FAQs - Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery

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To be considered for enrollment we need a completed Application for Instruction, a copy of your high school diploma (or H.S. transcripts, or GED) and a $250 application fee.

Our average class enrollment for the past three years is 33. We have a capacity of 38 students.

If you are admitted to our school and the class you designate is full you will be placed on a waiting list or we can enroll you in the next open class. Waiting list students are admitted if cancellations occur. You can check in with us periodically to find out your status on the list. We will also call you to advise you of the likelihood of getting in to any particular class.

Follow our regular enrollment procedures.

No, but we can assist you in finding housing. Please refer to the Housing and Transportation page on our web site. Remember, it is your responsibility to find and secure housing.

First you’ll need to fill out a financial aid application (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for financial aid. You can obtain an application from most colleges or universities, or you can call, write or email us and we’ll send you one. Ask for Admissions, at 602-243-1179, or 1-800-507-FRET. Eligibility is determined by need and depends mainly on your income, or your parents’ income if you are dependent. If you qualify for the maximum Pell Grant and Student Loan amounts, a large portion of your tuition costs will be covered. You can also apply, along with your parents, for a Parent Plus Loan (unless you are considered ‘independent.’) Proceeds from a Parent Plus Loan (PLUS) may be used for transportation, living expenses, or other school related expenses. Please refer to our Financial Aid page for a more detailed explanation of these types of loans.

When we receive your “Application for Enrollment” without an accompanying diploma (or GED) or the $250 fee, we can conditionally accept you if you meet all other admission requirements. This will reserve a place for you in the class, but you will not be officially accepted until we receive the missing documents or fees. You should visit or write your high school to have them forward you a copy of your diploma or grade transcripts that verify your graduation. Also, most high schools and colleges have information about GED testing. If you did not graduate from high school you will need to acquire a GED by taking a test.

After school jobs (off campus) are possible, but not recommended. Our Monday through Friday school days require your full attention from 8AM till 6PM, and with all of the information and work required it is quite demanding. It’s important to get enough rest and sleep in order to make your best effort and work safely. Weekend jobs (during the day) would not interfere.

Our five month Guitar Making and Repair course is designed to prepare you for entry level work with: guitar manufacturers, small custom guitar companies, repair tech work (music stores or guitar companies,) road tech work for touring bands, or apprenticeships. We will work with you on placement opportunities throughout the course, including résumé and cover letter writing, researching potential employers, and identifying job options. We would like you to view these work opportunities as “continued education” and we highly recommend that you be willing to take work that becomes available to you. This might mean relocating to another city where a job opening exists. R-V does not guarantee job placement.  For those interested in starting their own lutherie business, please refer to the next question.

During the course we have several sessions in Small Business Management. These sessions are given to provide you with an overview of starting a business. Our experience has shown that very few new graduates have the resources and knowledge to start a business as soon as they leave R-V. In most cases it is better for a graduate to work for someone else to gain experience, both as a luthier and learning about the business of guitar making and repair. We also encourage graduates to enroll in community college business classes if their goal is to become an entrepreneur.

Roberto-Venn has many successful graduates who are custom guitar makers. Almost all of these graduates have been employees of large or small companies prior to starting their own businesses. If you want to start your own line of guitars, we will help you plan a strategy to work towards this goal.

Our admissions process includes essay questions that help us determine you desire to become a professional in the field of lutherie. As an accredited vocational-technical school, we have standards that require us to accept only those students who are interested in guitar making and repair as a vocation.

An alternative would be for the student to audit the course. They would attend all classes and build the project guitars, but they would not receive a “Luthier Certificate” upon graduation. The costs for auditing the course are the same.

In the future, R-V may offer non-accredited courses that are designed for students who just want to build a guitar and are not interested in pursuing job opportunities.

Yes. We have accepted students from many countries around the world. Once you have been officially accepted our Admissions Director, we will mail you an I-20 form which will allow you to obtain a student an M-1 visa. Due to recent changes in US law, students must have a valid visa before coming to RV, and must maintain approved status while attending.

Note: English language is a requirement for admission. A phone interview will be required for foreign students. Language barriers can greatly decrease the quality of your education. If you would like to speak to a member of our staff regarding this issue, feel free to call us at 800-507 3738.

Woodworking experience is not a requirement for admission to R-V. We have many students with no previous training. Our course is structured so that the early steps are easily accomplished. Each process is explained and demonstrated, and students who are unsure of their abilities are helped along by the staff, as well as their peers. As the students progress, the complexity of the tasks increases. The inevitable mistakes are part of the learning process for everyone. Safe woodworking practices are emphasized at all times. We also offer an optional Tool Use and Maintenance Seminar  prior to each session. This is highly recommended for those incoming students with no woodworking background. 
Any opportunity you have to learn fundamental woodworking skills is also suggested. Many high schools and community colleges offer beginning classes that would be helpful in learning the basics of tool use and maintenance, and some cities have woodworking organizations that also offer this type of information.

No. The school provides all of the specialized lutherie tools and equipment. You will have to provide your own basic tool kit, though – measuring tools, a square, a straightedge, drill bits, screwdrivers: the sort of tools that you would need in almost any shop situation. We send out a list prior to the beginning of class. You may already own many of the tools on the list, and you can buy most of them at almost any hardware store or tool supplier. We maintain an inventory of the harder to find tools, and sell them to students at very competitive prices. Feel free to call us, to discuss the suitability of any tools that you already own, and want to bring along.