The International Student Journey

The International School of Sikh Studies aims to make the international student journey of application and admission as easy as possible. We look at 6 key points which are referenced in the QAA guidance “International students studying in the UK”.

An inclusive environment
The International School of Sikh Studies seeks to provide an inclusive environment where the needs of our international students are considered and met alongside those of other students in an integrated and embedded way. This is achieved through morning assemblies, student common room facilities, careers guidance, ‘open door policy’ to management.

Continuous improvement
The International School of Sikh Studies continuously reflects on and reviews our policies and practices, actively seeking and using feedback from students, to make improvements.

Student engagement
The International School of Sikh Studies ensures that international students are represented in student engagement activities and that their feedback is taken into account in making enhancements to existing policies and practice. This is achieved through monthly Student/Staff meetings and course representative meetings (SCR/SRB).

Clear and accessible information
The International School of Sikh Studies ensures that the information we provide at all stages of the student lifecycle is clear, accessible, accurate, and consistent across the institution. Where technical terminology is unavoidable, clear explanation is provided.

Shared responsibility
The International School of Sikh Studies aims to meet the needs of a diverse student body resting with all staff within the institution, not just those with a specific remit for managing international students’ experiences.

Staff development
All staff working with international students have access to appropriate training and CPD opportunities, which supports them in recognising and addressing the needs of an internationally diverse student community.

MARKETING & RECRUITMENT
Information for potential applicants
The International School of Sikh Studies through its student induction, prospectus and website gives an clear picture of the institution, its course, and the services and support that it makes available to all students.

Marketing and recruitment, the information that International School of Sikh Studies makes available includes:

• the profile of the institution
• admissions process
• visa requirements and procedures (referencing latest Home Office guidance)
• entry requirements, including English language proficiency
• acceptance conditions, deposits required and refund policies
• estimated cost of living, including accommodation costs
• study costs (including tuition fees and other costs) and details of whether and how such costs may alter during the course
• details of any bursaries and other financial assistance schemes
• programme details
• an indication of student support services that are made available (Student Welfare Officer, Student Union)
• information about employability including opportunities for work experience, volunteering and work placements

Our course information is designed to assist potential applicants in making informed decisions about their options.

• the nature and type of qualification
• credit value and level
• course duration
• principal methods of teaching, learning and assessment
• study routes and options available within the course
• progression opportunities
• opportunities for work experience if part of the course
• whether or not the course is externally recognised or accredited, for example by a professional, statutory or regulatory body (Ofqual)

Recruitment policies and procedures

The International School of Sikh Studies has policies and procedure in place for the recruitment of international students which are fair, clear, explicit and implemented consistently. Our policies are clearly signposted on our website; http://www.sikh-uni.ac.uk. This includes details of how The International School of Sikh Studies will respond to applications that include fraudulent or false information.

The International School of Sikh Studies Admissions Dept., are conversant in the application and admissions process and understand the implications of student visa applications. Transparency of this process implies competence, fairness, truthfulness and a primary concern for the best interest of the student.

Admissions

The International School of Sikh Studies at the point of admission makes available the following:

• Admissions policies and processes, including information on processes if a student joins part way through a course
• Application deadlines and processes for considering applications
• Tuition fees and other compulsory charges, payment deadlines, methods and refund procedures
• application fees
• living costs
• visa sources of further information, advice and guidance
• contact point(s) for enquiries
• details showing students Home Office requirements (including for English language competency) in addition to the entry requirements set by the institution
• details of pre-sessional courses or academic study skills courses that may be available
• Reference to International School of Sikh Studies Admissions policy

Pre-arrival information for students

The International School of Sikh Studies pre-arrival information is intended to help our students to settle in as quickly and easily as possible upon arrival in the UK and to make possible their transition to study in the UK at our college.

We make available the following information (this information can be given via email, Skype or by phone to the student whilst still in their home country):

• joining instructions
• what to expect upon arrival from immigration control, including what documents are needed, when, and where students will need to bring them
• details of any accommodation agencies (International School of Sikh Studies does not provide accommodation)
• details of the registration/enrolment process and the documents that a student will need
• details of our induction.
• services and support (academic and non-academic) available to students
• we will advise on opening a bank account, and include advice that the student makes appropriate arrangements to access money upon arrival in the UK and/or to finance themselves until access to a bank can be arranged
• basic guidance on personal safety
• deadlines for fees and information about how to make payments
• reminders about visa regulations
• advice on where students need to go and what they need to do immediately on arrival, including information about late arrivals for those arriving during the evening/night
• guidance on how to arrive safely at college
• emergency and out-of-hours contact details which
• details of how students can contact home upon arrival to confirm that they have arrived safely

Enrolment

The International School of Sikh Studies Admissions Dept., will have explained the process of enrolment and its purpose to entrants before arrival, and will have provided clear information in advance regarding any documents that students will be required to supply for the purposes of enrolment. During the enrolment phase, we explain about Home Office expectations.

