Frequently Asked Questions

Student Life

Q. What are the clubs/organizations available?
Q. Do you feel safe on campus?
Q. What is the food like?
Q. What are the housing options for international students?
Q. Should I shop for my dorm items before arriving?
Q. Where do international students stay during winter break?
Q. What do most students do during the summer?
Q. Can I set up my own U.S. bank account?
Q. Besides the cost of attendance, what other expenses do students have?
Q. How much money do I need to bring?
Q. What is the environment outside Hollins like?
Q. Are there any shops or markets nearby I can go to myself?
Q. What are ways or suggestions I can cope with my homesickness?
Q: Can I apply for a U.S. driver’s license?

Student Life

Q. What are the clubs/organizations available?

A. Check out the list of clubs and organizations active on campus, and visit the SGA website for ways to get involved.

Q. Do you feel safe on campus?

A. Security is open 24 hours and consistently patrols the campus. There are Blue Light Call Boxes located around campus. You can sign up for emergency text and email alerts via e2campus.

Q. What is the food like?

A. Hollins offers a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Visit Hollins Dining for schedules, menus, updates, and more.

Q. What are the housing options for international students?

A. Both international and domestic students are typically housed in Tinker Hall for their first year. Many returning international students choose to live in Carvin, which is also called the “Global Village.”

Visit Residence Life for information about roommate selection, what to bring, policy & procedures, and FAQs. Watch residential hall videos on Hollins University’s YouTube channel at hollinsvideo.

Q. Should I shop for my dorm items before arriving?

A. Because airlines have limited baggage policies, it is practical to shop for your dorm items in the U.S. During orientation, you will have the opportunity to shop for necessities at Target and Best Buy.

Q. Where do international students stay during winter break?

A. During fall, spring and thanksgiving break, international students are allowed to stay on campus. However, international students must find a place to stay during longer breaks in the winter and summer. 

Q. What do most students do during the summer?

A. Most students go home during the summer. Some stay on campus for research or an internship, others apply to internships outside of Roanoke such as in New York or Washington D.C.

Q. Can I set up my own U.S. bank account?

A. You will be given the opportunity to set up your bank account with Wells Fargo Bank during the ISOP orientation.

Q. Besides the cost of attendance, what other expenses do students have?

A. Other expenses include but are not limited to, textbooks and other school supplies, personal items and leisure activity spending.

Q. How much money do I need to bring?

A. How much money you need depends on what type of lifestyle you have. If you like to shop a lot, eat out at restaurants and etc., we suggest you bring a little extra. However, on travel day, we recommend carrying at least $200 in cash in case of an emergency.

Q. What is the environment outside Hollins like?

A. The Roanoke Valley is a mid-size city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Due to its location on the Appalachian Trail, Roanoke has become a popular destination for hikers, kayakers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Students interested in such activities might want to check out the Hollins Outdoor ProgramThere are also a number of festivals, concerts and other events which take place year-round. Hollins offers plenty of information about the exciting things happening in the city, while Roanoke itself maintains its own site with even more activities!

Q. Are there any shops or markets nearby I can go to myself?

A. There is a Kroger supermarket and a CVS pharmacy within walking distance. There is also a shuttle service available. The shuttle runs on Thursday from 5pm-9pm, Friday from 4pm-10pm, Saturday from 11am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-5pm most weeks. The shuttle departs from Moody Center on each hour, stops at Valley View Mall on the :15s and :40s, and downtown at the Center in the Square on the :30s. On Thursdays/ Sundays it also makes a stop at Towne Square on the :45s, and on Fridays/Saturdays at Target/Regal Cinema on the :20s. The most accurate information can be found at http://www.hollinsshuttle.net including any traffic or weather delays as well as special shuttle stops or hours.   

Q. What are ways or suggestions I can cope with my homesickness?

A. The tremendous support given by the Community & Cultural Engagement Program will help you when you are homesick. Family time with ISOP will help you adjust to the differences you are faced with in the U.S. ISOP will also coordinate events that will make you feel at home, such as the annual intercultural festival.

Q: Can I apply for a U.S. driver’s license?

A: Yes. Students who wish to obtain a U.S. driver’s license must apply at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will need to bring:

  • a valid passport
  • I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility)
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  • Social Security card, if applicable
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
    • Typically, an official transcript and documentation of your dorm assignment

For more information regarding required documentation, please see the official DMV guidance.

