Empowering Students to Lead Purposeful Lives
Located in a fantastic college town in Frederick, Maryland, Hood College has a strong international community. With students from 28 countries, international students make up 12 percent of its graduate population. “Word of mouth has been the main engine of attracting and recruiting our international students. We often hear from international students that they received individualized attention when they contacted us. When they arrive on campus, students are met with exceptional support and the warmth of our ‘Hood Hello,’” says Amani Al-Dajane, Hood College’s Director of International Student Services and Principal Designated School Official (PDSO).
Upon arrival at Hood College, all international students are mandated to attend an orientation program. The program serves a dual purpose of acquainting students with the institution’s policies and facilitating their transition to life in the United States. During the orientation, students receive comprehensive information on various topics, including but not limited to the College’s history, transportation options, health insurance, procedures for obtaining a driver’s license, opening a bank account, and getting a social security number. Additionally, they receive an introduction to the key offices that play a central role in ensuring their academic success, including the Library and Learning Commons, Career Center, Student Success Center, Wellness Center, Information Technology, Registrar, and International Student Services.
The peer mentor program is a crucial component of the orientation program, where new international students are matched with experienced upperclassmen. This program provides invaluable support to new students, as it offers a platform for them to seek answers to their questions and gain insight into the experiences of their peers. Connecting with fellow students who have undergone similar experiences helps alleviate the sense of disorientation and “culture shock” that often accompanies the transition to the U.S.
“At Hood College, our diverse range of cultural events and programs are key to attracting international students to join our institution. Our calendar is packed with events such as International Education Week, Diwali, Holi, Iftar for Ramadan, and many more holidays and festivities,” shares Al-Dajane. Hood College offers a range of popular academic programs, such as computer science, information technology, and business, which draw in students from across the globe. The College has recently introduced on-campus graduate housing facilities to enhance the campus experience for its international students. “We also have the Global Citizen Club for international students. They host events such as international bingo night, international dinner, global parties, and more,” adds Al-Dajane.
The vibrant academic community at Hood College comprises 109 international graduate students and 14 undergraduate international students from 28 diverse countries worldwide. These students hail from countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Cook Islands, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jordan, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leon, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. The rich tapestry of cultures, perspectives, and experiences in its student body fosters a dynamic and inclusive academic environment that nurtures cross-cultural understanding, global awareness, and personal growth.
A Century-Old Establishment
Hood College was established in 1893 as a women’s college, with male students admitted for the first time in 1971. The College became fully coeducational in 2003. The institution’s mission is to offer students an education that combines the liberal arts and the professions, empowering them to meet personal, professional, and global challenges. This education equips students with the tools to lead purposeful lives of responsibility, leadership, service, and civic engagement. The College’s vision is to be the top choice for students seeking a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences education that prepares them holistically for personal and professional achievement. Additionally, the College strives to provide an inclusive environment that fosters the values of responsibility, leadership, service, and civic engagement.
Hood College offers an extensive selection of academic programs that cater to the demands of today’s competitive economy. With 30 bachelor’s degrees, four pre-professional programs, 20 master’s degrees, two doctorates, and 13 post-baccalaureate certificates, the College provides students with a range of opportunities to excel in their chosen fields. The College offers flexible scheduling options, with evening and weekend classes and online/hybrid options, enabling students to balance their academic pursuits with other commitments. Moreover, the College provides international students with the same competitive tuition rates as domestic students, personalized attention, and robust support services.
“We have achieved a 100 percent approval rating for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for international students. Furthermore, international students can also apply for STEM OPT, which allows them to work an additional two years after completing their OPT,” shares Al-Dajane. The College’s simulation trading room and data center provide a unique opportunity for business students to gain practical experience, while its expert practitioner-based faculty members are dedicated to providing high-quality education. In addition, Hood College prides itself on being a diverse and vibrant community, encompassing many faiths, beliefs, traditions, and cultures, making it an ideal destination for students seeking a dynamic and inclusive academic experience.
