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Why Do You Need To Do a University Foundation Course?

Updated on June 11, 2016

The university foundation course was conceived as an alternative to A Levels mainly for international students looking to win a place at an English university. They usually run for a year rather than the two years it takes to complete A Levels and are accepted as the basis for entry onto degree courses at many universities across the UK.

If you’re an international student and you need to hone your English skills to a level at which you can complete a university course then this may well be the only option for you. Here are just some of the reasons why taking a university foundation course is such a good idea:

Course Variety: Foundation courses can act as a leaping off point for so many different academic disciplines, so you are not at all limited as to subject matter. If you want something more vocational then you can go for something like a pharmacy course or engineering. If, however, you want to study something a little more broad-based and scientific subjects aren’t really your think then there is also the option of humanities or the arts. The idea is to give you a good and thorough grounding to prepare you for study at an English university.

Benefits For Non-English Speakers: If English is not your first language and your IELTS scores aren’t quite good enough to get you onto an undergraduate degree programme then a foundation course is the logical step. Here not only will you get a good grounding in your chosen subject, many courses will also offer support when it comes to honing your English skills so by the time the year is up you should be proficient enough to enable you to be accepted at one of the universities of your choice.

Convenience: For an international student, taking a foundation year course rather than A Levels can be a lot simpler. For one thing, if they choose to do the course in the UK then they only have to find accommodation for an extra year. Or they can even choose to do the course by correspondence – an option some institutions offer – so they don’t have to uproot at all until the time comes for them to take up their place at the university of their choice.

Skill Building: A foundation course will give you practical training and a good sound knowledge base in your chosen subject. This will get you off to the best possible start when you get to university, and is great for those who may not yet feel ready for a full undergraduate degree. You will get support from experienced tutors who are there to ensure you get the best from the course. For many it is the ideal bridge to a university place.

Assessment: This type of course tends to be based more upon course work rather than examinations, which is good for those who don’t tend to perform as well academically when they are under pressure. If you are the kind of person who gets better marks for course work than for exams then this could be for you.

Cost Saving: The standard foundation course will take up about 18-20 hours a week which leaves plenty of time for students to hold down a job and earn money to support themselves. A Levels, by contrast, take up a lot more time. Also, because the course only lasts a year there will less outlay overall for accommodation during the course. If you choose to take a fast track course then the fees will be even lower still and it will mean less time away from work.

All of the above are excellent reasons why you should consider taking one of these courses if you want to get a degree from an English university. But one word of caution: remember that not all universities will accept these so make sure you’ve done your research into which do and which don’t before you get your heart set on any particular place.

University Foundation Course in Business & Management

There are plenty of good reasons for studying business and management, regardless of which career you ultimately hope to get into. And if you are an international student, taking an English language business course can be even better, given that English is the international language of business.

Whatever kind of business or sector you end up working in, one thing they will have in common is the need for good organisation and management. If you master the relevant skills early on then you have a much better chance of progressing in your chosen career path as employers are looking for people who can take charge, lead a team and understand the realities of the workplace. Are you, for example, the kind of person who enjoys working with people, understands figures and wants a challenge? If so, a university foundation course in business & management could be just the thing you need to kick-start your career.

But what exactly is a foundation course? Well, in short, it functions as a bridge to university and is mainly aimed at international students who wish to study at an English university but may not yet have transferable qualifications. It will usually take a year to complete and as such can be more convenient for many than A Levels, which usually take at least two years. Non English-speakers will also be required to have an IELTS score of 5.0 or above. If they don’t they may need to take an extended course to get them up to the necessary level of proficiency.

The assessments tend to be weighted more towards coursework than exams, which is good for those who tend to fare less well in exam situations. There are many institutions such as academies throughout the UK offering well-structured foundation courses. And English universities are respected throughout the world so it is well worth considering one.

And what skills will a foundation course in business & management give you to help you succeed in the world of work? Well, from a purely theoretical standpoint it will introduce you to some fundamental concepts and terminology in areas such as finance, markets, people management, information systems and strategy. On a practical level, it will help you build up the confidence you need to stand up in front of others ad make a presentation, lead a team, make key decisions or debate issues. All of this training will prepare you for the style of study expected from an undergraduate student.

When it comes to getting a job after your degree, a business & management course can open doors into so many different sectors. It can, for example, be relevant for those looking to go on to jobs in marketing, hospitality or finance. Bear in mind that because it is not as specific as a job in medicine or law, say, the competition for jobs will be less intense as the range of sectors you could possibly get into is so wide. Many big companies in the City will run graduate programmes, and with this kind of qualification you may also be able to get one of those. These will give you an invaluable grounding in business, with the chance to specialise in a certain area such as human resources or marketing.

A foundation course in business & management will usually only take two or three terms to complete, depending on what previous qualifications each student has. Core modules will involve business studies, mathematics and ICT, as well as IELTS training for non-English speakers. Some courses could also offer a choice of additional modules in subjects such as law, marketing or accounting. Teaching will usually be through lectures, tutorials and group work with assessed course work, and there will also be some tests and exams to sit.

Before you enrol on your foundation course, find out which universities will accept it so you can begin to make plans as to where you might apply. You will find that some academies specializing in foundation courses can guarantee you a place at universities with which they are associated once you have completed all your requirements. De Montfort (Leicester) and Coventry are just two examples of highly regarded UK universities which will accept foundation courses as a condition of entry.


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