Most students are required to take a written test of Virginia road rules and an in-car driving test. Canadian, French, German and Korean citizens are often exempt. Driver’s licenses are issued at the discretion of the Virginia DMV.


Travel

Q. Who will come to pick me up when I first arrive in Roanoke?
Q: I plan on leaving the U.S. to travel or return home. What do I need to do?
Q: What documents do I need to bring with me when I travel?
Q: Do I need to bring my documents with me when traveling inside the U.S.?
Q: Can I study abroad?

Travel

Q. Who will come to pick me up when I first arrive in Roanoke?

A. As long as you’ve provided your itinerary and flight schedule to Jeri Suarez, a Hollins representative will be present at the Roanoke airport to pick you up when you arrive for your first year. Returning students may hail a cab or third-party ride service to campus from the airport.

Q: I plan on leaving the U.S. to travel or return home. What do I need to do?

A: The International Programs office should be informed of any trips you plan to take outside of the country. You will need to report to IP at least two weeks prior to your planned departure to receive travel authorization on your I-20.

Without the travel authorization signature, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S.

Q: What documents do I need to bring with me when I travel?

A: Whether you’re traveling in the U.S. or have gone abroad, you must bring your passport, visa and I-20 with you. It’s also a good idea to keep digital copies of these documents (either scanned PDFs or photos taken with your phone) with you at all times.

Q: Do I need to bring my documents with me when traveling inside the U.S.?

A: Regardless of whether you’re traveling in or out of the U.S., you should keep a copy of your important documents (visa, passport and I-20) with you at all times.

You will need your original documents any time you enter the U.S.

Q: Can I study abroad?

A: International students at Hollins University often participate in our study abroad programs. You will remain a full-time student during your time abroad, and your F-1 status will remain active.

For more information about studying abroad, please visit our program page.


Work

Q: Can I work in the U.S. as an F-1 student?
Q: I’ve been offered an on-campus job. How many hours can I work?
Q: Do I need a Social Security number to work?
Q: Can I do internships during my four years at Hollins?
Q: Can I work in the U.S. after graduation?
Q: I have another question about CPT, OPT or on-campus employment.

Work

Q: Can I work in the U.S. as an F-1 student?

A: Students who wish to work while studying in the U.S. can apply for an on-campus job. Many international students work at the Hollins library or for the dining hall. Jeri Suarez can provide information about the kinds of opportunities available and how to apply.

Students cannot work off-campus without special authorization from the U.S. government.

Q: I’ve been offered an on-campus job. How many hours can I work?

A: During the semester, students cannot work more than 20 hours per week; during the break, you can work a total of 40.

Even if students are working more than one job, they cannot exceed 20 or 40 hours, total.

Q: Do I need a Social Security number to work?

A: Yes. Students working on-campus jobs or Hollins work-study positions must apply for and receive a social security number before they begin working.

To apply for a SSN, you will need:

  • a valid passport
  • your I-20
  • your most recent I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  • an offer letter from your employers showing your job title, employment start date, number of hours you will be working, and your supervisor’s name and contact information

Q: Can I do internships during my four years at Hollins?

A: Many international students work internships during the summer break and January term.

Students who receive internships can apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) through the International Programs office. The internship must be done for academic credit to qualify for CPT.

Q: Can I work in the U.S. after graduation?

A: All on-campus employment or Hollins work-study must end on the program end date listed on your I-20. Students hoping to remain in the U.S. to work can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) prior to graduation. International Programs will hold an optional OPT orientation in the Fall and Spring for students in their final semester.

Q: I have another question about CPT, OPT or on-campus employment.

A: Please review the work authorization guidelines provided by International Programs. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to the director or coordinator of International Programs.


Academics

Q. What classes are offered each semester?
Q. How will I register for classes and buy textbooks?
Q. What is January term?
Q: How many credits do I have to take each semester?
Q: Will a low GPA impact my F-1 status?
Q: I am unable to complete one of the courses I’ve enrolled in. What can I do?
Q: I’m in my final semester and only need a few classes. Do I have to be enrolled full-time?
Q: I’m not able to complete my degree by the program end date listed on my I-20. Can I get an extension?

