Do you want to study in a university abroad but don’t yet qualify to the admission requirements of your chosen university? Then a foundation degree might be the perfect solution for you.
International foundation programmes are designed for prospective international students who don’t yet meet the requirements for university entrance through their existing qualifications, or for candidates who have been out of class for longer periods. Preparation courses, foundation programmes or undergraduate pathway programmes usually can be completed in one to three semesters – or between four and twelve months. During these courses, you will get used to university level expectations and advance your skills for undergraduate or graduate studies abroad. You have to keep in mind, though, foundation programmes are available only for certain subjects.
What to expect from a foundation programme?
A foundation programme you will help you in 4 main ways to prepare for you higher education studies:
- Develop general study skills,
- Better understand academic content,
- Grow your English language preparation,
- Help you fit in through cultural adaptation.
1. Develop general study skills
The academic subjects you will follow are all taught using a lecture and a tutorial method. These methods focus on practical experiences, discussions and interactions between students. This process reflects the style of teaching that you will encounter during your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree courses. Preparation courses will help you learn how to:
- Plan and complete a research project;
- Create and deliver academic presentations;
- Effectively take notes during lectures;
- Write in an academic style;
- Reference and quote sources of information correctly;
- Computer training;
- Develop your reading speed and understanding of written texts.
Classes also include information about the types of questions you are likely to find in exam papers as well as many helpful exam techniques. Effective preparation courses are designed to develop the way you study by encouraging self-evaluation, critical thinking, and independent research skills.
2. Better understand academic content
Depending on the Bachelor’s or Master’s degree you plan to study, diverse pathway programmes cover specific areas of interest. The cool thing about preparation courses is that you can select your preferred area of study and focus only on the information that will be useful to you during your undergraduate or graduate degree studies. For example, students who want to prepare for business related degrees will take business foundation courses (there are even pre-MBAs available), engineering applicants will follow engineering related foundation course, and so on.
Before deciding on a foundation degree course, also consider other preparation programmes in humanities, social science, law, business, economics, finance, or management. These can help you in learning about other important aspects for your future studies.
3. Targeted English language preparation
International foundation programmes are perfect if you’re looking for intensive language preparation to quickly get you speaking English well enough to meet the desired Bachelor degree’s requirements. For English-speaking countries, classes combine three types of language preparation:
- intensive general English,
- English for university study
- IELTS language preparation courses
The goal of universities is to make sure you succeed with your studies, therefore, being able to communicate in the desired language is essential. English speaking courses also improve your written language proficiency in a way relevant to a wide range of subjects. English preparation courses also cover:
- written exercises,
- detailed feedback and discussions on diverse topics,
- grammar revision,
- vocabulary enrichment,
- essays writing,
- other English skills for academic purposes.
4. Fit in through cultural adaptation
Studying abroad means you will be exposed to a new culture and environment, sometimes resulting in a culture shock. Preparation courses focus on helping you adapt to a new culture by planning activities and excursions. Also read this article about cultural awareness.
Most students who enrol to preparation courses are either recent high-school graduates, but may also already have majored in an academic subject. They’re just like yourself, coming from all over the world in search of the best higher education and eager to meet new people and be exposed to a new learning environment.
When studying abroad, you will not only see the difference of education system, language and the multicultural vibe given by the fact that your classmates come from different parts of the world. You will experience the difference in terms of customs, law, religion, lifestyle, social organisation, government and more.
An international foundation programme can help you adjust to university life in a safe environment that will help you deal with homesickness and the whole disorienting feeling of a new place. Completing a pathway programme abroad will build your confidence and social skills, in order to pursue new adventures, challenges, and opportunities both in your career and academic future.
Best places to take a preparation course abroad
Most foundation programmes are located in English-speaking regions. The UK is the most common location for students to enroll in foundation programmes, followed by Oceania, North America and Europe. So, if you are planning to study a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree abroad in any of these regions, but don’t qualify yet, applying to a foundation degree might be just what you need. The right preparation course will certainly help you get ready for your future career studies.