Foundation courses

Foundation years are fantastic things, but how do you know it they're right for you?

Foundation years are offered by a wide range of universities. And they've got two target groups in mind. The first is students who want to get on a course but don't quite reach the requirements. For example, if your A-Levels weren't quite good enough to get onto medicine, then medicine with a foundation year is going to have slightly lower entry requirements at some, but not all places. Or if you've got a BTEC or an NVQ, things that aren't quite right for the application, for the course at university, then you can do a foundation year. For Medicine, getting on the foundation course generally, but not always, has lower entry requirements. For example, doing Medicine with a foundation year at Nottingham, the offer is B-B-C, compared to going straight into Medicine, which is three A's. Manchester, both with the foundation course and straight Medicine is three A's. But at Leicester, you need three A's to go straight into Medicine, but three B's to go into the foundation course. So getting on to foundation courses, especially for competitive subjects, is still tricky.

The other group of students that foundation courses, or foundation years, are aimed at, are international students. These are students who don't have the same routes into university as students from the UK who have A-Levels. The teaching in the foundation year is going to be bridging the gap between what they've done in their home country, to what the university expects them to start with here in the UK. It gives international students a bit more time to settle in, get used to the culture, get used to being taught in a different language. So, for international students, it's much more chance to get comfortable, to get used to things, whereas, for home students, it's much more of an alternative route into things. Foundation years are fantastic, fantastic things. But only if they're right for you.

Lofti's story... How I found the right course.

The essence of the course was one of the main reasons for me to make Coventry University my first choice. Its first major advantage was how broad and open-minded the course is. Although the title is Graphic Design, the course does not end there. It allows students to give a chance to a whole range of other Industrial Design subjects such as Product Design, Illustration and even Architecture. The tutors are opened to realize common projects between the disciplines and will give you amazing help from their experience in the fields.

Its second major advantage is the chance of choosing to get in rolled on a four year Master degree, instead of a three year Bachelor degree. This allows students with financial difficulties to graduate with a Masters degree in the selected field, since they get a student loan for all their years, and also gives one year of work experience. In this moment, when almost everyone graduates with a diploma, one of the most required aspects in the battle to find a job is the requested experience, which made this program a perfect choice for me. Another benefit for choosing this course is that the students are obliged to take an ''Add + Vantage Class'', which can be something related to the subject you are studying or it can be something you've always wanted to try. My choice for this year was studying a foreign language.

I am extremely happy with the support the tutors and lectures provided for me during the whole year. The teaching methods allow a lot of freedom which I believe is really important when it comes to subjects of a creative nature. Also the environment turned out to be quite competitive which motivated and gave me an additional stimulus.

The application for University is simple, requiring just to fill a form on the website and a test of English. After they have checked the information provided I had to go for an interview. I've submitted a portfolio including some areas from Graphic Design and Illustration and I had to write an essay about it.