How to choose the right foundation course for you

Choosing a pre-university programme is a difficult decision to make. From the local qualifications in your home country, to A Levels, International Baccalaureate, and BTEC, there are a wide range of options to choose from. You may eventually decide to undertake a Foundation course – a popular pathway into university education.

But the decision-making process still isn’t over: you now need to think about where you want to study, and more importantly, exactly what subject to study. This sounds like it should be fairly straightforward, but too much choice sometimes makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what you want. In terms of the institution, you can study a foundation programme at the university where you want complete your undergraduate degree, or you can study at another institution, either in your home country, or in a different country. See what we mean about too much choice?

If you choose to study a foundation programme at the same university as your degree, make sure to tell the admissions team exactly what subject you want to progress on to during the application process to ensure that it has the required amount of content you need to meet the entry requirements. Most foundation programmes at universities should allow you to progress on to their degree courses, but there may be some exceptions. Additionally, some university foundation courses may not carry formal qualifications and are only recognised by that particular university, therefore it is worth checking this before you enrol, in case you want to keep your options open.

If you decide to study at a different institution, things get a little more complex. This is still a viable option, but there are a few more things that you need to consider. Again, you need to make sure that the foundation course you study is recognised by universities; this is particularly relevant if you study locally and want to go overseas after you finish. You also need to make sure that the subject you select for your foundation is relevant for your chosen degree. This might seem fairly self-explanatory, but it isn’t always.

For example, you may wish to study Psychology for your undergraduate degree, but you will very rarely come across a foundation course in Psychology. So you could opt to study a foundation course in Humanities. But this will only allow progression on to a Bachelor of Arts Psychology programme. For a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, you would have to study a foundation course which contains some science content. Further to this, the percentage of science content required can vary depending on the university you go to. Very confusing!

Finally, you need to check the timings of the course. If your foundation programme finishes in August, but your degree course starts in September, you will not have sufficient time to complete the admissions process and apply for your visa, meaning that you might need to wait a full year before enrolling on to your degree.

There are also some dedicated foundation providers which offer guaranteed progression on to university degree courses; agreements are set up between these providers and the universities to ensure the subject content you study is relevant to the degree course you will be progressing on to. So you can study the foundation in one country, and providing you pass the subjects and meet the minimum entry requirements, you can progress on to a degree elsewhere. This option gives you the flexibility to study at different institutions but with the reassurance of a guaranteed progression route.

Images via Shutterstock 

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

International Baccalaureate students are better equipped to adapt to university

How pathway programmes help you get your foot in the door of your dream university