International Student FAQ

Why choose Hope?
Why not choose Hope! Hope College is a nationally recognized, private liberal arts institution. Hope’s rigorous academic climate prepares you for the your career  and  further graduate studies. Hope challenges you to develop thinking skills that give perspective to your focus on your academic discipline (in the U.S. this is called a “major”) by grounding it in a broad understanding of all fields of study. 

Your experience at Hope College will include many opportunities for hands-on experiences, internships, and possibly research with faculty members. You will build many meaningful relationships with professors and staff members who genuinely care about you. To read about the recent recognition Hope College has received, click here

What academic degree would I receive from Hope College?
Hope College offers curricular (major) programs that lead to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science degrees.

What majors does Hope offer?

What if I want to study medicine or dentistry?

What is a "liberal arts" College? 
A Liberal Arts College is a school where you study a specific field and a wide range of disciplines. You will receive a well rounded education in the arts, humanities and sciences in addition to your specific field of study. A liberal arts education also enhances your knowledge of the world and develops a deeper appreciation of all perspectives.

What could I do with a liberal arts degree?
The goal of a Liberal Arts college is to broadly educate its students. Liberal Arts colleges are not job training centers. Certainly, through the selection and completion of a major program of study, graduates will have an area in which they have a skill set and knowledge base of greater depth, but they will also be educated across many disciplines. A Liberal Arts degree allows one to move easily into positions of leadership, or to change one’s career direction entirely.

How is Hope rated among Liberal Arts colleges? 

Does Hope offer any graduate studies?
No, we are strictly an undergraduate institution. This means all your professors are professional teachers rather than graduate students whose main focus is their own schooling. 

How big are the classes at Hope?
84% of the classes offered have fewer than 30 students. The average class size is 20. The student/faculty ratio is 13:1. This means your professors know you personally and are readily available when you have questions, need assistance, or simply want to discuss something. 

Are there any tutorials or help sessions for international students that need help with academics or the English language?
Our Academic Support Center on campus hosts a math lab for 2 hours each evening, and also provides help writing papers. There is no remedial level English tutorial. All international students must demonstrate college level proficiency in English prior to enrollment (a minimum of 84 on the IBT version with subscores no less than 21).

Can I test out of some of the general education requirements?
Yes, there are a number of areas for which AP, IB, and/or CLEP tests provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate college level proficiency.

Will I be able to conduct research as an undergraduate?
Yes! Hope College has been the consistent leader for undergraduate research and research grants. Hope is ranked highly for research/creative projects programs among ALL colleges and universities with great consistency. This means Hope students have a much greater opportunity to do research at Hope versus undergraduates at well known “research universities.” It is not unusual for a Hope student to have multiple research opportunities during his/her 4-year experience.

Will I be able to do an internship or take an independent study?
Yes, for a student with specialized interests, independent study is available in every academic program. Internships are offered around west-Michigan, and also as a part of off-campus programs in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.. Read more about off-campus study.

Will I be able to study abroad as a student at Hope? 
Yes, Hope has over 200 programs around the world in more than 70 countries spanning 6 continents. For most overseas programs the cost is very comparable to studying on campus. 

How will I select my courses?
Each student has an academic advisor who helps the student choose the correct classes to ensure timely completion of their major and degree.

Student Life and the Holland Community

Where is Hope College? What is the town like?
Hope College is located in Holland, Michigan, approximately 30 minutes from Grand Rapids (the airport is 35 minutes away) and 2 ? hours from Chicago. Holland is a community of 250,000 (greater Holland area) and is on the shores of Lake Michigan. Near campus, you can find restaurants, coffee shops, stores, parks, and other downtown establishments. During the summer, the area offers swimming, boating, and great fishing. Bike paths extend kilometers beyond the city limits. In the winter, students enjoy excellent cross-country skiing in the immediate area. 

