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The Student Guide: Pre-arrival

Welcome to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

I am delighted that you have chosen to pursue your dreams here at


the Conservatoire - Scotland’s international conservatoire. We
welcome students from across the world and the contribution that
you, as a student, make to the cultural life of the Conservatoire and
to Scotland is invaluable. You can be assured of a very warm
welcome and a truly excellent, world class, educational and artistic
experience.

Scotland has a deservedly great reputation for world-class


education. We boast one of the world's youngest and most
innovative national theatres, resurgent opera and ballet companies, three outstanding
orchestras and one of the liveliest performing arts scenes in Europe which includes, of
course the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Scotland is a
country which has put culture at its centre.

We believe that ultimately, it is performance that lies at the heart of creative and artistic
success. Whatever your specialism across dance, drama, music, technical and production
arts, or digital film and television your own personal performance - the ability to raise your
game when it really counts - will be crucial in your future artistic journey through life.

I look forward to welcoming you personally to the Conservatoire.

John Wallace
Principal

“ceud mìle fàilte”


“one hundred thousand welcomes”(Scottish Gaelic)

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The Student Guide: Pre-arrival

This handbook is designed to help you plan your journey to the UK and to find your way in
your first few weeks in Glasgow, as well as providing you with information for your life as a
student of the Conservatoire. If you see this symbol next to a paragraph  it means that
this is for students coming from outside of the European Union (EU) or the European
Economic Area (EEA).

The Support Team


We have a number of people to support you as you prepare to come to the Conservatoire.

Our Welfare and International Student Advisor, Sarah Ward, is available to provide advice
and support for all applicants. She is the primary source for immigration advice at the
Conservatoire and can assist applicants and students from outside the EU.

The admissions team are available to answer questions relating to your application and the
admissions process.

Welfare & International Student Advisor Admissions Team


Sarah Ward Susan Lee, Jennifer Graham and Andi Watson
 international@rcs.ac.uk  matriculation@rcs.ac.uk
 +44 (0) 141 270 8281  +44 (0) 141 270 8265

ABOUT GLASGOW
As Scotland’s international conservatoire, we welcome students from all over the world to
join the multicultural, friendly and supportive environment which we offer. Each year, we
welcome students from over 49 countries who choose to study at the Conservatoire.

We understand that coming to a new country and city to study can be a challenging as well
as an exciting experience and our Welfare and International Student Advisor and Academic
Administration and Support Department are on hand to provide you with support and
advice.

The Conservatoire is located in the heart of Glasgow, one of the UK’s most energetic and
friendly cities. Situated on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city,
with a vibrant mixture of history, culture, entertainment and education.
www.seeglasgow.com

Weather
The weather in Glasgow, and indeed throughout Scotland, is unpredictable and can be quite
changeable over a period of just a few hours. In winter it tends to be rather cold and wet.
You may wish to buy suitable clothing when you arrive in the UK and begin to become
accustomed to the weather. However, try to bring some cold-weather clothes and rainwear
with you, as well as lighter clothes for the summer season.

For further information on the weather and climate in Glasgow, please visit
www.worldclimate.com

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The Student Guide: Pre-arrival

ACCOMMODATION
It is advisable that you arrange your accommodation as soon as you have accepted your
place on a programme at the Conservatoire.

The Conservatoire’s halls of residence are owned and managed by Liberty Living.
Liberty House is situated in the centre of Glasgow, within a 15 minute walk of the
Conservatoire. All rooms have en-suite facilities with shared kitchen/dining areas for single
rooms and self contained kitchen facilities for double-bedded studio rooms.

A room at Liberty House can be booked through the Finance Office at the Conservatoire.
You will receive booking information with instructions on how to book a room. Further
information can be found on the Liberty House website: www.libertystudents.com. For at
least your first year of study we strongly recommend that you take a place in Liberty
House.

Students bringing their families to Glasgow should note that halls of residence do not have
family accommodation. For further information on accommodation suitable for families
please contact the Welfare and International Student Advisor.

