Questions & Answers for Overseas Students

Stow College welcomes applications from students from overseas and we are proud of the diverse mix of students which makes up our College community each year.

However, if you are thinking of applying from overseas, there are some points of advice which we think we should pass on to help you prepare for your application. 

Firstly please note that as from 13 November 2005, all those who are not British or European Economic Area (EEA)/Swiss nationals will need a visa or entry clearance for all stays in the United Kingdom over six months. For such applicants the following frequently asked questions and answers may be helpful:

Q. When should I apply?

A. As early as possible. It will certainly take time to exchange the essential papers, validate qualifications and to obtain, where appropriate, visas and other travel documents. Since it is essential that you are available to attend your chosen course from induction week onwards, you should ensure that you have your application in our hands for consideration by mid-May of the proposed year of study at the latest.

Q. The prospectus says admission is by interview. Do I have to attend the College for interview?>

A. We do not expect overseas applicants to attend for interview in person. We do, however, ask you to provide a contact telephone number where an academic advisor can speak directly to you and discuss your application. We will do everything possible to arrange this at a mutually convenient time, bearing in mind the problems of time zones around the world.

Q. Will I receive an offer after this interview?

A. Provided that you and your academic advisor are satisfied that this is the right course at the right level you will receive a conditional offer which we will convert to an unconditional offer when we have verified your qualifications. This rule applies to all applicants, but clearly it is easier to verify qualifications of a student who is able to bring the documents in person. We usually require to see original copies of qualifications.

Q. Will my qualifications be recognised?

A. Probably. Many overseas certificates and diplomas are recognised. We may need to verify the equivalence of your qualifications in relation to the required standard. If you need advice on the validity of your qualifications you could contact the National Academic Recognition Information Centre(3). Remember that if we have to check your qualifications this can add to the delay in confirming an offer.

Q. >Will I need a qualification in English?>

A. All mainstream, full-time courses require you to show a satisfactory level of English language skills so that you will not begin the course at a disadvantage. That means that your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in English must reach a suitable level(4) and you will be required to prove this. If you cannot show this level of skill you would not normally be accepted onto the course and no unconditional offer could be made. If you do possess evidence of suitable standards in English but find that you still have some difficulties, we offer language support classes on an individual or small group basis through our Support for Learning Department.

Q. How do I obtain leave to enter the UK as a student?

A. There are several conditions which you must satisfy. The first is that you have an unconditional offer of a full-time place at your chosen institution, in this case, Stow College. Full-time means over 15 hours of study per week. You will not normally be permitted to take up full-time work and you will need to demonstrate that you are financially able to meet the costs of your course, the additional study costs of your course (books equipments etc) and accommodation throughout your studies. In addition you will need to indicate that you intend to return to your home country on completion of your studies (but see also the next question below). You can find a lot more information about this on the advisory websites. Apart from providing proof of your unconditional offer (when the necessary conditions have been satisfied) Stow College cannot enter into negotiations on your behalf with the Home Office, HM Immigration Service or UK Diplomatic Missions overseas.

Q. Are there any circumstances in which I can extend my stay in Scotland?

A. The Scottish Executive currently operates a scheme called the 'Fresh Talent Initiative' under which, if you have achieved a HND or a degree in a Scottish institution, you may be eligible to apply to stay on to gain relevant work experience for up to two years. You may then be eligible to apply for a work permit. For more information on this scheme you can view the relevant web pages: www.scotlandistheplace.com or www.workingintheuk.gov.uk or www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk

Q. Do I have to pay fees to study at Stow?

A. Yes. For each level of course, there is an Overseas Student Rate and, generally, one of the requirements of our making you an unconditional offer is that we are satisfied either that you can pay the fee in full at the start of your course, or that we are satisfied that there is a legally binding agreement in place to secure your full fees well within each year of study on your programme.

Q. How much will I have to pay?

A. The ‘current’ rate which you will be required to pay depends on decisions not wholly within our control. In addition, the rate is made up of a number of different parts, some of which we collect but then pay on to, for example, the body which awards your qualification. In recent years, the total figure including all of these elements has been in excess of £(stg)5,000. Allowing for rising costs on all factors which make up the fee, you should expect the final figure for the year of your application to exceed that given above. Remember to ask the Student Advisor at the College for the most up-to-date figure before you confirm your place on a course.

Q. Can I get a scholarship or bursary?

A. Generally you will not be eligible for bursaries provided by the Scottish Executive either through the College itself or through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), or for the additional support or hardship funds which they hold. However, you may be able to find a scholarship which will help to pay some or even all of your costs. There are two good websites which you can check (www.ukscholarshipsdatabase.britishcouncil.org or www.britishcouncil.org/education/funding/index.htm). Alternatively, you may find that your own government or Education Department has funds for this purpose. Stow College has no scholarships to award to help you.

An Online Student Calculator is available to help current or prospective students work out how much money the will have and how much they will need.  You can find this by visiting International Student Calculator.

Q. What about accommodation?

A. Stow College does not have student residencies. Our Student Advisors may be able to offer advice and information about accommodation, but you would be well-advised to have explored this issue before you arrive in Glasgow to begin your studies (www.unite-student.com has links to good quality local student accommodation). The start of any academic year is always a very busy time in the local accommodation-to-let market with many students seeking accommodation. You need to know where you can stay at least for the first few weeks, before you arrive to give you time to look around and perhaps locate better, or more suitable accommodation.