What is the climate like in Michigan?
Located in the north of the mid-west region of the United States, Michigan experiences all four seasons of the year. Summers are hot and humid and the winters bring much excitement for our international students who have never experienced snow. Average temperatures in Holland, Michigan are: September (23 C), December (2 C), April (14 C), July (28 C)

What is the community like for International Students?
In Hope’s student body of about 3200, international students are often well-known and. Many of your professors will take a real interest in you as an individual and make an effort to get to know you on a personal level. The international education staff and community try to create “a home away from home” atmosphere for all international students. Upon your arrival at Hope College, you will find yourself a part of this international family and be warmly welcomed by many returning international students. 

What’s the spiritual life like? 
Hope College is affiliated with the Reformed Church of America (RCA), a mainline protestant (Christian) denomination. The Hope community enjoys and encourages a wide range of denominations and religious faiths on campus. An active Chapel program is offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Attendance is voluntary and students feel no pressure to attend.. Our international students have many different religious backgrounds (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim), bringing unique and enriching viewpoints to our campus, which we encourage and respect. 

Is there an International Student Advisor, and what services does that office provide?
The International Student Advisor is available to offer academic counseling, answer visa and immigration questions, provide tax assistance, and serve as a general resource for the international student. The Office of International Education also sponsors a three-day orientation for all new students, arranges host families, and supports such groups and events as the International Relations Club (IRC), Images: A Reflection of Cultures, and an international Food Fair.

What activities are there for international students?
Our international students are immersed and active in a variety of clubs, sports, and student organizations on campus. This allows you the opportunity to meet American students, experience the Hope community and pursue interests such as theatre, music, intramural sports, Habitat for Humanity, Amnesty International, Greek life, and academic clubs. In addition to being involved in regular campus organizations, Hope internationals participate in the International Relations Club (IRC), the cultural showcase Images: A Reflection of Cultures, and Food Fair. IRC sponsors a variety of dances, panel discussions, and field trips to Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. 

Where have recent international students come from?
Currently, we have students from Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, India, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nigeria, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Uganda, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam, and West Bank.

Is it expensive to call home? What are the telephone rates?
Telephone rates vary from country to country. Hope’s Computer and Information Technology Center (CIT) has tried to find inexpensive rates for our international students. In addition, many of our students have opted to purchase cheap telephone cards once they arrive in the U.S. And there is always Skype!

What transportation options are there for students?
For a small fee students may utilize Hope’s Transportation Office to arrange rides to and from internships, educational placements, a doctor’s office and the Grand Rapids International Airport. In addition, a public transportation system exists and can take students to shopping centers. During school year evenings a shuttle drops students off at various places on and near campus. 

Is it possible to visit home during breaks, i.e., what is the necessary documentation required for these activities?
Yes, you will need your valid passport, your I-94, AND your I-20 which must be signed by the designated campus official BEFORE you leave. 

Will I be guaranteed housing?
Yes. Hope College offers a variety of living arrangements, [link to ] ranging from residential halls to apartments and cottages. Most underclassmen (first and second-year students) are required to live in residential halls (some are co-ed with women on one floor and men on another, or in separate sections of the building), while upperclassmen are given more choices. There is also a special housing program [link to ]  for students wishing to living in a rich and diverse cultural setting.

Do international students live with American or international students?
Both. Normally all first year international students have an American roommate. After the first year, you may decide with whom you would like to live.

What about housing during vacation?
All international students are able to stay on campus during the full academic year, including the holidays. Should you choose to stay on campus during the summer for research and work, housing is available at a minimal fee. 

What is the Phelps Scholars Program?
The Phelps Scholars Program is a multicultural program available to Hope College freshmen (first year students) from all racial/ethnic backgrounds. Phelps Scholars live together in the same residence hall, getting first-hand experience in developing meaningful relationships with a wide variety of people. Phelps Scholars take one class together each semester in which they study cultural diversity issues, participate in workshops, group discussions, and other special events on practical aspects of living and working in a racially diverse community. 

Who should I contact with further questions before I arrive?
You can contact the International Office at 1.616.395.7605 or the Admissions Office at 1.616.395.7850. You can also email

Can I contact an international student who is currently studying at Hope?
Yes, just e-mail Habeeb Awad ( in the International Studies Office. He can put you in contact with a current Hope student, possibly even one from your home country!