Finding your own accommodation


You may decide that living in halls of residence is not suitable for you and you may wish to
find your own accommodation. It is always advisable to see a property before handing over
any deposit or payment of rent. Make sure you get all the information about the rent, who
pays utility bills, how the deposit return works, etc. Remember that the landlord may ask
for two or three months’ rent as deposit. You should always ask for a written contract and it
should have the names of all the residents on it. You should also ask for receipts for your
rent payments if paying by cash.

There are a number of websites which advertise accommodation in Glasgow. For an


information sheet listing websites that may be of use in finding your own accommodation,
please contact the Welfare and International Student Advisor.

Private Accommodation Database (PAD)


The Private Accommodation Database (PAD), where students can look for accommodation
in the Glasgow area, is useful if you do not wish to stay in halls, but would rather share a flat
in the private sector with friends. You can access the website and search at
www.glasgowpad.org.

Temporary and Short-Term Accommodation


Although you are strongly advised to have long-term accommodation arranged before
arriving in Glasgow, there are a number of Youth Hostels around the UK which offer
reasonably priced overnight accommodation. You can find more information at
www.yha.org.uk and www.syha.org.uk; www.hostel-scotland.co.uk.

If you are coming on an Erasmus or Exchange programme, it is important that you get your
plans (dates of arrival, departure) set as soon as you can. The earlier you know exactly
when you will need accommodation, the more choices will be available to you. Short-term

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accommodation is more difficult to find as many student-housing schemes only rent out
rooms for a full academic year.

 FEES AND FUNDING


Thinking ahead about your finances is critical to the success of your studies. You will need
to know that you have sufficient funds to finance yourself to the end of your programme. In
order to satisfy visa requirements you must be able to show that you have access to £7200
(minimum) for maintenance plus the full amount of tuition fees for the first year of your
course. Please see the UKCISA information sheet about what financial requirements you
need to have when applying for a visa;
http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/applying_home_country.php#financial_requ
irements . You may also want to refer to the International Student Calculator
http://international.studentcalculator.org.uk/international/index.asp

Cost of Living
It is difficult to say exactly how much your study period at the Conservatoire will cost, as
students budget differently. However, below is a breakdown of the approximate cost per
month for a single student living in either private rented accommodation or halls of
residence self-catering accommodation:

Private Rented
Liberty House
Accommodation
£432 upwards depending on £250 - £350
Rent/Accommodation
the type of room
Bills (Electricity/Gas/Internet Access) £0 – included in the rent £80
Mobile Phone £10 £10
Food £150 £150
Clothing/Toiletries £50 £50
Monthly Travel £50 £50
Social/Entertainment £60 £60
Contents Insurance £0 – included in the rent £10

In general, we would recommend allowing approximately £7,000-£7,500 for an


undergraduate single student per year and roughly £8,000-£8,500 for a postgraduate
student. You should also be prepared to budget for unforeseen or one-off costs where
applicable – for example, an accommodation deposit, police registration, airfares home and
for any travel you are planning to do while you are in the UK.

Scholarships
There are a number of scholarships available which are awarded on merit at the audition or
interview stage. However, as funds are limited, we would advise that you ensure that you
have considered all funding options available to you.
We would advise you to research any scholarship or funding opportunities in your own
country in advance of starting your studies. For further advice and guidance please visit the
British Council website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-funding-your-studies.htm

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The Student Guide: Pre-arrival

Tuition fees
Tuition fees should be paid in full at the time of matriculation but permission may be
granted to pay the fees in termly instalments. If a sponsor pays your tuition fees, you must
bring a statement from them confirming that your fees will be paid. Please note that tuition
fees are reviewed annually, which means that they will be subject to a year-on-year increase.
If you need any further information regarding payment of tuition fees, transferring of funds
etc, please contact Craig Wardlaw at c.wardlaw@rcs.ac.uk or by telephone +44 (0)141 270
8233.

