/ 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


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 the Hope Forward cohort — 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

Connect with an Admissions rep about Hope Forward 

Application Process

The Hope Forward application process is focused entirely on learning more about YOU: what drives you, brings you passion, inspires you, and encourages you. The application process aims to understand who you are at your core through the two phases outlined below.

Phase One: Submit a Hope Forward application and essay or video response to the prompt below. Students selected from this phase will receive an invitation to interview in Phase Two.

Phase Two: Attend an on-campus or virtual interview with a group of Hope Forward reviewers where you will present on a topic provided beforehand.

Applications can be submitted between now and January 15, 2023. However, students who submit by the November 1, 2022 deadline will be given priority consideration for the second phase of the application process. 

Submit your Hope Forward application 

Please Note: The Hope Forward application is meant to be submitted in addition to your Hope College application. You do not need to wait for admission to Hope College to apply. If Hope Forward sounds like the program for you, we recommend filling out this application along with your Hope College application.


First-time college students entering in the fall semester 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 in-person 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.

Some students are great writers. Others – great presenters! For this reason, you have the option to respond to the prompt below with one of the following options:

  • Submit a 700 to 1,200 word essay responding to the prompt.
  • Submit a 4–6 minute video responding to the prompt. Whether it’s professional video quality or taken on your phone, it doesn’t make a difference to us — we just need to see and hear you clearly!

Prompt: 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?

Letter of Recommendation

Take a second and think of the people in your life. Who has helped you grow in the last few years? Who has watched you overcome obstacles, accomplish your goals, and cheered you on? Whether it's a coach, a teacher, a community member, or any other non-relative who can speak to your passion to spread hope to the world, these are the people to ask for a letter of recommendation. Applicants for Hope Forward will need to obtain one letter of recommendation. Why not ask someone who knows you best?


Application submission by November 1: Students who submit the application and required materials by November 1 will hear back about the interview by mid to late December.

Application submission between November 2 and January 15: Students who submit the application and required materials between November 2 and January 15 will hear back about the interview by mid-late January.

Phase Two


A selected group of applicants will be invited to interview with members of the Hope community. On-campus interviews begin in January and run through the end 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, athletics, 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

Learn more about the Hope Forward student experience 


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