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College Offices Closed Tuesday, Aug. 16
The continuing education office in the Hickory Ridge Building will remain open to support the Kids on Campus program, which will continue as scheduled. Please use the website to apply and register for fall classes. 
HCC Main Campus
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
Laurel College Center
312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
Training & Development Solution
Maryland Innovation Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD 21046
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I apply?
    Please refer to our apply page for detailed instructions about how to apply for admission to the EI.
  • When should I apply?

    The EI offers three terms:

    • Spring (15 weeks; January-May)
    • Summer (10 weeks; May-August)
    • Fall (15 weeks; August-December)

    We offer rolling admission, which means that we accept applications until registration for the term is closed. However, if you are applying from outside the U.S., we recommend that you apply at least six weeks before the start date of the term to allow enough time to receive your visa and arrive in the U.S.

    You can apply as early as five months before the term starts (August for Spring start, December for Summer start, or March for Fall start).

    If you are unsure about how much time you need to apply, please contact us.

  • What are the admission requirements for the EI?
    Please refer to our apply page to view the admission requirements for the EI.
  • Is a TOEFL or IELTS score required for admission to the EI?

    The EI does not require proof of English proficiency for admission, so you do not need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. We offer courses to help you prepare to prove your English proficiency when you are ready to apply to a U.S. undergraduate or graduate program, including an Advanced TOEFL preparation course. If you wish to enroll in the undergraduate program at Howard Community College and you do not have the required TOEFL score, you can complete coursework at the EI to demonstrate English proficiency, then apply to transfer to the associate degree program.

  • How do I get a student visa?
    If you need a visa to study English in the USA, refer to our Applying for your F1 Visa & Preparing for Arrival page. for detailed instructions about how to apply for your student visa after you have been admitted to the EI.
  • When will I know whether or not I am accepted?
    You will receive confirmation of your acceptance by email within 1-3 business days after you have completed your application.
  • How much does it cost?
    Please refer to our program costs page for information about the cost of attending the EI.
  • Can I get financial aid?
    EI courses are not eligible for financial aid, but the EI does offer $250 and $500 scholarships for returning students. Please refer to the “Apply for a scholarship” portion our Student Services page for information about how to apply for a scholarship.
  • What kind of insurance do I need?
    Please refer to the “Enroll in health insurance” portion of our Student Services page for information about how to choose a health insurance plan.
  • How will I know my English level?

    After you arrive, you will complete a placement test. The placement test has 3 parts: (1) a 40-question multiple choice test to assess your reading and language usage level, (2) a writing sample, and (3) a speaking evaluation. During your first week of class, your teachers will also assess you to make sure that you are placed in the correct level.

  • What will my class schedule be?
    Each EI class is assigned a number of units based on classroom hours. You will be required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units, which is approximately 18 hours of class each week. Most students enroll in a reading and vocabulary class, a speaking class, a writing class, and a fourth class of their choice. The most common schedule is Monday – Thursday, with a class in the morning and a class in the afternoon, but other day and time options are available. The Spring term is 15 weeks (late January – early May), the Summer term is 10 weeks (mid-May – early August), and the Fall term is 15 weeks (late August – mid-December). Summer study is not required unless you begin your studies during that term.
  • How many students are in each class?
    There is a minimum of 8 students and a maximum of 20 students in each class. The average class size is 15.
  • When can I begin studying in a degree program?
    You can apply for a degree program at any time, but most degree programs will require that you demonstrate English proficiency by submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score or completing a placement test. Most students find that they are ready to study in a degree program after completing level 5 at the EI. Students generally complete one level each semester, so if you begin studying at level 1, you would need to study for about 5 semesters to prepare for a degree program.
  • What housing arrangements are available to students?
    HCC does not have on-campus housing, but there are many housing options available. Please refer to our Location & Housing page for more information.
  • What transportation options are available?

    Please refer to the “Find Transportation to School” portion of our Student Services page for information about how to get to HCC.

  • Are there opportunities for me to practice my English and connect with the community outside of class?
    Yes! The EI hosts many activities during each term so that you will have the opportunity to interact with other students and Americans. We also offer a course called Using English in the Community that allows students to practice their English while performing volunteer service in the community.
  • What facilities can I use on campus? Can I use the Athletic & Fitness Center or the Library?
    EI students have access to all HCC facilities, including the Athletic & Fitness Center and the Library.
  • What is the difference between the English Language Center and the English Institute?

    The English Institute is a special group of students within the English Language Center. To enroll in the English Institute, students must complete an application, provide required documentation, and pay an application fee. Once admitted, EI students have access to an advising team, special activities, and some courses that are not available to other students.

  • Who is eligible for the English Institute?
    • International students from abroad who have proper documentation
    • Permanent residents who are non-native speakers of English
    • International business professionals/groups
    • Groups from abroad interested in a customized, intensive English program
    • All other non-native citizens who would like an intensive English program
  • How do I find a job?
    According to USCIS (immigration) regulations, international (F-1) students may only get a job on campus. Students may not work for more than 20 hours during the semester and 40 hours during breaks; however, there are a limited number of jobs available on campus. For directions on how to find a job on-campus, click here.
  • Where can I get more information about the EI Intensive English program?
    We are available to help by phone (443-518-1681), email (, or in person in HR 200.
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