Hope International University is a private Christian institution located directly across the street from California State University of Fullerton (CSUF). In direct contrast to the 40,000 students that attend CSUF, Hope International is a much smaller university with a population only numbering 1,500 or so. Of that number, 400-600 are undergraduates like me, most of whom live on campus. I am currently a third-year junior at HIU, and although the university is significantly smaller than my high school alma mater, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I enrolled at HIU and have really enjoyed my time at the university since.
When discussing HIU to prospective students, however, I definitely emphasize the size of the school and giving realistic expectations. Hope International University is inevitably going to provide students with a unique college experience, specifically in contrast to that typically expected from a larger university. That isn’t a bad though unless one comes in expecting completely otherwise. With that said, incoming students should know from the start that they are entering a university that is very community-orientated, not only because of the school’s small population, but because both students and staff have worked to make that possible. The school is certainly not perfect, but in a place where no face is unfamiliar, the transition for first-year students who want to become involved is typically quite easy. If you’re going to be a new student at Hope International University or you’re simply considering enrollment, here are some general tips and information regarding the school and the surrounding area, all of which are aimed at providing you with realistic expectations. The stresses of choosing the right university can be quite overwhelming, so hopefully this brief, honest guide allows you to better understand what life at Hope International University might look like for a first-year student.
Community Life and Getting Involved on the HIU Campus
As briefly aforementioned, students, professors, general staff/administration, and the size of the university are all contributing factors to the strong community on campus. The student to professor ratio is outstanding and, as a result, smaller class sizes allow professors to more personally interact with students. In terms of the student body, it is not unlikely for students to know the majority of their peers by name. Thus, if you’re coming in as a new student, confidently know that as long as you want to get involved (that means, not hiding out in your dorm room all day), the assimilation into the HIU community should be near seamless. Our Student Activities, ASB, and Resident Assistant (RA) teams do a great job putting on and off-campus events for students to attend. If it’s your first year, don’t skip out on school favorites like Clash N Bowl (cosmic bowling and the most ridiculous costumes), GYRAD (Get Your Roommate a Date), Pep rallies, Intramural sports (dodgeball tournament, basketball) Ultimate Frisbee, Biola Bowl, etc. Also make sure to go out and support our sports teams.
In addition, because Hope International is a Christian University, ministry opportunities through the school are highly available as well. I’ve been blessed to serve as a chapel worship leader for three years and as an RA (Resident Assistant in the dorms), and other ministry opportunities also include serving as a small group leader, trips to Mexico with Amor Ministries to build homes, becoming an AR (Admissions Representative), tutoring in surrounding neighborhoods for low-income students, trips to Santa Ana with Sack-lunch Ministries to feed and build relationship with the homeless, and more. As you can see, HIU provides numerous opportunities for students desiring to serve.
Places to Eat and Drink Near Hope International University
Fullerton is a definitely a college-friendly city in terms of the wide variety of places to eat and drink. Within two blocks or less, popular college eateries like In-N-Out, Chipotle, and Del Taco are just a small sample of places to grab food throughout the day. The local Starbuck’s, also two minutes from school, is always buzzing, and the Yogurt Land next door is a college favorite. If looking for restaurants or finer bars, an eight-minute drive up State College yields places like BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, T.G.I Friday’s, Islands, Red Robin, Olive Garden, and much more, all of which are conveniently located within or across the street from Brea Mall. Just past the mall is a college favorite called the Yardhouse. Students can also drive to Downtown Fullerton for pizza at Big Slice or Sushi at Chomp. These a are just a small sampling of the many great places to eat and drink within ten minutes of Hope International University.
Places to Visit While Attending HIU
Living in Orange County obviously gives students a wide array of places to possibly visit, but as a student at HIU, make sure to take advantage of beaches like Newport, Huntington, and Seal. Without traffic, all three are within 25 minutes or so. The best, however, is Laguna Beach because it is open all night. Groups of HIU students go for night-time swims or to simply get away from school; the regular 40-minute drive typically doesn’t take that long, nevertheless, particularly because students usually go at night.
Aside from beaches, a walk across the street is always encouraged. It’s easy to get comfortable at a small university like Hope International, so it can be a breath of fresh air to walk over to Cal State Fullerton and see new faces. CSUF also has a renowned Arboretum, a green getaway tucked away towards the CSUF baseball fields that is pretty neat. The multi-faceted park features a nice pond, green grass, shady trees, a desert landscape, and even a random rooster among the Arboretum ducks.
Hope International is, as briefly aforementioned, quite close to Brea Mall as well. Many students have annual Disneyland passes, as “the happiest place on earth” and Downtown Disney are only ten minutes away. Knott’s Berry Farm is only a 20-minute drive. These are just a few of the many places to visit.
Lastly, students at HIU are blessed to have several strong churches in the area that they can attend. Getting involved at a local church is a great opportunity for students to see a demographic beyond other college students and fellowship with other believers. Friends Church of Yorba Linda is a great church 15 minutes away that is currently the most involved “organization” in the history of India; their “Global Freedom” ministry is in the process of attempting to end the caste system in India by empowering the Dalits (the “untouchables”) by way of building 10,000 schools across the country. Right across HIU is Eastside Christian Church, a long-standing community whose college pastor also happens to be an HIU alum and professor. Rock Harbor Fullerton, birthed out of the popular Rock Harbor in Irvine, is a new, growing, and vibrant community in Downtown Fullerton that is highly regarded for its moving worship and challenging speakers. These are only a few of the many great churches in the area.
How to Enjoy Hope International University
If you want to make the most out your first year at Hope International University and set the path for your following years, my biggest piece of advice is to involve yourself in the community. Get to know your hall mates if you live on campus, support our athletes and go to their games, attend the weekly Link (worship and speaker), find a ministry to serve in, talk to your professors after class, sit with new people in the cafeteria, and do what you can to contribute to the community. To enjoy your life as a college student, take random trips to the beach, go out for late meals with friends, and explore the city.
Three years at Hope International University