Academics

Q. What classes are offered each semester?

A. The Registrar’s Office provides the schedule of available classes each academic year. Click on Undergraduate Schedule of Classes for the semester and year in which you’re interested.

Q. How will I register for classes and buy textbooks?

A. You will register for classes during first-year orientation with your first-year seminar class and advisor. You may purchase textbooks from websites such as Chegg.com or Amazon. 

Q. What is January term?

A. J-term is a short academic period which takes place, as you might have guessed, each January. First-year students typically enroll in a three-week seminar course on campus, while returning students pursue an internship or study abroad.

Q: How many credits do I have to take each semester?

A: In order to remain a full-time student undergraduate students must be enrolled in 14 credits each semester; graduate students must be enrolled in at least 9.

If you fall below full-time enrollment, your F-1 status can be terminated.

Q: Will a low GPA impact my F-1 status?

A: International students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to protect their F-1 status. To do this, a student must maintain a certain GPA each year of their program.

First years:                         1.8
Sophomores:                      1.9
Juniors and Seniors:           2.0

Q: I am unable to complete one of the courses I’ve enrolled in. What can I do?

A: With your professor’s permission, you can take one course as an “incomplete” without impacting your F-1 status. If you do this, you will need to complete any unfinished coursework and receive your final grade before the start of the next semester.

Q: I’m in my final semester and only need a few classes. Do I have to be enrolled full-time?

A: Students who will be completing their degree or their thesis may be eligible to enroll in a reduced course load. Visit the International Programs office to discuss whether this might be possible.

Q: I’m not able to complete my degree by the program end date listed on my I-20. Can I get an extension?

A: If you have been making otherwise regular progress on your degree, you may be eligible for a program extension. You will need a letter from your academic advisor which states the reason why you will not complete your program on time.

Please contact the International Programs office to discuss the possibility of extending your program.


Visa

Q: I’ve been admitted. How long will it take to get my I-20?
Q: I’ve made an appointment at my local U.S. consulate or embassy. What should I bring with me?
Q: I have received my F-1 visa and am planning to travel to the U.S. soon. When can I arrive?
Q: My F-1 visa is expiring. Do I need to renew it?
Q: I am leaving the U.S. and need to renew my visa. Where can I do this?
Q: My financial/academic/personal information has changed. What do I need to do?

Visa

Q: I’ve been admitted. How long will it take to get my I-20?

A: After you receive your notice of admission, your application and supporting documents will be sent to the International Programs office. They will reach out to confirm your mailing address before generating your I-20. Once your I-20 has been mailed, you will generally receive it within 7-10 business days.

Q: I’ve made an appointment at my local U.S. consulate or embassy. What should I bring with me?

A: Although every U.S. embassy and consulate applies the same regulations and laws, each visa office follows its own procedures. It is important to check the website of the consulate to which you will apply for your visa to learn about their particular procedures.

In general, you will need:

  • a valid passport
  • your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 form) from Hollins
  • documentation of financial resources in the amount indicated on the I-20
  • your letter of admission to Hollins
  • your receipt, indicating that you have paid the I-901 fee
  • a color, passport-style photo (please see photo requirements on Travel.State.gov)
  • the visa fee (which is separate from the I-901 fee)
  • any other required documentation listed on the consulate’s website

Q: I have received my F-1 visa and am planning to travel to the U.S. soon. When can I arrive?

A: The U.S. consulate or embassy where you apply can process your visa up to 120 days before the start date of your academic program. You may enter the country as early as 30 days before your program begins.

New students must arrive in time for the ISOP orientation, which begins one week prior to the start of classes.

Q: My F-1 visa is expiring. Do I need to renew it?

A: The F-1 visa is an entry document, which means you will need it to enter the U.S. If you are not planning on traveling outside of the U.S., then you do not need to renew your visa. It is legal to remain in the U.S. on an expired F-1 visa.

Q: I am leaving the U.S. and need to renew my visa. Where can I do this?

A: Students who want to renew their visas can do so at any U.S. embassy or consulate. While many students choose to go home, others may want to travel to Canada or Mexico, or another nearby country.

Q: My financial/academic/personal information has changed. What do I need to do?

A: For any major changes, you must report to the International Programs office to receive an updated I-20. These changes can include, but are not limited to, declaring a major, receiving on-campus employment, getting married or renewing your passport or visa.