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4 programs for students who want to learn in community

These communities have formed around a shared love of ministry, interdisciplinary learning, art, and social justice. Your peers in these cohorts won’t just teach you more about what you love—they’ll probably become some of your best friends.

  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: March 17, 2020
  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: March 17, 2020

With all the opportunities to choose from in college, you might feel like you don’t know where to start. Here’s the good news: At Calvin, you can meet friends, have fun, and start building your résumé with experiences that set you apart. And you can do all those things at the same time during your first year. How? With unique first-year opportunities specifically designed for your gifts and interests.

Ministry Leadership Cohort

This cohort of students is enthusiastic about participating in the life of the church. Take courses together, go on retreats, and take an expenses-paid pilgrimage.

Unique opportunity: tuition-free summer course and ministry internship

“I have found such a depth of community among my MLC peers. We’ve grown so close both in our personal lives and as we discern what God is calling us to do. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by other young people who care deeply about local churches and want to see them thrive.” —Natalie Sytsma, first-year student

Honors and Collegiate Scholars

Honors Scholars is a selective program where you work closely with faculty from many different academic disciplines. Collegiate Scholars gives you access to advanced upper-level classes while still giving you the flexibility to pursue your own interests outside of the classroom.

Unique opportunity: team-taught interdisciplinary courses

“It’s been a joy to learn alongside the awesome students in the Honors Knot! I’ve learned so much from talking with people both inside and outside of class. And I am challenged each day to search for the truth across disciplines, developing a well-rounded understanding of the world.” —Jamison Van Andel, first-year student

Artist Collaborative

This community thinks deeply about how art can transform lives, inspire justice, and improve the world around us.

Unique opportunity: arts-related travel abroad with expenses paid

“The students in Artist Collaborative aren’t all art majors, but they are all interested and invested in the arts. The melding of all these perspectives together makes for some really interesting art.” —Carlisle Patete, sophomore

John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows

This small group of peers works together to cultivate their leadership skills. It is open to all, and first-generation college students are encouraged to join. Through specially-designed leadership courses, an all-expenses-paid spring break service trip, and other worthwhile experiences, you’ll prepare to address big issues like poverty, injustice, and racism.

Unique opportunity: full-tuition scholarships granted to two students

I look back on my time in the Perkins program and am continually grateful for all the ways the program helped cultivate who I am and my care for social justice, reconciliation, community engagement, and service-learning.” —Lindsay Owens, junior

Other groups to get involved in as a first-year student


  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: March 17, 2020


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