After completing high school education, it is everyone’s dream to join a college or university, but this depends on the score, as some grades cannot enable one to pursue some courses. However, there are cases where one may be allowed to do so if they start with a foundation year.
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What is a foundation year?
For those who do not know what foundation year is, this is an extra year that is taken in a college before one starts a degree program. Thus, a 3-year course takes four years because of the 1st year that is meant to prepare one for the program by bridging skill gaps.
Who can apply for the course?
This one-year course is applied by those who are intending to pursue a degree at a university but do not meet the degree requirements. The program is meant to equip them with skills to be at par with the rest who automatically qualified for it.
What are the advantages of doing a foundation year?
1 To improve communication skills for ESL students
Foundation programs are quite popular in the United Kingdom as they enable international students to pursue their courses there. Since the majority are from nations whose English is not their first language, they are put on this program, which is meant to improve their communication skills before they can be admitted for the main degree program. It is because, if one is not used to speaking English and find oneself in an environment where everything is done in English, it will be difficult for one to learn anything. Hence, the need to be equipped with communication skills.
In addition, students are required to choose other subjects that they will be doing alongside this preparatory program so that they can apply those skills in their preferred study areas.
2 The course prepares one for campus life
Besides equipping students with the requisite skills, the program inducts students into college life. One only needs to look at how fresh students get confused when they join the university to understand its importance. This confusion arises due to them being exposed to a life they are not used to. The situation is even worse to international students who must adopt an entirely different culture to fit in the new environment hence the need for a tailor-made program for international students to not only prepare them academically but also socially.
Once they have undergone through this program, they feel more confident to tackle the course and can interact with others comfortably. The course also gives them an opportunity to make friends as they meet others with similar problems in class, and together they walk that journey.
3 It standardizes education quality
Different countries have different education systems. For this reason, international students may not be at par with those from the UK regarding what they have been taught and study hours. A foundation year course aims to bridge these gaps so that all students can be at par irrespective of their country of origin and the differences in the curricula.
However, of course, all students are expected to take their work seriously. And although sometimes some find it hard to catch up on the subjects and look for an essay helper from an online writing service. But don’t worry, if you have a skill gap in mathematics, history, physics or any other subject, the course will help you to bridge these gaps. No wonder a foundation year is sometimes referred to as a bridging course.
4 Guaranteed admission to the course
When you apply for admission to a particular college, and you are asked to take a foundation course, it means your admission is assured, but you need to take up more credits to get a certain score. So, if you work hard and everything goes well, you will not need to apply afresh as your admission is already guaranteed.
5 You are exposed to new teaching styles
High school students find it hard to adjust to new teaching styles used in universities which involve the use of tutorials, projectors, hand-outs, and lectures. Some or all of these styles are common during the foundation year, and so students can get used to them before the real course commences. In fact, surveys show that foundation students perform better than others and this could be the reason.
Again, unlike in high school, where the teacher-student contact hour ratio is high, it is opposite in the university. Instead, students are given loads of assignments to compensate for this.
6 You get personalized guidance
When you join university through a foundation course, you get personalized guidance so you could meet the admission requirements. To this end, tutors sit down with clients and discuss possible challenges. If doing a foundation year in a college other than the one you want to join, you get trained in essay writing as this is a mandatory requirement during admission.
Disadvantages of the foundation year
The only known downside of this program is the fee implications and the additional year that is added to your course.
1 One pays more fees for the degree
If a foundation year is part of a course, one will be required to pay fees like the rest although some universities may charge less for this. In the UK, students are entitled to a government loan, which is repaid after the 4-year training period.
2 Longer stay at the college and other extra costs
The extra year comes with other costs. Apart from college fees, there are other costs such as accommodation fees and other related expenses.
So, if you did not perform as expected in high school but still want to pursue a degree at a university, enrolling for a foundation year is a step closer to your dream.