So you want to start University but your A-level options aren’t appropriate to the degree you want to start, or perhaps your A-level grades aren’t good enough, maybe you have a lot experience but no recent qualifications, perhaps you want to change your career path altogether. Then it’s time to think about a foundation year.

So what is a foundation year? It is a one year course that will being your education up to scratch to start a degree. It is designed for those who the capability and the ability to start a degree but haven’t got the qualifications to go straight into the first year a degree. A foundation years modules will be based around the degree you wish to pursue, everything you will learn in a foundation year you will use in your degree.

Having faith in yourself is vital to start a degree, this is something that a foundation year will supply in abundance. Many foundation years often presume you have no knowledge of what they are teaching, so they will bring you from the ground up. Often your University will start off with GCSE level stuff, then bring up to A-level standard.

When you start your degree you will be one step ahead of your class mates as you will already have your first year of University under your belt. You will already have those all important University skills that are essential to doing well in your degree, plus your knowledge will be wider and deeper in your subject than a lot of A-level students. In the University I will be starting in September the Extended Science Foundation Year students tend to outperform the average undergraduate student by 10%. Sounds good, right!

Usually when you start a foundation year you will already have a place for the degree you want to start on the provision you get a certain percentage. It is as simple as that. So you won’t need to apply through UCAS and write a personal statement and get a reference. Although if you really want to start your degree at a different University you will have to phone them up to make sure they accept it first. You will be surprised at how many do including many prestigious Russell Group Universities.

Another big plus of starting a foundation is you don’t have to start or redo A-levels. The teaching you will experience will be much better than you would probably get at Sixth Form or College. You will most likely be taught by University professors who are experts in their fields. Some of them might even be teaching you when you start your degree.

Although the main negative of starting a foundation year is it will cost you. The fees of studying a foundation year varies between University, for example at Kingston University it costs £4,600, whereas at Plymouth University it costs £9,000.

University is an amazing opportunity to widen your career prospects and get invaluable life skills. A Foundation year is an excellent alternative route to getting you there. If you really want to go to University but don’t meet the entry requirements for what ever reason, I would highly recommend it.




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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.