hours a month to the Hope Forward Program, with programming spanning the duration of a student's college experience. Students are also highly encouraged to complete one semester of off-campus study.
Some highlights of the Hope Forward program include dinner with the President, off-campus retreats, the development of a portfolio, mentorship, and active participation in campus-wide traditions like One Big Weekend, Time to Serve, and Day of Giving.
  • Participation in the Hope Forward Program does not inhibit participation in other programs (Phelps Scholars, Day 1 Watershed, Athletic, Dance, etc...).
  • The Hope Forward Program is not a living-learning community. Students may live in any residential housing unit of their choice/assignment.
  • We hope students graduate from the program with a commitment to:
    • Be a lifelong learner active in their communities
    • Engage with areas of hopelessness out of a personal hope and abundance
    • Generously give to create positive impact locally, globally and at Hope College


Please reach out to your admissions representative with any questions regarding the Hope Forward program or email admissions@hope.edu.