Orientation

Student orientation will start before the course begins, this will include induction and some form of ‘buddying’ where we endeavour to find other students who may live near to the student, or come from the same ethnic community. Alongside this will be introduction to teachers, course co-ordinators, student reps, walk through of building layout identifying computer room, student common room, library, classrooms, kitchen, toilets, fire escapes and administration offices.

• advice on settling in and information on living in the UK
• details of social and spiritual (faith-based) facilities
• arrangements for healthcare and personal welfare
• details on safety and personal security
• details of the ‘buddying’ scheme
• academic support, including language proficiency
• support for employability and careers education guidance
• disability provision

Student Services

The availability of Student Welfare Officer and Administration Dept., is clearly communicated to international students.

All staff are trained and supported to understand the perspectives of students from different countries or cultures, in order to meet their needs. We see our support for international students as key to their welfare and transition to College and UK life. Our support makes available information about financial matters and any support schemes in the case of financial hardship.

Academic Induction and Learning and Teaching

Academic Induction

All The International School of Sikh Studies students are given an induction into College including UK culture, local awareness, personal health and safety and what a student can expect from their course of study and the institution’s rules and regulations.

The International School of Sikh Studies induction covers the following:

• learning and teaching methods
• assessment methods and criteria for assessment
• feedback on assessment – types and usage
• academic practice and malpractice (for example, plagiarism)
• learning facilities, including library resources
• the institution’s expectations towards students as active and independent learners
• academic support including, the use of tutors and tutorials
• rules and regulations governing the academic experience including its complaints and appeals procedures
• opportunities for student representation and feedback

The academic induction is completed in the first week with extra opportunities throughout the term to discuss any more matters. Provision is made to induct

students who enter part-way through an academic year, after the start of a course.

During academic induction, and beyond, International School of Sikh Studies ensures that international students recognise and understand what constitutes academic honesty and what our regulations are relating to academic malpractice, including its consequences.

Our induction prepares international students for an active and engaged student learning experience. We make our international students aware of opportunities for giving feedback, for example through completing student surveys and through engagement with student representatives and the students’ union.

Learning and Teaching

The International School of Sikh Studies staff involved in course delivery are encouraged to consider the composition of taught classes and reflect on the needs of all students in the class whether they are local or international students. The International School of Sikh Studies supports our teaching staff through professional development opportunities.

In recognising the particular needs of international students whose first language is not English, International School of Sikh Studies has in place appropriate arrangements to enable students to cope with the demands of the programme in the context of the continual development of their language skills, this can b achieved through Pearson PTE, ESOL or TOEIC based learning schemes.

Careers Education

The International School of Sikh Studies informs students of the implications of UK immigration rules and assumes that not all students will be given the right to work. Therefore our stance is very much individualised depending on the students visa status. We do however, have careers discussions and speakers in our assemblies so that students are made aware of the what the future job market could offer. Guidance on awarding Organisation websites also shows how specific qualifications can lead to job expectations.

Departure

The International School of Sikh Studies makes every effort to guide students through the leaving stage of their college life, providing progression reports, references and also clearing outstanding fees and returning resources. Students are provided with certificates gained from awarding Organisation, advice on closing bank accounts etc. Returning to home country can be a ‘culture shock’ and we will make every effort to ensure students are given guidance on their relocation.
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SOURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION, ADVICE AND GUIDANCE

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QAA
Quality Code, Chapter B2: Admissions:

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BRISTISH COUNCIL
Education UK website:
Information, advice and guidance aimed at international students coming to the UK:

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BIS
The website of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) provides information on recognised UK higher education bodies and degrees:

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UKCISA
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) offers a range of publications and resources aimed at supporting those who support international students. They include:

Code of Ethics (published jointly with the Association of International Student Advisors):

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UK HIGHER EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL UNIT
A UK Guide to Enhancing the International Student Experience (March 2010) – a guide for HEIs drawing on data collected through the International Student Barometer on students’ experiences:

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UK NARIC
UK NARIC is the national agency responsible for providing information, advice and guidance on qualifications from overseas countries. It also offers training around fraudulent applications:

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UCAS
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) offer training and advice to HE staff supporting the admissions process:

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NUS
National Union of Students (NUS) Charter for a global university:

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OISC

The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner is responsible for regulating immigration advisers by ensuring they are fit and competent and act in the best interest of their clients. It provides a number of services to immigration advisers including information and guidance and professional development training:
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HOST UK

HOST UK is a PMI supported voluntary organisation, a network of UK residents who welcome adult international students to their homes for a weekend, or Christmas visit, to give students an insight into the way of life in Britain:
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