At Hood College, international students can immerse themselves in a multitude of facilities, including the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Learning Commons, the Hodson Science and Technology Center, the Ruth Whitaker Holmes School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, the NeighborHood Counseling Training Center, the Virginia Munson Hammell Trading Room, the Data Driven Frederick Center, Broadcast Studio, Delaplaine Media Center, Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center and many more.
Hood College is renowned for its highly sought-after programs, with computer science, information technology, management information systems, cybersecurity, and business being the top five most popular programs among international students. However, Hood also offers a diverse range of other programs catering to international students’ interests and passions. These programs include biomedical science, bioinformatics, environmental biology, ceramics, mathematics, and education.
In addition, Hood College offers two doctoral degrees, namely organizational leadership (DOL) and business administration (DBA), which are highly coveted by international students seeking to pursue advanced research and scholarship. The institute’s distinguished faculty members, who are experts in their respective fields, provide unparalleled mentorship and support to our doctoral students throughout their academic journey.
Hood College boasts a highly qualified faculty, with 97 percent of full-time faculty members holding a doctorate or terminal degree in their respective fields. Many faculty members are practitioner-based, bringing their real-world experience into the classroom and maintaining industry connections. This diverse faculty comes from a variety of backgrounds, creating a prosperous and inclusive learning environment for students. With an impressive 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students benefit from personalized attention and guidance from their professors. In fact, a recent survey found that 94 percent of students reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of Hood’s faculty. “All Hood College faculty create an inclusive teaching and learning environment and are encouraged to design courses to reflect global diversity and set expectations in their classroom to respect others’ viewpoints,” pinpoints Al-Dajane.
As a liberal arts institution, students at Hood College benefit from a versatile and well-rounded education that enables them to develop interdisciplinary competency beyond their declared major. Al-Dajane assures, “We are committed to promoting high-impact practices, such as experiential learning, internships, fieldwork, study abroad programs, and collaborative research with faculty.” In addition, students have access to a range of support services, including the Career Center, Writing Center, Student Success Center and Office of Student Engagement, designed to help them succeed academically and professionally.
Hood College offers its students unique opportunities to gain practical experience and prepare for their future careers through Data Driven Frederick Center and the Career Center. The Data Driven Frederick Center allows students to collaborate with local businesses, organizations, and government entities to collect and analyze data, providing valuable hands-on experience in their field of study. Similarly, the Career Center connects students with work-study and internship opportunities, giving them a chance to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations and make meaningful professional connections. These resources are just a few examples of how Hood College goes above and beyond to support its students’ success inside and outside the classroom.
A Campus Life to Remember
Hood College offers a small, welcoming campus community where students are greeted with a warm “Hello!” “Our campus is host to a variety of exciting events throughout the year, including Midnight Breakfast, Crab Feast, Hoodstock, and more. Our students are highly engaged in campus life, participating in student-run clubs and organizations, honor societies, and more than 20 athletics programs,” shares Al-Dajane. Hood College also provides a wealth of resources for career development, including recruitment events and internships through the Career Center. Additionally, the campus is within walking distance of historic Downtown Frederick, offering students access to world-class restaurants, galleries, shopping, parks, and other attractions.
Hood College recently launched its 2022-2025 strategic plan, “For a Greater Hood.” The plan focuses on enhancing the student experience by prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. It also aims to establish the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences and the Biomedical Research and Training Center. Additionally, the plan seeks to expand Hood’s presence in the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area and strengthen its branding and marketing efforts to enhance its reputation and attract students from around the world. These initiatives reflect Hood’s commitment to academic excellence and innovation, as well as its dedication to providing a comprehensive, well-rounded education that prepares students to thrive in today’s global society.
More Info: https://www.hood.edu/
Amani Al-Dajane, Director of International Student Services and Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)
Amani Al-Dajane is Hood College’s Director of International Student Services and Principal Designated School Official (PDSO). She has more than 15 years of experience in higher education with a strong commitment to helping students achieve their academic and career goals. Al-Dajane is originally from Palestine. However, she was born and raised in Kuwait and then immigrated to Canada, where she earned her Honours Bachelor of Arts in sociology and economics from the University of Toronto. She obtained her MBA from Hood College and was inducted into the International Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta. She is bilingual in English and Arabic and enjoys traveling abroad.