 International Students
From the information provided in your application form, the Conservatoire assesses your
eligibility to pay Scottish/EU, rest of UK (RUK) or International fees. If you would like to
query your tuition fee classification you should contact the Welfare and International
Student Advisor who will provide you with a tuition fee assessment questionnaire. Once you
have submitted that form with the required supporting documents we will review our
decision as to whether you should be classed as Scottish/EU, rest of UK (RUK) or Overseas
for tuition fee purposes. The rules which we apply in order to assess fee status and which
are used by all Higher Education Institutions in the UK, can be found at:
www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/fees_student_support.php.

Scottish/RUK/EU students
If you are an undergraduate student coming from the UK or EU then you need to contact
the relevant funding or student finance organisation to apply for support with your studies.
The relevant funding bodies are;

 SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) for Scottish and EU students


 Student Finance England for English Students
 Student Finance Wales for Welsh Students
 Student Finance Northern Ireland for Students from Northern Ireland

The websites for each of these organisations (see the useful links section) have full
information on the support available, eligibility criteria and how and when to apply.

IMMIGRATION
 Students who are NOT European Economic Area nationals or Swiss nationals
If you are not a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or are not a Swiss
national, entry clearance is mandatory if you intend to stay in the UK for longer than 6
months. You must obtain entry clearance from the British Embassy, Mission, High
Commission or Consulate-General in your own country before you travel to the UK.

If you are in any doubt about your status or need any advice you should contact the British
Embassy in your own country. The Welfare and International Student Advisor can also give
further information.

If you are coming to us as a full-time student you will need a CAS number (Confirmation of
Acceptance to Study). The CAS number is only valid for a period of 6 months and can only be

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used within the 3 months prior to your course starting. Therefore, we cannot issue your CAS
number earlier than 3 months prior to your course start date. This is usually in late June.
Please also refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website, where
there is a range of useful information: www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/index.php

Students from within the European Economic Area and Swiss nationals
If you are a national of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a Swiss
national you do not need to obtain entry clearance to enter the UK to study. When entering
the UK you will be asked to provide official proof of nationality (passport or ID card).

Please also refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website, where
there is a range of useful information sheets, including the sheet below for EEA and Swiss
students:
www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/eea.php

UK BORDER AGENCY – CUSTOMS INFORMATION


There are rules about what you are and are not allowed to bring into the UK. To find out
more about what you can bring, look at the travelling to the UK section on the UKBA
website; http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/travellingtotheuk/

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS AND SUPPORT


International applicants whose first language is not English will be required to give evidence
of proficiency in English. The level of proficiency required varies between programmes,
please see the table below for more specific details;

Programmes English Language Requirement


All Music programmes IELTS (Academic) 6.0.
BA TPA/ Digital Film and Television/ Modern IELTS (Academic) 6.5.
Ballet
MA CCT/ BA CPP/ BA or MA Musical IELTS (Academic) 7.5.
Theatre/ BA Acting

We also accept some alternative English language tests that are equivalent to the above
scores, so please enquire with admissions if you have taken an alternative test and we can
advise you further.

If you have been given a conditional offer of IELTS 6.0 and you achieve an overall score of
5.5 (including at least a score of 5.5 in each of the four component areas) your place will be
confirmed if you attend the Pre-Sessional English Language course at the Conservatoire.
Once you have your results you must inform the Conservatoire as soon as possible so that
we can arrange the pre-sessional course for you.

 The CAS that you will receive will include information relating to the pre-sessional course
and so you will need to inform us of your intention to study on the pre-sessional course by
the 31st July 2012 so that you have enough time to apply for a visa and make travel
arrangements.

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All students are given access to in-sessional English language support classes. Information
on classes will be provided at the beginning of the academic year. For more information on
the English language support please contact us (matriculation@rcs.ac.uk).

