By Harry Smith, a recent graduate from the University of Sussex
Studying a Foundation year is a great way to lower yourself into university waters without throwing yourself right in at the deep end!
Do you fit the criteria?
So you didn’t quite achieve the A Level results you had hoped for. Maybe you just fell short of the grades you needed to attend your first-choice university. Perhaps all of your friends are going on to pursue higher education qualifications and you are feeling somewhat ‘left behind’, unsure as to whether university is really for you.
It might be the case that you really want to go to university and experience everything that comes with leaving home, becoming independent, and meeting all kinds of different people, but your grades are preventing you from reaching that next step.
It could also be that you don’t have a clear idea of the subject you would like to specialise in yet - choosing the right three-year course can be a stressful decision and you might just need further information and knowledge in order to plan exactly what you want to achieve.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that all of these feelings are completely natural. Rejection can knock your confidence. I experienced all of these feelings after receiving lower grades than I had anticipated in my A Levels. At that time, stepping onto a university campus and studying a three-year degree seemed very daunting. But all is not lost! Studying a Foundation year can be a viable solution to all of these uncertainties and anxieties around the transition to university life.
On results day I was offered a place on the Arts and Humanities Foundation Year at the University of Sussex while also receiving an offer for the English Literature BA at the University of Bournemouth. Whilst the degree was my desired course, the university just wasn’t right for me so I decided to choose the extra year studying at Sussex. The key is to be flexible and open to different opportunities. It may be better to choose a four-year course at your first-choice university, than to be somewhere that isn’t right for you for three long years.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Through studying a Foundation year, you will be able to get to know the structure of a higher education course - going to lectures and seminars, completing assessments, and understanding how things are generally done.
You will also have the opportunity to live on campus or in student accommodation and experience university life with other first year students.
Foundation years are specifically designed to prepare you for your undergraduate course, equipping you with all the skills you need to achieve great results at university. Your Foundation year tutors will be there to support and offer advice to you throughout the entirety of your degree, either providing academic support or just a friendly face around campus.
Foundation year students often discover their passion for a particular subject during the extra year which allows them to clearly decide on the right course for them. This preparation provides students with an upper hand that allows them to really thrive and make the most out of their time at university.
In essence, studying a Foundation year will provide you with all the knowledge and skills you need to start your undergraduate degree feeling prepared, confident, and one step ahead.
Things you should know
For many of the reasons I have highlighted, Foundation years are becoming increasingly popular among students, however there are a few things to take into consideration before applying.
There are grade requirements that you will need to meet in order to get onto the Foundation year, however these can be considerably lower than those grades needed for a three-year course.
A Foundation year is an integrated additional year that guarantees you a place on your choice of undergraduate course depending on what Foundation year you decide to study.
There are a wide range of Foundation year courses on offer at most universities across the UK, from Business, Management and Economics to Physics and Astronomy.
A Foundation year will require another year of tuition fees and student loans, although you will have the same access to student funding as any undergraduate course.
How to Apply
If studying a Foundation year sounds like the right choice for you then click here to find out what courses you can study.
To find a course with a Foundation year that is perfect for you make sure you select ‘Yes’ in the Foundation course option box.