University Foundation programmes – how they can make an application to a UK university stronger

ExpatStudent tells you everything about foundation programmes !
Applying to university is a very competitive process, and sometimes even good grades are not enough to guarantee you a place on your dream course. Trying again on the next application cycle can improve your chances of an offer, especially if you spend your year out making your application stronger. Some students use the time to gain relevant work or volunteering experience, which is especially helpful for those applying for medicine or veterinary courses. Another way to strengthen your application is to spend the year studying a Foundation programme in the subject you have chosen to pursue.

What is a Foundation programme?

A Foundation programme is a full-time intensive course of university-level study that prepares you for an undergraduate degree in the subject of your choice.

Foundation programmes are typically a year long, and will give you a base level of knowledge in your subject area that will be very attractive to UK university admissions departments. They are a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate that you are capable of degree level study, and to improve your skills in the academic areas that will be most helpful when you begin your degree.

Foundation programmes are very popular among international students, but also attract British students who are applying to competitive degree courses.

Foundation Programme by ExpatStudent

Who would a Foundation programme be suitable for?

Foundation programmes are usually open to anyone with the relevant qualifications, for example the International Baccalaureat or French Baccalauréat, but they would be particularly helpful for:
· Students who have not quite achieved the grades they were hoping for and would like an extra qualification to give their application a boost
· Students who are applying to very competitive courses/universities
· Students who would like an additional year of experience or maturity before starting a degree
· International students with a good academic record in their own countries, but without qualifications that meet UK entry requirements


Benefits of a Foundation programme

There are many benefits to a Foundation programme, not least that it will add merit to your application and allow you to fill in any gaps in your knowledge before you begin a full degree course.

Foundation programmes are a chance to get used to university-style studying, allowing you to work independently in an incredibly supportive environment. The programmes are set up to give you the breadth of knowledge and experience you need to excel on your degree. Rather than spending your first year feeling behind on your studies, a Foundation programme allows you to start your degree with a good understanding of the fundamentals, and to devote more of your attention to reading around your subject, or to securing career-enhancing opportunities such as internships or valuable extra-curriculars.

Some Foundation programmes are specifically designed for international students, and help you prepare for IELTS examinations alongside the rest of your studies, ensuring you meet English Language entry requirements. Even programmes that do not include preparation for the IELTS exams as part of the course will still allow you to improve your language skills, as they are typically taught in English, and you will be able to spend time with your UK classmates.

Foundation programmes provide the opportunity for you to spend time in the UK before you begin your degree, acclimatising to the culture and teaching style. Some students may prefer to complete a Foundation programme in the area they would like to study their full degree in, but for others it represents a chance to experience more of the UK, and to spend time in a place they might not otherwise visit.

Foundation programme by ExpatStudent

Next steps

Think a Foundation programme is for you? Whether you are worried about not having a suitable course lined up for September, or think you would benefit from an additional year of study before starting a degree, Expat Student can help find the best option for you. We tailor our approach to your specific goals, and provide individual support through the entirety of the application process.

Reach out for a free 20-minute consultation to discuss you or your child’s options. It is not too early to think about a plan B.

Book a free remote interview by contacting us on: / + 33 (1) 34 84 70 94 or

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