USEFUL LINKS
This is a list of useful websites that you can have a look at should you require further
information regarding your studies in Glasgow;

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


As you would expect, the Conservatoire website provides information about all aspects of
our activities – www.rcs.ac.uk.
Contacts: Welfare and International Student Advisor, Sarah Ward
international@rcs.ac.uk
Admissions Team (Susan Lee, Jennifer Graham and Andi Watson)
matriculation@rcs.ac.uk
Craig Wardlaw, Finance Assistant
c.wardlaw@rcs.ac.uk

UKCISA – UK Council for International Student Affairs


Promotes and protects the needs of international students in the UK. Can offer advice and
guidance, many issues facing international students including immigration, finance and fees,
accommodation and travelling when studying
www.ukcisa.org.uk
The UKCISA website also includes information sheets that can help you with specific issues
such as making a visa application from you home country
http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/applying_home_country.php

UKBA - United Kingdom Border Agency


UK Border Agency website dedicated to people applying for visas outside of the UK. Provides
information, forms and advice on how to complete your visa application and what type of
visa you will need.
www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en
www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/doineedavisa
Information relating to customs and what you can and can’t bring to the UK
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/travellingtotheuk/

British Council
Provides information about preparing to study in the UK and what you might expect when
coming to stay in the UK.
www.britishcouncil.org

NUS - National Union of Students Scotland


Provides information related to studying and living in Scotland
www.nusonline.co.uk

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Liberty Living
Provides all of the information you will need relating to the Liberty House halls of residence.
You can see pictures and facilities lists as well as price structures and contact information.
www.libertyliving.co.uk

GlasgowPAD
GlasgowPAD is an online resource to search for private accommodation. You can use this to
search for short and long term lets in and around the city.
www.glasgowpad.org

Student Finance websites


Student Awards Agency for Scotland
www.saas.gov.uk

Student Finance England


www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance

Student Finance Northern Ireland


www.studentfinanceni.co.uk

Student Finance Wales


www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

Before you arrive checklist


 Task When to do
□ Estimate your study and living expenses At least 12 months before departure.
and think about how you will pay for
them.
□ Start applying for scholarships. At least 12 months before departure.

□ Start arranging accommodation. As soon as you have an unconditional offer.

□ Overseas fee payers - Contact the As soon as you have an unconditional offer.
Conservatoire Finance Department
about arrangements to pay your fees.

□ UK/EU students should apply to the Check the website of your funding authority
relevant funding body; for what is available and when and how to
apply.
Scotland/EU – SAAS
England – Student Finance England
NI – Student Finance Northern Ireland
Wales - Student Finance Wales

The next points are for those students


who are coming from outside of the UK
□ Check your passport/national ID card As soon as possible as processing times vary.

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expiry date and make arrangements if


you need to replace it.
□ If a condition of your offer is to obtain an As soon as possible. Please check their
IELTS test score, arrange to take test and website for test centres – www.ielts.org
send in test score to admissions office
□ Check the UKBA website to see if you As soon as possible.
require entry clearance for your studies  To check visa processing times in your
and when it is appropriate to apply. If home country visit
so, start preparing your application. www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/proces
www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/doineedvisa/ singtimes
□  If you require entry clearance ensure  Please see the UKCISA information sheet
that you have sufficient funds in your about what financial requirements you need
bank account to have when applying for a visa;
http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_she
ets/applying_home_country.php#financial_r
equirements
□  Check that you have received your  CAS Certificates are only valid within the
letter confirming your unconditional 3 month period prior to your course start
offer and that you have received your date.
CAS from the Conservatoire.  CAS statements are usually sent out in
June of each year.
□ Book your travel arrangements to If you require a visa you should book your
Glasgow. travel when you have successfully received
your visa. Do not try to enter the UK if you
have not got permission to do so.
If you do not require a visa then you should
book your travel arrangements as soon as
you receive an unconditional offer.
□ Buy travel insurance. When you book your travel arrangements.
□ Check with your airline about baggage When you book your travel arrangements.
limits and restrictions.