What will Hope College do to help my transition to the States and college life?
During your first days here you will go through orientation that makes sure you are well adjusted to life at Hope and in the States. International students arrive on campus several days ahead of other new students. During this time they learn about U.S. cultures and customs, set up bank accounts, visit local stores and a host of other things.

Costs, Scholarships, and Financial Aid
Hope College Fees 2011-2012 Academic Year:

Direct Costs (2011-2012)
Tuition $27,580
Room $3,710
Board (21 meals per week) $4,400*
Total: $35,280

*reduced-cost meal plans are available

Indirect Costs
Books, travel, personal $3,040 (estimate)

TOTAL Costs per year     $38,320

*Please note that tuition, room and board fees may continue to increase on an average of 4% each academic year.

Does Hope College offer financial assistance or need-based scholarships for international students?
Hope offers academic scholarships and need-based aid. Selection is very competitive and is based on strength of academic record, SAT scores, TOEFL, recommendations, extra-curricular involvement and level of financial need. Scholarships range from $3,000 to $13,000. Applications must be complete by the January 31 for consideration.


Who is considered an International Student?
Students who are not U.S. citizens and who do not hold a U.S. Alien registration (“green”) card.

What is the application timeline?
To be included in the scholarship selection process, a completed application must be received by January 31. Scholarship selection takes place in February. Scholarships are awarded in March. Students not interested in scholarship may apply as late as March 15.

What is the application fee?
The application fee is $35 

How do I apply? 

Can I apply using the Common Application?
Yes, you may apply using the Common Application.

What if I cannot complete all the requests on the application?
Your application will not be processed and will remain incomplete. 

Can I apply as a transfer student, or even if I already have a Bachelor’s degree?
Yes, you many apply as a transfer student or as a student with a Bachelor’s degree. However, Hope does not offer Master Programs. 

What is the TOEFL test and what is the minimum TOEFL score a student must obtain in order to be accepted to Hope College?
TOEFL stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. The code to send your results to Hope College is 1301.

Minimum score requirements are:

563 on the paper-based test.
223 on the computer-based test.
79 on the internet-based test with no sub test score less than 18.

Can I prove my English proficiency without taking the TOEFL?
The TOEFL is required unless your middle and secondary education has been taught entirely in English. The TOEFL is strongly recommended for all students applying for an academic scholarship.

Does Hope Accept IELTS?
Yes. A minimum score of 6.5 is required to demonstrate English proficiency.

What is the minimum SAT/ACT score a student must receive in order to get accepted to Hope College?
For international students this test is not necessary for admission to Hope College. However, it is strongly recommended for scholarship purposes. The code to send your results to Hope College is 1301. 

Does Hope College require the SAT II (subject) tests?

Can I receive credit for AP, IB exams?
College credit is given to students who receive a score of 4 or 5 on specific AP exams. For more details regarding AP credits, e-mail the Admissions Representative who works with your country. Please specify which AP test(s) you will be taking. College credit is also awarded to students who obtain a score of 5-7 on IB final examinations in advanced level subjects.

How are admission decisions made for international students?
The Admissions Committee reviews completed applications (application form, all academic transcripts, essays, TOEFL results, and SAT scores [highly recommended but not required]. Applicants who are academically prepared, but do not have the needed financial support may gain admission if they are selected for an academic scholarship. Decisions are made on a “rolling” basis, and applicants are generally notified within six weeks of submitting a complete application.

How will the grades from my school be evaluated?
Our staff recognizes grading scales from all around the world. However, it is recommended that you include a school profile that includes grading scale, whenever possible.

How are visas and travel handled?
Visa and travel arrangements are not made until the applicant has been admitted and submitted an enrollment deposit. Typically, students make their decision to enroll and submit a $300 enrollment deposit sometime before May 1st. Visa and travel arrangements are then made during May, June, and July.

How many international students apply and enroll each year?
Typically, we will receive about 300 international students apply each year. From that set of applicants we will enroll 20-25 students.