What if you want to study abroad but aren’t quite prepared to join a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme? Maybe you haven’t had the chance to take the advanced courses in Biology you needed to, or maybe your English isn’t good enough, yet? Don’t worry! That’s where a foundation degree can really help you out!
The purpose of preparation or foundation courses (whether pre-Bachelors or pre-Masters) is to offer you the chance to prepare to enter a university degree by focusing first on your academic requirements, but also improving your language skills in English speaking courses. A good international year of preparation will also focus on developing the general study skills you need to be successful and provide help with integration into a new culture.
If you’re thinking about enrolling in a foundation course, here are some things to consider before you apply:
1. Research entry requirements and admission
Each university offering foundation degrees has set its own policy and criteria in regards to student admission. One of the most important aspects is to prove that you meet the minimum language proficiency, as many preparation courses are taught in English. You need to check which English language test is accepted by your chosen university and what is the test score they require. Test your English skills!
2. Explore the university’s profile and acceptance history
Investigate grade distribution or percentile distribution, standardised test score averages and acceptance rates from current and past years. Successful completion of an international foundation programme does not guarantee your acceptance in the university where you pursued these Bachelor’s or Master’s courses. On the other hand, any completed undergraduate preparation course helps you a lot with your university application. Some universities recognise international foundation programmes of other universities.
For example, Consortia of Universities tend to accept each other’s preparation programmes. The Northern Consortium of UK universities (NCUK) and the Group of Eight (in Australia) have agreed to recognise foundation degrees passed at any of their member universities. These kinds of agreements lower the risks of students not getting admitted to an undergraduate or graduate degree after completing a university pathway programme.
3. Research course content before applying
This step will help you realise if an international foundation programme meets your academic needs and/or future career goals. You should look into what it is about the faculty offerings that make the programme unique and a good fit for you. Top universities in the UK, but also in other parts of the world provide a wide selection of disciplines you can prepare for, such as business (pre-MBA), engineering, humanities, medicine, chemistry, law, economics, finance, and more.
You should put in balance what are the requirements for international students of the university you’re preparing for, and what courses would better benefit your academic development or English speaking skills.
4. Estimate the cost of pre-Bachelor or pre-Master
The differences of the costs depend on the country, the duration of the foundation degree, university ranking and other factors. Make sure you inform yourself thoroughly about tuition fees or if there are any additional fees required. In some countries, undergraduate pathway programmes are covered by the government student loan scheme, while in others they are not. Also, check if the foundation programme includes any scholarship opportunities.
5. Read student reviews about the international foundation programme
Browse through some student reviews of the programmes and the preparation course provider. If you have questions or concerns, you can try to contact previous students, or simply get in touch with the university course adviser or admissions officer, and address any questions about preparation courses for Bachelor’s degrees or Master’s degrees.
You can choose a renowned, top university, but you have to keep in mind that gaining admission to a top university can be extremely competitive, even when it comes to a foundation degree. Highly ranked universities use grade scores from the last school you graduated as criteria for deciding if you are the right type of candidate. As anyone can expect, they only accept candidates with the highest grades. Moreover, these universities analyse additional elements, like:
- letter of recommendation,
- applicant resume,
- projects/internships you have been involved in.
6. Look for the best universities for your academic interests
If you want to further study subjects like engineering or technology, for example, aim those faculties that have similar research interests to your own. Choose universities with an impressive history of discovery and innovation, research and technology achievements. This way you can make sure you meet the specific requirements for international students applying to undergraduate or graduate degrees in that university.
7. Consider the location of your university foundation programme
Sometimes you might find the perfect preparation course in a university located on another continent, maybe in the farthest corner of the world. Studying abroad and even in a very far place is exciting and rewarding, but it can be challenging as well. Make sure you do your homework and consult with your friends and family, as well as doing a thorough research on PreparationCoursesPortal.
You can always also read more from our own research about foundation and preparation courses.