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Why You Should Consider a Foundation Year

A foundation year is an academic year-long educational program designed to prepare international students for a degree at a high ranking university. There is often an education gap if you are applying to British, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian institutions. Therefore, international students sometimes most complete additional courses in English, as well as an educational base for degree-level study in these countries. The same is true of community colleges in the U.S. where international students can earn an associate degree which can be transferred to a full undergraduate degree program. This is called the “2+2” program, although it is not strictly 2 years of community college followed by 2 years of university. While a foundation year does represent additional time and money spent on an education abroad, there are some significant benefits that give students a distinct advantage when applying to the school of their choice.

A foundation year will improve your English and study skills.

Foundation year curricula and 2+2 programs are designed in part to bring students’ English up to a level in which they’re proficient at assimilating lectures, discussion, communication, essay writing, and other course requirements. It also prepares students for the most challenging courses by emphasizing study skills, research, and IT proficiency.

A foundation year will familiarize you with a potentially different style of teaching and learning.

The U.S. and British educational systems are designed to develop students to think analytically and independently. Students are not necessarily tested on knowledge, but on their ability to reason and form principled positions. Professors are seen as facilitators and should be questioned and challenged. A foundation course will allow a student to become accustomed to this type of teaching and learning environment. This will help ensure that the student succeeds in a foreign university environment and is positioned to get the most out of her or his degree. By the end of the foundation year international students should have the same strengths as their local counterparts.

A foundation year will prepare you for your area of study.

Not only does a foundation year get you ready – on a general level – for an education at a high-ranking university, it does so within your area of study. In other words, a foundation year brings both your English and study skills up to an appropriate level through courses in the concentration you wish to pursue. This ensures that you are ready for your degree of choice at your preferred university.

A foundation year helps you choose where you want to study.

Besides preparing students extensively for their future studies, a foundation year program can offer a student the opportunity to determine whether a particular degree or university is the right fit. A student can visit multiple universities in person to talk to academics, other students, and generally get a feel for the campus or the city.

Foundation year programs will guide you through the application process.

Foundation year programs practically hold their students’ hands through the process of applying for their preferred universities. They generally provide a student with written references and the credibility of having completed their foundation year successfully. Some of the major foundation year programs in Britain boast a 99.9% success rate in getting their students into one of their preferred universities.

A foundation year programs will assist you in getting your visa.

Foundation year programs will both sponsor your visa into the UK and help you through the process of attaining one.

A foundation year is fun.

Foundation year programs are filled with other international students and often offer dormitory-style housing with other international students. Besides preparing you for your next few years abroad, a foundation year exposes you to new cultures, traditions, and best of all, friends.  

In all, a foundation year arms students with all the resources they need to get into a university and getting their English study skills and knowledge up to par. While the costs associated with a foundation year do present a significant hurdle, they are one of the classic routes to success at the undergraduate level. At StudentRoads we recommend them if you need extra support while you decide how you are going to be spending your higher education years.

[Top image credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock; Second image credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock]

© 2012 StudentRoads. All rights reserved. Do not reprint without permission.

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